Category Archives: Job Hunter Follow Up

About a Decade Later: Former Job Hunter Dina Schuldner

Back in 2012/2013 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see where they are now.

Dina Schuldner took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 4, 2013. Her responses appeared as The Renaissance Person. At that time, she was a recent graduate and a recently hired adult services librarian. We followed up with her in December 2014 and learned she was a Full Time Permanent Young Adult and Children’s Librarian.

When I contacted her this month to follow up, she asked if she could share advice and encouragement to people in the library profession, and that is what follows:


What I’d like to share is that dogged determination pays off.  After 6 successful years in public libraries in New York, my husband and I moved to Virginia to be closer to my family.

When we moved, I did not have a library job waiting for me in Virginia.  What I did have was a volunteer position with YALSA as the chair for the Community Connections Task Force.  This was a virtual position, which I managed through meetings on the predecessor of Google Meet (Hangouts), and ALA Connect.  I got experience leading a team in that role, and I am very proud of the toolkit we developed for YALSA.  After that ended, I applied for, and landed, a position volunteering with Virginia Beach Public Library.

I had set up my LinkedIn account back in library school, connecting with my classmates, many of whom I am still in contact with.  I kept it updated throughout my journey.  In 2017, I was contacted through LinkedIn by a recruiter for a college.  A couple of interviews later, I was an adjunct instructor and academic librarian.  I held that position for 4 years, where I managed the library and its staff, sometimes on my own, sometimes in conjunction with other librarians.

An opportunity to get back into public libraries presented itself, and because I had experience managing the academic library, I was taken on as an assistant manager in a library branch of a large city system.

Yesterday, a young boy around the age of 8 recognized me in the library, after I said hello to him and his friend.  He said to me, “Are you the one who helped my grandmother on the computer?”  I said I might be, because I help people on the computer all the time.  He asked me, “What do you do here?”  I told him that I am a librarian.  He asked me “What do you do?”  I told him I help people on the computer, I help order books for the library for people to check out for adults, and other people order for children, and that I help with library programs.

I realize now that in that moment, I was representing the profession to a young, impressionable boy, who may be in the process of searching for career paths even in elementary school.  Maybe I put a seed in his mind that the helping I do is something he might want to do, so he could help people like his grandmother when he grows up.

I got into libraries to make a difference in young adult lives.  I wound up excelling as a children’s librarian, a young adult librarian, a reference librarian, an academic librarian, and now as an assistant manager of a public library.

I would recommend to job seekers to follow your passion, and take any job in your field to get the experience you need.  Dedication in the job you currently hold, lifelong learning, and the willingness to try new positions offered to you may change your life.

Anyone interested in a career in libraries may connect with me on LinkedIn.  I will be happy to offer advice or answer any questions that I can, related to the profession.

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About a Decade Later: Former Job Hunter Cristy Moran

Head shot of Cristy Moran. She has tortiseshell glasses, brown chin-length hair, a polka dot top, black cardigan, and big smile.

Back in 2012/2013 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see what they are doing, about a decade later. 

Cristy Moran completed the original survey in January 2013 and her answers appeared as There is a “Black Hole” of Information After One Drops a Resume. We followed up with her at the end of 2013 and learned that after applying to over 200 jobs in 16 months (and a stint as a temporary reference librarian), she had found a permanent, full time position as an information literacy instructor (considered paraprofessional). When we followed up in 2014, Cristy had started searching for a professional librarian position and had a plan to consider work outside her geographic area if not successful. In our last follow-up, in late 2015, she had found a faculty librarian position within her region, which she described as, “the right one for me.”

Given that saga, I was really happy when she agreed to do this follow up. She’s in a new state and about two months into a super interesting new role. If you’d like to connect with Cristy or learn more about her career path, she has a website and is on LinkedIn.  

She was kind enough to answer my questions below.  

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take to get where you are?

