10 Bits of Advice on Job Hunting

Finding a library job is difficult, there’s no way around it.  I’d like to share some of my impressions about the job search, as well as resources I have found useful.  I’m no expert, but this comes from sending out lots and lots of applications:

1. If you’re not too picky about the job you’d be doing and just want some library experience, apply to pretty much every job that holds some interest for you.  Try not to let geography bog you down, but understand that employers may only have a certain distance that they are comfortable hiring within.  Sometimes this will be stated in the job ad, but not always.

2. If you have little-to-no experience under your belt, don’t bother applying to jobs requiring an amount of experience you lack, you won’t be a serious contender.

3. Don’t apply to more than one job at a time per institution.  If they read your resume and think you’re a good fit for another available position, they’ll contact you.

4. Find resources that are updated frequently, and check them often.  Here’s a list of links I use – LIS Jobs.

5. Monitor Twitter – there are tons of job resources, many of the sites listed the bookmarks list above also post to Twitter.  There is also some great free job hunting and resume/cover letter writing advice being Tweeted about.  Look for #jobs, #job, #jobseekers, #jobsearch, #careeradvice, #interview, #resume, #hiring, etc.

6. Sign up for LinkedIn and complete your profile –  Ask for recommendations from present and former co-workers/supervisors, promote your blogs, link your Twitter account and watch your online presence grow.

7. Use free resources to create a resume website and use Google Webmaster Tools to have it come up in searches.  Add Google Analytics to track how people find your site.

8. If there is a certain geographic area or type of library you want to work in, don’t just rely on job sites.  What I mean is – if you want to work in something like an academic library, go straight to a university’s HR site and search for job opportunities.  Not every institution advertises their openings on listservs or online job boards.

9. Look for jobs that don’t necessarily require an MLS or equivalent, but the duties are closely related.  I.e., if you want to be an emerging technologies librarian, look for IT-related jobs, web content management, social media positions, etc.

10. If you have the time, volunteer at your local public or academic libraries, or even historical societies and museums.  If income isn’t an issue, there are often unpaid internships available, but they usually require a specific time commitment.

I’ll expand more on these topics in subsequent posts, I hope this is useful!

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