We last heard from Samantha Winn on September 3, 2014, in the post It is difficult to give a useful answer to overly theoretical questions.
Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?
In October 2014, I joined Virginia Tech as an assistant professor in the University Libraries. As a member of the Special Collections department, I work with architectural records and the cultural heritage of historically marginalized communities. I interact frequently with peers in the library, faculty across many disciplines, and donors. My institution is very supportive of professional development and service.
Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?
This position has probably strengthened my former attitudes, if anything. I am more confident about what I am looking for in a job and what I expect from a search committee.
What’s your best advice for job hunters?
I improved so much as a job candidate from my first application to my last – my resume and cover letter were more refined, I had more confidence answering interview questions, and I was able to really define my career priorities and expectations. This realization was a huge boost to my morale and it helped me to recalibrate my efforts in the final stretch of my search. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from each application and interview, even if you’re not happy with the outcome. Don’t underestimate the value of personal cheerleaders – in addition to practice interviewers and application copyeditors, I benefited so much from the personal feedback and encouragement of my trusted peers. Also, don’t stop applying until you have a job offer. It’s easy to withdraw an application, not so easy to build up momentum again once you’ve stopped (especially if you had your heart set on a particular position that didn’t pan out).
Anything else you want to share with us?
The decision process is such a mystery that you may never find out why you were or were not hired somewhere. Put in the effort on your application, do your research before the interview, and present yourself with integrity. Once you’ve done that, it’s all out of your hands. Good luck, everyone!
Samantha will try to keep an eye out for any questions you post in the comments section.