I am the Adult Library Services Senior Consultant at the Colorado State Library – which Google tells me is about 2,000 miles from the last place you found me in late 2015.  Then, I had finally found a full-time job as a faculty librarian. Up until two months ago, I was still in that college, serving in the same role. It was an incredibly challenging and rewarding job that allowed me the opportunity and space to craft my own career. However, like so many others, my husband and I – two professionals working in public education in Florida – were among the many that re-evaluated our work lives during the pandemic. A lot of the decisions I had made to grow as a professional in certain areas offered me the opportunity and gave me the confidence to look for work that was a little different but played to my strengths and interests in librarianship.

Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?

At that job, I was based out of a joint-use library location – regional public library and college campus – where I ended up working with the public (non-students) a lot more than I ever imagined. My closest colleagues on-site were public librarians in adult services. Most of my days (until the pandemic) were a struggle to juggle responsibilities on a public reference desk and programming for adult public library users and a really long list of things in service to my actual employer: the college. It’s a unique condition that only my partner college librarian on my campus can understand – because he was there with me every step of my time there. For all the challenges – which are many – there were so many opportunities that I really benefited from and enjoyed. How much I enjoyed the job – despite those challenges and despite that situation for which no one can really prepare you – is perhaps the most unexpected part.

Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed?

In 2015, I wrote, “It’s easy to box ourselves into a chosen profession because that’s what our job is. And I mean this for any job in any field. The most successful I’ve been at any job I’ve had is when I’ve thought back to seemingly unrelated past experiences and considered them in context of my current responsibilities – or the job description of a position that I want.” I stand by that. Fully. Wholly. Completely.

I have found librarianship to be rewarding because it’s dynamic. It’s wild to me to think back on what I thought a librarian did for a living. What I imagined my day would be like – even when I was getting my MLIS. The reality is that what prepared me for the career I have had was working at a CD store as an undergrad. It was the years of running a tutoring center and balancing teaching, budgeting, meeting with parents, reaching out to teachers at local schools, and managing a staff of professional teachers and recent high school graduates. It is all those experiences, I believe – far outside Library Land, where I discovered and developed the elements that have made up the version of librarianship that has been my awesome, rewarding, and never-boring career.

Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?

I’ve served on and chaired several hiring committees, both for the library department and for other academic departments. It’s given me insight into the academic hiring process – and the reality vs expectations of job seekers and people on search committees. The process is, largely, determined by the institution’s systems and, in my experience, while the committees can create thoughtful questions, the rest of the process is limited by HR policies. Also, it’s worth mentioning that committee members are fitting their committee work within incredibly tight schedules of primary responsibilities like teaching, reference, and institutional service. As organized and proactive as I am, I wasn’t able to add hours to my day and overlapping availability for interviews with my colleagues who were just as busy as I was. Suffice it to say, it’s a slow-going process and it’s not for lack of wanting to move it more rapidly. There are just a lot of obstacles – availability of busy people being chief among them.

Do you have any advice for job hunters?

For the ones new to the field… It is hard to be a librarian. Especially right now. And, more to the point of this interview: It’s harder to become a librarian – to find a job that gets you there. A lot of qualified, seasoned librarians are out there looking for jobs that would otherwise be entry-level positions. That’s the reality of the job market right now for us. I was just in it. I went for entry-level position openings. I didn’t get the majority of them. It’s hard out there. Extend yourself some grace. Be kind to yourself. Consider what you can afford to do and the career you want to have. Don’t sell yourself short.

For the rest of us… for the librarian job hunters who are just looking for the next gig – for whatever reason… You’re not alone. It’s hard out there for us too. Play to your strengths. If you didn’t already engage in professional networks at the local and state level, start now. Listen to the chatter. Look for the next place to be better than the last one. Don’t be afraid to try something new. We need to change and be flexible because libraries, librarianship, and the communities we serve – and the world in which we serve them – are ever-changing. What it was like when we started, isn’t what it’s like now. Extend yourself some grace. Be kind to yourself. Consider what you can afford to do and the career you want to have. Don’t sell yourself short.

Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?

