Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Some Truths About Searching for a Library Job

As a lot of you guys know, I recently resigned from my job, moved halfway across the country, and started a job as a Children’s Librarian in a new system.  Things have been busy—I’m near more friends and family, so my persona life is busier and more fulfilling.  My job is also different, but we’ll get to that later.

Right now, I want to talk about the process of switching jobs.  Keep in mind that not every case will be like mine.  However, if you’re thinking of switching jobs, or know someone who is in the process of getting a new job, I thought I would share some truths and tips with you.

 1.)   Do what is right for you.  There are a lot of different reasons to want to leave a job—maybe you want to move from librarian to branch manager, maybe you want to relocate, maybe you think your skills would be better in a position where the daily work is different.  As you begin to look for something new, you’ll be thinking a lot about the ramifications this has on the job you may be leaving, and how patrons and colleagues are affected.  Although it’s important to be gracious and make sure you are still performing all of your duties as expected, make sure that you are making the decision that is best for yourself. It’s okay to look for something where you feel professional and personal satisfaction, because sometimes if you don’t, it can start to feel like certain areas of your life are lacking.  This last point should go without saying, but don’t spend your work time on your job searching process.  That needs to be on your personal time.

 2.)    Finding a job requires resources.  When I was looking at other jobs, I would spend my evenings filling out job applications.  It was pretty tiring—I would come home, make dinner, and sit down to write cover letters or work on applications.  Although ultimately rewarding, this isn’t a particularly relaxing way of spending the evening.  In addition to taking time, I also found that I needed cash so I could travel to and from job interviews.  If you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to get a new job, make sure you’re not straining your resources.  Be sure to leave some nights for relaxation, and try to plan your finances accordingly.  For those of you who are friends of job seekers, be a good ear if they complain about paying extra for gas and being tired. It’s not easy.

 3.)   Have a sounding board (shout out to Ally here).  Maybe you want to practice interview questions, or it could just be the case that you want to rant to someone about the adventures and misadventures you get into as you search for the perfect position.  You may be very private about your desire to find a new job—and that’s okay. Try to find someone with a good ear. It’ll make you feel less frustrated as you go about the process.

 4.)   Give it time.  You may not find the right position right away, and sometimes library systems have odd hiring timelines, meaning the may not hire you right away after your interview. It’s not fun, especially if you feel you need to relocate.  Follow your gut.  If a position doesn’t feel right to you, it may not be a good fit. If there’s something you really want, make an extra effort without being pushy.  It took me seven months to land the position that was right for me.

5.)   Give it patience. Step back when you need to.  I know some people who claim to have gotten every job they’ve interviewed for, and it’s okay if you’re not one of them.  It’s okay if you get frustrated.  This is where you’ll need your sounding board.

 6.)   Network.  Never underestimate the power of professional connections.  You never know when someone will send a posting your way, or introduce you to someone in a system you’d love to work for.   And keep it up when you get that new job.  You may still want those connections one day.

I can provide information about my process that’s more personal and gets more in detail, but I wanted to share something helpful.  Hopefully these reminders have helped those if you who are or know job seekers, and otherwise, I hope it’s given you something to chew over.

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