Guest Post: The Life and Times of a New Librarian

by Elizabeth on June 17, 2010 · 3 comments

in guest post, Job Hunting, librarians, librarianship

As part of my series on life as a new librarian in today’s economy, Jenny is stopping by to share her story.  Jenny is a reader of the blog and we’ve been emailing back and forth over the last few months about our various experiences in job hunting.  She’s had tons of interviews, but just hasn’t found the right fit yet.  If you missed last week’s post from Megg, check it out!

First off I’m not technically unemployed. I just not employed as a professional librarian. I work as a library assistant part time at two different libraries. Like a lot of public libraries mine are having budget issues. Both libraries have said they’d give me a full time job if they could, but they can’t.  I graduated in May 2009 with my MLS. I had one interview previous to graduation. I saw the job ad on a state library association’s website. At the interview I learned that the job title was different from the one advertised. I didn’t want the job that they were discussing. It didn’t even sound like the job I applied for.

The short version of the rest of post grad 2009:
interview #2 wasn’t qualified for
interview #3 thought I was perfect for but the library apparently didn’t
interview #4 same as #3
interview #5 wasn’t qualified for
interview #6 again thought I was qualified for but maybe over educated for.

You may ask why I applied for jobs I wasn’t qualified for. I have learned that a lot of jobs are different from the ones advertised. You learn some interesting things during job interviews. 

The first week of 2010 found me interviewing another job I felt I was perfect for. A week or so later I got the most uplifting and encouraging rejection letter ever. I almost felt like framing it.  I didn’t get another interview until April. It was approaching the year mark of my graduation. I knew it wouldn’t be easier but I never imagined a year would go by. Then, like in October, I ended up having two interviews in one week. Interview #8 was another case of misleading job ad. Interview #9 I liked the library itself but not the job. 

In May I received a call to have an interview with a library that I had applied to be in their applicant pool. I actually got the call for the interview before I knew I was official in the pool.  After doing the world’s longest and most detailed questionnaire that gets scored and you have to receive a certain score to get into the pool. Interview #10 was for a department I had never worked in. About two days after this phone interview the youth services department head calls me and said they went with someone else. It was the first time I received a rejection phone call.

I thought I rocked interview #11, which was an interesting one. I had modified my interview techniques. Added a few interesting questions to the part of interview when they ask if you have questions. I also changed the way I dressed. Before I was strictly a dress wearer to interview. This time I wear a blouse and pants. Still a rejection letter shortly followed.

The library from interview #10 called me again. This time it was for a reference librarian position. A couple days later I got a rejection e-mail. Boo.  Lucky #13? I should have known it was too good to be true. Except I am sort of to blame on this one. I did a questionnaire and a phone interview. I had a face to face interview schedule but I decided to back out of it. It was a combination of the fact that this library was 5 hours away from my friends and family plus the salary wasn’t really at the professional level and that’s why I went to grad school. Also shortly after canceling the interview I received some bad news in regards to a relative. It’s for the best that I’m not having to pack up and move at this current moment.

Like Elizabeth I currently live with my parents to save money. It does allow me to be a little more picky about my potential jobs than some other people. And to be honest there’s only a couple of the 13 jobs that I’m sad I didn’t get. Like my mentor told me “You’re interviewing them not vice versa.” I just haven’t met my match yet.

Thanks Jenny!  If you have any comments, support, or advice to Jenny, please share!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa June 17, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Great post! I'm going through the same exact process, so it's nice to know I'm not the only one. At least after all of this we'll be well practiced in interview techniques!

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2 Ashley Vice June 17, 2010 at 6:39 pm

Though I'm in a different field I can sympathize with a lot of the frustrations expressed in the recent guest articles, but one thing that really stands out to me, Elizabeth, is just how many post-graduates today move back in with Mom and Dad to save money. Just in our close friends group all four of us did so, and it doesn't seem to be strictly based on employment. I got a great job (or what seemed like a great job) immediately after graduation, but it was still more feesible, since the job was in my hometown, to live with my parents.

This alters the timeline of so many life events for our age group. I will probably be between six and ten years older than my parents were when they bought their first house when I do. I know I'll be at least ten years older than my mother was when/if I have children. I am already on the closer side to ten years older than my parents were when they got married.

I think it's an interesting phenomenon, and since I know you enjoy anthroplogy, I figured I'd mention it.

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3 camillefaye June 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Has it been a year? Sounds like what I was experiencing with teaching…part time was all I could get before I decided to quit and be a mommy and writer full time. You'll get the right one very soon.

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