Hire people who look like, sound like, and are the people your library serves. Fill your library with people who understand and know and love your community because your library is a part of that community. If you want your community – be they students or neighbors – to love your library, then the library needs to be a place they see themselves and where they want to be seen. It is unreal that I was the only Hispanic/ Latinx librarian in an institution whose student body is 37% self-identified Hispanic/Latinx. It is even more unreal when I consider the racial make-up of the libraries where I’ve worked compared to the area demographics and the institution’s student demographics. We need to exemplify the values we espouse if we want to uphold them. People won’t come to libraries – thus, libraries will become obsolete – if we don’t fill our staff with the faces, voices, interests, and experiences of the world outside our walls.

Also, there’s no such thing as a unicorn. Looking for one among people who apply to your job opening at a library isn’t going to suddenly make them real. 

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

I love being a librarian. It’s better than I thought. It’s also really challenging. It’s unforgiving in many ways. There are expectations of us coming from the institutions that hire us, the people we serve, people who don’t even know what we do for a living, people who hate what we stand for, and even from our own peers in the profession. And I still love it.

It’s not the job I thought it was and – perhaps – it’s not the job it was either. It’s changed since I wanted to be a librarian, and it’s changed since I’ve been one. That’s the kind of work that it is. That’s the gig. Reflecting on what librarianship is now, what it was, and what it needs to be in order to meet the needs of the communities we serve and to stay relevant in the world that is today, tomorrow, and the next is essential in Library Land. It’s hard work – invisible and visible – but it’s worth it.

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About a Decade Later: Former Job Hunter Laura Perenic

Back in 2012/2013 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see where they are about a decade later. 

Laura Perenic completed the original survey in 2014 and her answers appeared as It is hard to imagine all the form completing and hoop jumping I have been doing really results in finding quality staff. We followed up with her in 2016 and learned that her job hunt (while unemployed) lasted four months and resulted in full time work in Children and Youth Services.  

I was really fascinated to learn she is no longer working in libraries! Laura has found a new career that seems really fulfilling – massage therapy. She works from a home studio in Springfield, Ohio (more info on Facebook) and also at Knot Your Average Massage in Bellbrook, Ohio with (more info here).

She was kind enough to answer my questions below. 

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take to get where you are?

After 15+ yrs in public libraries, I went back to school for massage therapy and I now work in a massage studio 4 days a week. Massage school in Ohio was an 11-month part-time program that earned an associate degree.  Since school, I have also taken extra training to learn a variety of other skills such as therapeutic cupping and Thai-style massage.   I am an independent contractor which means I have a higher degree of freedom in my work than I would as an employee.  I also had to learn about how taxes are different for my work.  I now use a CPA instead of turbo tax because financially this job makes things a bit more complicated.

Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?

After investing in an MLS and trying so many jobs under the framework of youth services I really thought I would never leave.  I began to find that a 5 day work week was too much for me and now have a totally different profession that’s somehow harder on my body but easier on my mind.   While I was in massage school I worked part-time at another library as a clerk instead of a librarian. This was a really nice downshift since I did very little programming.   It was easier than I expected to finally walk away from libraries after graduation since I had in effect been weaning myself off the work for a year. 

Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed? 

In reading my old answers my frustration is so plain.  I wonder if that came across as desperation in interviews.  I should have realized that my fixation on only working in a library was holding me back. 

Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?

Yes, I hire people like I buy umbrellas; one to use and one to lose.  I always assume at least one good applicant won’t make it through the month and purposely overhire.  

Do you have any advice for job hunters?

I think you can be broader in your thinking of where and how your skills apply.  Being a librarian and working a public desk gave me a great customer service background that makes me a better massage therapist.  I think I have better than average communication skills and while I hate making phone calls in my persoanl life I have good phone etique from working the children’s desk for so long. 

Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?

Stop asking people to do more with less.

Anything else you’d like to tell us? 

Don’t discount your intuition.  I looked at a massage school while unemployed years before I actually went to school. I didn’t trust myself and  I went back to libraries instead of giving myself a clean slate.  I ended up in a job that didn’t value my mental health or job satisfaction.   For me library work was great until it wasn’t and honestly, I’m grateful that I got out of the profession before the pandemic. 

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About a Decade Later: Former Job Hunter Maria Lin

Back in 2012/2013 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see where they are about a decade later. 

