Way back in 2010 (when this blog was still Adventures of an Unemployed/Newly Employed Librarian!) I wrote a series aimed recent graduates and unemployed librarians to help with job hunting. I thought it would be a good time to update that series for all my new readers and for any unemployed librarians out there. While this series is mainly aimed at library-related jobs, I think that everyone can find something useful here. If you missed Part I, Part II, Part III, or Part IV be sure to check it out.
I’ve mentioned before that I have had wonderful mentors and that they served as excellent beacons of advice during my job applying days. Have I mentioned that the sole reason I’m in the job I’m in now is because of my mentor?
In late February 2010, I responded to a post on my library school’s listserv. A former professor of mine was looking for some help with a consulting project she was working on a local hospital library. I knew I didn’t want to be a medical librarian (ha!), but I needed the experience and the money, so I emailed her and told her I was interested. Fast forward 3 months and I was interviewing for the medical librarian position. All because of one of my mentors. Several people had responded to the listserv posting, but she asked me (and my now hospital librarian colleague) because she knew me and knew my work.
Besides my special library mentor, my other mentors were my favorite professor, the director of my program (I was her grad/teaching assistant), and the librarian at the small library on campus where I was a graduate student employee for a year. They all proofed my resume and cover letters multiple times, gave me interview tips, helped me through my nerves, and gave me countless hours of advice for job hunting and actually being a librarian. They served as my references, and because I had such good relationships with them, I never worried that one of them wouldn’t show me in the best light. I kept them informed of my progress and sought their opinions on numerous occasions.
I still maintain those relationships. Whenever I visit my library school’s campus, I make a point to try to schedule a quick meeting or a lunch with at least one of them and I email them when I need advice or have a question. By maintaining these relationships, I now count them as colleagues and look forward to discussing our jobs and trading anecdotes. My relationship with my special library mentor is even better. She stops by the hospital on occasion, we have lunch every few months or so, and she is my biggest source of help. Whenever I have a question or a literature search that is extremely difficult, I turn to her first.
I encourage you to find mentors at library school, your job, your local public library, anywhere! You never know where a good mentor is going to appear. Mentors should be more than sources for references and job advice. They should be professional colleagues, even friends. Someone to guide you on your path to being a better librarian and someone to help you through those tough moments.
Do you have a mentor? While I may not be the most experienced librarian, I’m always willing to talk to aspiring and new librarians, so feel free to email me with questions or even just to chat.
I hope you enjoyed this series redo. Feel free to leave comments or email me with any questions. If there is a topic I missed or something you would like to see covered, please let me know!