GSLIS Continuing Education Job-Hunting for Librarians Laura Saunders Fall 2003.
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GSLIS Continuing Education Job-Hunting for Librarians Laura Saunders Fall 2003
Job Hunting Basics n There are three major strategies that all job- hunters should use when looking for a job. They are: – Networking – Searching Job Postings – Targeting Employers n To get the best results and find the most jobs, job-hunters should use all three strategies in conjunction.
First Strategy: Networking n Only about 30% of jobs are posted through traditional methods. That means that 70% of jobs are “hidden” from the general market. n Most of these jobs are found through networking- making contact with people who have connections in the field.
Networking- Who Should I Talk To? n Networking simply means talking to people- virtually anyone- about what you are looking for. n Consider talking to: – Family & Friends- even if they are not in the library field, they may know of others who are – Faculty- many faculty are still active in the field, and have contact with alums who are recruiting.
Networking- Who Should I Talk To? – Colleagues/ Supervisors- talk with any current or past colleagues and supervisors from library jobs or internships. – Classmates- if you are still in school, talk to your peers. Many of them are working in the field and may know of leads.
Networking- Who Should I Talk To? n Aside from the people that you already know, there are many ways to broaden your network and make new contacts: – Alums- Graduates of the program who are active in the field can be a great source of information, and are usually very willing to talk to current students and other alums. Simmons College offers an alumni matching service, which is linked from the course web page. Check with your institution for similar services
Networking- Who Should I Talk To? – Professional Associations: Professional Associations offer extensive networking opportunities with people who are active in the field. Join an association in your area of interest, then attend events, participate in listservs, read publications, and begin making contacts. – Listservs/ Newsgroups: Join a listserv or newsgroup in your area of interest to keep up with trends and to make contacts. Jobs will often be circulated on these listservs as well.
Networking- How To n Once you have targeted some people to network with, you have to decide on your approach: – Never ask a contact for a job- you are asking for advice, not a handout. – Prepare a brief- 3 second to 2 minute- introduction to yourself, including your interests and career goals. – Ask contacts for any advice they have of ways to break into the field, or specific places to look.
Second Strategy: Searching Postings n The second job-hunting strategy- and probably the most common one- is to search through job postings and respond to specific ads. n Librarians will find that specialized job banks- such as those provided by professional associations- are much more useful for finding library jobs than the general job banks like Monster.com or Bostonworks
Searching Postings n Many specialized job banks exist for librarians. Some of these post across different types of libraries and geographic regions. Others are specific to types of libraries or regional areas. n Several meta-lists exist linking the job seeker to a variety of these job banks- Check the course web page for links to these lists.
Choose a state or region in which you’d like to work
You will then see a list of library job banks specific to that region
Searching Postings: Tips and Tricks n Different job banks offer different access to positions. n Some may allow the job-seeker to search through postings by keyword or other criteria. n Others simply list postings, and job-hunters must weed through them on their own.
The Mass Board of Library Commissioners allows you to search by region, institution type, etc.
Searching Postings: Tips and Tricks n Whichever type of bank you are searching, it is best to try and keep your search criteria broad- especially in a tight job market. n Do not use too many limitors or keywords, at least not initially- you can always narrow your results later.
Searching Postings: Tips and Tricks n Be creative and flexible in your search- if a corporate library is your ideal, but you aren’t finding postings, consider an academic library with a business focus. If you would prefer a public library, you might also enjoy a community college setting. n If you can be flexible about relocating, you will definitely broaden your options.
Third Strategy Targeting Employers n Another effective approach to job-hunting is to identify organizations that you would like to work for, and market yourself to them. n In order to do this, use a directory such as the American Library Directory or Academic 360 to pinpoint libraries in your area of interest. You will want to keep the number of institutions manageable- probably 5 to 10 at the most.
Targeting Employers n There are more library directories linked from the course web page. n Once you have a list of potential employers, begin by checking their web sites to see if they are posting any openings that match your qualifications. If they are, then you can just apply. n However, even if you don’t see a relevant opening, you can still contact the library and start marketing yourself.
Use Academic 360 to access a list of schools and colleges in your geographic area.
Follow the link to access job postings for that employer.
Targeting Employers n You can begin the marketing process by identifying the library director or the department head, and sending them a resume. n Include a cover letter that describes the type of position you are seeking, why you are interested in their library, and what you can bring to the table.
Targeting Employers n About 1 week to 10 days after sending the resume, follow up with a phone call or an email. Reiterate your interest in working for this organization, and ask if they anticipate any openings that might match your qualifications. n You might also ask to set up an informational interview where you could meet some staff and tour the library.
Targeting Employers n This type of job-hunting can be a bit more time-consuming, but it is a valid and effective method. n Remember- 70% of jobs are “hidden”- an employer may have- or anticipate- an opening that has not yet been advertised, and getting your resume in early might give you an edge.
Summary n Remember that networking is the #1 way to find a job. n However, all three job-hunting strategies should be used to get the most out of your job search. n Return to the class web page for more job- hunting resources!