Maria Lin completed the original survey in 2013 and her answers appeared as Hire for work ethic first, past achievement second. We followed up with her in 2014 and learned she had found a job about a year after she started looking. Then we checked in again in 2016 and learned she was still in that job, with increased responsibilities and having had the chance to do some exciting professional development, such as attending the international antiquarian book fair in Tokyo. 

She is still enjoying her career as a bookdealer, in that same job she had just found when we first followed up. She was kind enough to answer my questions below and to offer to answer your questions about the trade if you email her directly. You can also reach her on Tumblr or possibly via her little used Twitter account, @squeerocks.


Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take to get where you are?

I am still working as a bookdealer. I ended up in this position because I was frustrated with the lack of engagement with actual books in my LIS program, and was met with complete silence from all of the libraries that I was applying to in the leadup to my graduation. I had already attended the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar (CABS) (full disclosure: I now work for the Seminar) and had been doing part-time work in the trade while a student, so when a dealer offered me a job I thought it would be a good fit. I didn’t know if it would be a stop gap into the library world or not, but it turned out to be a great career all its own and I have just passed 9 years with the business.

Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?

I fully intended to be an archivist, but library school beat me down a bit and I realized that I had 0 tolerance for bureaucratic nonsense, which is not a good personal trait if you’re looking to work in institutions! Bookselling was always on my radar, and it became a good fall back for me. I wouldn’t call it unexpected since I was actively looking for options there but it wasn’t plan A. I didn’t expect to stay at the same job for so long though. I got lucky there.

Looking over your past answers, what pops out at you? Has anything changed? 

If anything I’m more convinced that bookselling is a good career choice for library students who are looking for something different. A lot of booksellers were librarians or academics who wanted more independence or intellectual stimulation. And we need more people in the trade who are interested in many different types of books and collectors. There’s an active effort to make “rare books” more welcoming and a lot of training we get in library school is directly applicable. 

Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?

I typically don’t have a say in hiring, which happens rarely and on a temporary basis most of the time. Getting a job with a dealer is pretty hard actually because they are small firms who do not typically post listings. 

Do you have any advice for job hunters?

There are a number of orgs, like the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America, the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, and regional orgs that can help you announce your interest in a job. But rare booksellers generally have narrow margins and few can afford employees. The good news is this is a business that is easy to get into on your own, the bad news is it takes either great persistence or a lot of capital to make a killing at it. I also know of librarians who moonlight with booksellers to do research or cataloging projects. This is a possible avenue for either a side hustle or dipping a toe in for a later career change.

Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?

Post the salary. The degree doesn’t indicate competence one way or the other and I still think work ethic and attitude are the most important things.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

Best of luck to my library land cousins!

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About a Decade Later: Former Job Hunter Amy Seto Forrester

Welcome to a new/old Hiring Librarians feature! From 2012-2016 I ran a survey of job hunters (co-authored by Naomi House of INALJ). It had over 500 responses, including 117 people who were at least initially willing to be non-anonymous. In this series, we check in with these respondents to see where they are doing a decade later. 

Amy Seto Forrester is our first check in. She completed the original survey in 2013 as she was preparing to graduate from Texas Woman’s University and her answers appeared as Creative Freedom/Independence. We followed up with her in December 2014 and learned she actually found her first librarian job about a month before she graduated! 

She is now in her second librarian job, and is supervising and hiring new library workers. She was kind enough to answer the questions below, but you can also learn a lot more about her work as a youth services supervisor, author, and advocate for diverse and engaging children’s books at https://www.amysetoforrester.com/.


Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take to get where you are?

I’m currently a youth services supervisor at Eugene Public Library (OR), a job I’ve had for a year now. I co-supervise a team of 12 library staff (librarians and library assistants) for our downtown location, including two separate spaces: a children’s center and a teen center. We serve youth 0-19 years old and the grown ups in their lives. I also oversee youth programming system-wide, coordinate Summer Reading, select early readers, and am currently coordinating several communal recruitments. Prior to this position, I was a children’s librarian at Denver Public Library (CO) for 8 years. My experience leading large system-wide projects, digging into new reader research, developing programs, doing outreach to schools, and taking part in EDI work laid the foundation for my current job. Additionally, the spaces and demographics are quite similar (large, downtown libraries serving a wide range of needs, including those of many experiencing housing instability and other factors). 

