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Job Search Tips from SI ASB 2007 - Part 1

While on SI ASB, I met with many people who have gained great experience in getting jobs at some really awesome organization (and also hired many great people). Below is the first set of tips that I want to pass on to you that come from these meetings. These tips come directly from the Senior Librarian at National Public Radio. If you want to know more about what she said about careers at NPR or news media libraries, please contact me! Kelly

1. Students need to know what they want to do, whether it be the function, the type of library, or a specific industry. With that in mind, find the right fit – don’t just take whatever comes along. Your job search will be so much more enjoyable if you target a specific area that you are truly interested in (and it’s a lot easier to write cover letters for jobs that you are passionate about!)

2. Make lots of connections. Utilize listservs, speak up! Don’t just subscribe to listservs, but be active (kk: I know that many of the archives listservs chat all the time!). Use networking tools like LinkedIn or blog about yourself. Let people know that you exist so that when you apply for a position, people recognize your name and know that you are inquisitive, want to learn, and are passionate and educated about the field. Librarians are very generous and will help you if ask for guidance. They will share industry tips, jobs, put you in contact with the right people. Take advantage of this generosity!

3. Never accept a job offer in the same day as it is offered. Ask for a 10 percent increase in salary and a week more vacation that what they originally offer you. Accepting an underpaid job hurts the entire profession because it brings the average salary down and decreases the perceived value of librarians to the organization.

4. During an interview, ask the following questions: "Where is this position in the organizational hierarchy? Who will supervise me? What type of supervisor are they?" Don’t try to match yourself to the supervisor – make a smart choice and make sure that you are going to be working for someone that you can get along with and work well with. If you are very different from your supervisor, then you are going to have a hard time working for them and both of you will be miserable.

5. Make sure that you have a hobby or a life outside your job. Librarians can end up devoting their entire lives to their job and then they retire and find that they are not indispensable and that they have nothing else to do. Also, library work never ends and your efforts are not noticed unless you don’t do your work which can make it a very thankless career overall. Family, friends, hobbies, and personal interests are all very important, so make sure to also focus on those aspects of your life.

6. Follow a job, not a geographic area. The good jobs with good pay are sometimes in the middle of nowhere or where it’s cold or super hot. Great experience is great experience no matter where it’s located.

Posted by kkowatch at March 16, 2007 04:01 PM

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