Further Questions: What can recent grads do to make themselves more appealing to employers?

This question is from the reader who asked a series of six questions back in December/January, beginning with Further Questions: How Does the Initial Selection Work?

This week I asked people who hire librarians:

What can recent grads do to make themselves more appealing to employers? What is the most productive way to spend your pre-employment unemployment?

Volunteering in a local library.  It provides a needed service, gives experience, and provides a source of recommendations.Subscribe to e-lists, e.g., Autocat if a cataloguer.
- J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

Marleah AugustineIf you can track down a volunteer position in a library (any library), that helps. From my experience hiring support staff, it’s nice to see regular patrons apply for jobs within the library. For that time between graduation and employment, it helps also to stay up with current events in the library field. Sometimes questions like that come up in an interview, or you can name-drop something relelvant in the field. Read blogs, Library Journal, etc. If it fits within your budget, go to a library conference (state, regional) and network with folks there. My director always says that the most valuable part of any conference he’s been to is the connections he makes with other people and the conversations that happen between the planned sessions.

- Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundThe most productive thing a person can do before they graduate is to get some experience.  Work as a substitute librarian if you can get a position.  Work at a library circ desk.  Volunteer at the library to do anything.  What you want is to be able to say you have library experience when you interview.

Frankly, when I’m interviewing for Librarian I’s I prefer if they are fresh out of school.  I can train them “my way”.  Also new grads have fresher skills (web user interface, web design, natives to mobile devices, etc.).  New grads can be helpful in training more experienced  staff about new techniques in information technology.

At the job interview make sure you can show the relevance of your work experience and schooling to the job at hand.  Don’t be afraid to say things like “I can’t wait to be a real librarian and to put into practice my fresh degree and recent experience.”  Your enthusiasm can be a real plus in the job interview situation.

- Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library
Join the local chapter of your Library Association, e.g. SLA and become involved. Attend meetings, join a committee. ACT AS IF you were working. Become a contributing member of the local library community. You have to show up and let people see your face. They will be more likely to hire you if they know you.
- Jaye Lapachet, Manager of Library Services, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please contact me.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you can comment here, you can comment anywhere.

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3 Comments

Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Law Library, Other Organization or Library Type, Public

3 responses to “Further Questions: What can recent grads do to make themselves more appealing to employers?

  1. Where are the responses for “does where you go to school matter?”

  2. Lucy

    Ha ha ha! Christine Hage’s “new grads have fresher skills” is a bit on the ageist/assumption side. When I graduated with my library degree, I couldn’t afford a smartphone. But I could after working for a while! Not to mention being able to develop more relevant tech skills after school than the limited tech I was exposed to in library school.

    But if this is a common assumption, this helps to explain why I’m having trouble finding work a few years out of school. I’m simply not “fresh” enough anymore.

  3. Pingback: Further Questions Questions | Hiring Librarians

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