Were any parts of your journey completely unexpected?

Up until 2 years ago I didn’t even want to be a supervisor! But I gradually realized that I not only had the skills to do the job, I also had the drive to be at decision-making tables because I wanted to advocate for youth, especially BIPOC and marginalized youth, and youth farthest from educational justice. Even though I had an amazing supervisor who advocated a lot, I was becoming frustrated by the confines of my position. I was also rather bored and needed more challenges in my work. 

Have you had a chance to hire anyone? If so, what was that like?

I’ve hired for 4 positions in the past year and am currently in the process of hiring 3 more for my department as part of 2 communal recruitments that will ultimately fill 9 positions across our system. The process is fascinating and hopeful and also sometimes very discouraging. Libraries and HR depts are built on white supremacist structures and it can be difficult to dismantle those structures and systemic barriers while also trying to hire staff in a timely fashion, especially in the current hiring landscape. If we don’t move fast enough, we lose candidates, but at the same time urgency is the enemy of EDI work. That said, I’m proud of the work I’ve done to make current systems more equitable, such as changing what we’re looking for/scoring for on supplemental application questions and interview questions, eliminating cover letters and resumes, and pushing to standardize having interview questions sent to candidates ahead of time. 

Do you have any advice for job hunters?

Do your research! Read the job posting and pull out key words and themes, explore the library’s website, look at their social media, if you’re in the area visit the library to get a feel for it, ask your library connections what they know. Then use all this research to inform how you write your cover letter, and answer application and interview questions. 

Connect the dots. People doing the hiring look at a lot of applications, we do our best, but we’re not always good at seeing how your experience/skills/passions can be directly applied to the position we’re hiring for. So it’s in your best interest to connect the dots so we can’t avoid seeing how awesome you’d be at the job. 

Experience counts. Don’t be afraid to highlight your non-library experience, in fact, it can often work in your favor! Part of connecting the dots is showing how your life/work experience applies to the position. Again, connect those dots!

Use your time well. This can go both directions. Don’t say so much for each answer that you water down your message, but at the same time your answer should be more than a couple of sentences. Many interview panels are not allowed to ask follow up questions in an effort to ensure an equitable hiring process. Don’t assume we’ll ask for more. 

Do you have any advice for people who hire LIS folks?

Send the questions in advance. I’ve seen this make a huge difference for candidates because they’re able to process and develop solid answers that give you better insight then off the cuff answers. Also, don’t send them 2 hours in advance (this has happened to me!), give them at least 24 hours or even better, a few days. 

Consider who you’re centering in the wording of your questions, especially EDI questions. Could a question be potentially hooking/triggering for BIPOC and/or marginalized candidates? How might you reword a question to allow candidates to answer authentically? 

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

As someone who identifies as mixed race Chinese American, I want to acknowledge that there are additional concerns for BIPOC and/or marginalized candidates during the hiring process. I encourage you to ask the hiring panel questions about how the library system, as well as your prospective supervisor and their team view EDI work and what support for BIPOC and/or marginalized staff actually looks like. I also want to acknowledge that libraries are built on white supremacist structures and while some libraries/staff have done more work dismantling these structures, the structures continue to exist. There’s no magical utopian library system that I know of (if you find it, let me know!). That said, if your alarm bells are ringing at an interview, first day of work, or anywhere in your career, take note. Take care of yourself, advocate for yourself, and protect yourself (these are not always the same thing). Find your support systems (affinity groups, national orgs, allies within/beyond your system, etc.) and lean on them. I can’t promise your library will be a brave space for you, but I can promise that there are many of us fighting to carve out brave spaces and to invite others in so those spaces can expand. 

