What’s your current work situation?
I’ve just accepted a position as a Knowledge Solutions Analyst with an international law firm.
Is this job the same as you had when we followed up with you last year? If not, please describe briefly how you got this new job.
No. When you spoke with me last year I was a federal contractor, and this position is a direct hire. I was invited to apply by someone within the company who knew I had an MLS degree.
How your job different from what you thought you might do, when you first embarked on your job hunt?
When I started my graduate program, I assumed that I would work in an academic setting because that’s where I have the most experience. I kept my options open, because I know that this is a very tough job market. The Analyst position requires more technical experience as opposed to the soft skills I’m used to using.
Have you had a chance to participate in hiring any LIS workers? Any lessons or observations from the experience?
Yes. Most recently I was looking to hire an (unpaid) intern for my federal library . I really thought we’d be flooded with applications due to the number of people I see online that bemoan their lack of opportunities, are looking for experience, etc. We didn’t get a single application. It just reiterated something I’ve been noticing a lot which is there is a large group of students that think their degree will be all it takes to get a job-which is wholly untrue. You need experience, even for part-time library work. I wouldn’t hire a person for a paid position who has never done practical library experience, period. Most people will never have the opportunity to set foot in a federal library, so why wouldn’t you jump at the chance to intern at one? A lot of internships turn into full-time jobs.
Have you had a chance to negotiate a raise and/or title change? What was that like?
Yes, and it benefitted me greatly. All they can do is say “no”.
Was job hunting a positive or negative experience, for the most part?
I was stuck for a while, and was really anxious about landing a job while I was in graduate school, but I’ve been really fortunate to find positions.
Do you have any advice for job hunters and/or library school students?
Be enthusiastic. Show willingness to learn on the job. Be on the lookout all the time for opportunities to enhance your career. You are single-handedly your biggest advocate.
Anything else you want to tell us?
A lot of people are hung up with having the word “librarian” in the job title. Don’t let that word define you. You may end up denying yourself an opportunity to use your skillset in a non-traditional role that’s equally fulfilling.