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Laura Perenic

We last heard from Laura Perenic on December 26, 2014, in the post titled,  It is hard to imagine all the form completing and hoop jumping I have been doing really results in finding quality staff.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I have been employed full-time since April 2015 after four months of unemployment. I work as the Children’s and Teen Services Librarian at the main branch of the Clark County Public Library in Springfield, Ohio. My work situation contains a variety of tasks and responsibilities. I have many opportunities to collaborate with co-workers and the public we serve. I plan and implement numerous programs for children, teens and families. I also provide outreach in the community. I am dedicated to youth services. The percentage of time I focus on kids or teens can change but I don’t see a time where I won’t be involved with the needs of the 18-and-under crowd.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I was able to get through my unemployment with minimal harm to my career. When I read over my previous answers I feel frustrated that my experiences did not better equip me to help those who are currently unemployed. I feel more sad and jaded about the job hunting process. I see myself as having many desirable qualities that would make me an asset to an employer and it still took months to find a suitable job. As someone who still cannot get management experience in my chosen field, I wonder how newly minted librarians will ever break into the workforce if we hold their lack of library experience against them? I’ve seen quite a few cruelly funny memes indicating that to get a library job you need an Olympic medal. For those trying to land or change library jobs this black humor is all too accurate.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

My best advice for the unemployed is to treat your helpful friends and family, who often have job advice that isn’t practical, as if they are offering you an opportunity to practice your elevator speech. Rehearse your answers to questions such as: Why are libraries relevant? Why are you relevant? Convince those around you of your value and worth. Sell yourself at every turn. This will allow you to interview with extreme confidence. In the really dark times, when your ego cannot take one more rejection letter, you can remind yourself what you are fighting for. Being unemployed was one the hardest things I’ve ever survived and I wouldn’t wish it on most people.

Anything else you want to share with us?

My job hunt showed that networking was the best tool I had. Surround yourself with people of all skills set as if they are your office. Create a team that cannot and will not let you down. You are going to need them and someday they might need you. Don’t do this alone. Take time to craft an online footprint that will attract employers to you. Also take time for yourself. I had to remind myself to stop job hunting sometimes. Running was the best, free activity I had and it was also the most enjoyable part of my day.

If readers ask questions in the comments section, Laura is willing to answer them.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Neyda Gilman (year three)

Neyda Gilman

 

Neyda Gilman took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 4, 2013.

Her responses appeared as Being a New Grad I Feel Better Applying to Jobs That Indicate They are a Place to Grow and Learn.

We followed up with her on December 26, 2013 and again on December 2, 2014.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am still in the full time position that I had during last year’s interview. The work situation is good; it is a stable job with enjoyable colleagues. This past year I focused on getting to know my current place of employment and building my skills. (Last year’s interview was shortly after I started this position)

Looking at last year’s check-in, have any of your attitudes changed?

Not really. I have had the opportunity to serve on additional search committees, including ones for librarians, and those experiences have reinforced how… crazy the search process is. As job hunters our future is decided by strangers. For those on the search committee, we have to decide who would be the best person for the position, for the library, with fairly limited knowledge.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Same as last year. Put effort into your applications. Make sure your cover letter and resume/CV actually talk about the qualifications listed on the job posting. Proof read. Have others proof read. For the job interview – do your research, know about the library, the job, and what you want to say about yourself. Be yourself, be honest, be excited.

Anything else you want to share with us?

If you are applying to jobs “correctly” then you are putting a fair amount of time and energy into it. It can be extremely disheartening to not get an interview and/or the position. Try to remember that there are a lot of variables and if you see a position at the same institution don’t hesitate to try again!

Neyda is willing to answer questions you post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Maria Lin

maria linMaria Lin completed the original survey on February 13, 2013. Her responses as Hire for work ethic first, past achievement second. We followed up with her on January 6, 2014

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I’m in the same position I was last year. My responsibilities have increased some and I’ve done some book dealing independently outside of work as well. In 2014 I received a scholarship to attend the Rare Book School, which was an amazing experience, and in spring of this year I attended the international antiquarian book fair in Tokyo, which was also extremely educational. I also spent the year serving as a volunteer coordinator for an all volunteer library, which kept my toes in the library world a little.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

Not really. I’m still quite passionate about the value of archives and special collections, but I feel I’m contributing more as a dealer than I might as an archivist or librarian. I think the only sort of job that might lure me back to libraries would be a good cataloging position.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

The world of libraries sits inside a larger world of books and information. For some of us, there are careers that run parallel to libraries that are a perfect fit, and don’t require us to push into a very crowded job market. I’m not a librarian, but I still interact with libraries almost every day, and I get to help librarians from around the country develop their collections. If you’re having a hard time finding a traditional library position, there may be something that gives you what you want just outside your field of vision.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Don’t think so.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Ta-Shiré Tribbett (year three)

Ta-Shiré Tribbett took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 31, 2013. Her responses appeared as A Positive Work Environment. We followed up with her on December 16, 2013 and again last year on January 6, 2015

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I’m still at the international law firm. Instead of a traditional librarian role, I am a Knowledge Systems Analyst, which means I concentrate on customization of content, patron training, research, analysis and presentations for product reviews and trials, instructional development and training in support of workflow and efficiency measures, and systems re-design and analysis.

Looking at last year’s check-in, have any of your attitudes changed?

No. I still believe that enthusiasm and confidence are really good traits to have.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

I’ll repeat what I said last year: Be on the lookout all the time for opportunities to enhance your career. You are single-handedly your biggest advocate. I’m still seeing a lot of job-searchers get stuck looking for jobs with “librarian” in the title, instead of trying to find something that showcases our varied skillset.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Be realistic about the job market for librarians. It’s not the responsibility of a job site to find you a job, it’s your responsibility to go and get one. Branch out into other things. Don’t let awards or accolades define who you are and what you bring to the profession. Be willing to walk away from something that isn’t working for you –financially, professionally, emotionally.

Ta-Shiré is willing to answer questions you post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Greg Bem

Greg BemWe last heard from Greg Bem on October 20, 2014, in the post Full time schedule, room for innovation, digital responsibilities.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am currently a part-time faculty librarian at Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech). I just finished up another part time position at North Seattle College Library as the Student Media Center Coordinator, but decided to leave to pursue librarianship exclusively. This past summer I completed a contract in Cambodia with the Wildlife Conservation Society as an information management professional. It’s my goal to continue at LWTech while I seek out additional part-time employment as a librarian, or an appropriate full-time position in the Greater Seattle Area.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I really think that the library job market is dependent upon patience and self-awareness. I did not truly realize how specialized librarianship can be until I started working as a librarian and working with/communicating with practicing librarians directly. There is countless opportunity for growth and professional development and specialization in the world of librarianship and pursuing it is a challenge, but it’s necessary. To know oneself and to develop one’s skills in a focused manner can be incredibly difficult but appears to be the surest way to find librarian positions that one qualifies to hold.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

As mentioned above–focus on yourself. Be ready to say “I’m not ready yet” and then figure out what specific skills need to be worked on. I think every librarian in every position can appropriately do this to find their next move. Of course, looking at job postings in the ocean of the Internet is incredibly difficult because it can be overwhelming from a professional development point of view. That being said, focus on skills and knowledge that seems attainable. Make baby steps. Oh, and try and tap into communication as much as possible (whether it’s active via conferences or passive via listservs) to survey what is needed in any given region. Knowing the rises and falls in the profession in a given consortium or geographical area can help you understand the landscape and know what to expect when you’re looking for the next job/opportunity. Mentors and individuals can really help with this process too.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Be open. You have no idea how many individuals I’ve met in this relatively open profession who are closed-minded and think of certain opportunities (from volunteering to taking contracts to consulting and so on) as fantasy or unattainable. It’s a shock! When twiddling your thumbs, take a moment to think of some way to contribute to the information vortex within your local community. Be it volunteering at a small/special library, a museum, or for an NGO, or taking that extra free month you have off to go do an internship or contract in a new place–these are the opportunities that will give you energy and optimism to the profession/field, and will do nothing but help you as a librarian.

Greg is willing to answer questions you post in the comments.

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