My Guide to Job Hunting: Treat Job Hunting Like Your Job

by Elizabeth on December 16, 2010 · 2 comments

in Job Hunting, jobs, librarianship, libraries

As I mentioned before, I’m so sorry to ignore any readers who have come here looking for advice and sympathies on being an unemployed librarian.  So I’ve prepared a series of posts to help guide you down your path of library job hunting. 

Even before my 5 month stint as an unemployed librarian, I was a serious job hunter.  I started job hunting the September before I graduated library school in December.  So I easily clocked in at 8 months of serious job hunting before I lucked out with my current job.  Thus, I consider myself fairly experienced in the realm of library job hunting.  I am by no means an expert, so this serves as a disclaimer that what worked for me may not work for you.  But I hope it at least helps. 
Somewhere along the line (sometime before graduation) I developed a daily routine or a process for job hunting.  I had several mentors in library school, ranging from professors to practicing librarians to the director of my program, and all of them provided me with job hunting advice and taught me great skills.  I sort of meshed all these skills together and created my own process/routine/guideline/whatever you want to call it.  There are five parts in my process, and beginning today, I will share this guide with you.
Treat job hunting like your job
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got before library school graduation was treat job hunting like a job.  What my awesome mentor meant by that was you should set aside time every day to job hunt; create a work-like environment (see “get organized” below) and sit down and do nothing but job hunt.  Go somewhere else other than your home if you need to further that “going to work” mentality.  Don’t answer the phone, surf the internet, check facebook, or do any of those unproductive things that limit how much we actually get done.  You should devote several hours each day where you do nothing but look for jobs, apply for jobs, and work on your resume(s) and cover letters.
I had a routine during my unemployment.  After breakfast, I would get dressed (because I don’t know about you, but I’m not very productive when I’m in my pajamas) and do the usually morning piddling on the internet (blogging, facebooking, email checking).  After that I would set a time limit (usually two hours) where I job hunted.  I made myself to apply for at least four jobs every day.  If I ran out of jobs to apply for, I worked on my resume, emailed potential contacts or followed up on previous applications, and continued to look for more jobs.  If I didn’t finish all 4 applications in the two hours, then I would go back later in the day and finish them up. 
Clearly this takes discipline and motivation, but if you think of job hunting as your only job until you find a real one, I find the motivation isn’t too hard to come by.
Coming tomorrow: Get Organized
What do you think about this?  Do you have a routine that helps you stay focused on job hunting?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rosanna McGinnis December 16, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Here is one question I have that I can never get a straight answer on:

How do you approach a contact? What is it that you say in your email to let them know… stuff. (I am in the area, I am on the market, etc.) An answer to this question would be very helpful. I have a few contacts that I know, not very well, but I have no idea how to connect with them.


2 Elizabeth December 16, 2010 at 9:50 pm

This is a tough question for me, because I suck at making contacts, but my best advice would be to send an email. If you don't have their email address, and can't find it, a phone call is fine, but I think an email is easier on both you and the potential contact.

I would email them and say something like "Hi, my name is Rosanna, I'm a recent graduate and living in the area. So-and-so gave me your name and thought that you would make an excellent contact for me." The I would ask questions like "Do you have any advice", "know of any good job openings in the area", etc. I wouldn't ask if their library is hiring and I wouldn't suggest a meeting right away. If you get a response, I would suggest a meeting to talk. We'll talk a little about mentors later, but even if the contact doesn't know of any jobs open, you could develop a good mentor/mentee relationship. You may not get a response, or if you do, it may not be very helpful or forthcoming, so be prepared for that. But hopefully, the person will be willing to at least meet you for coffee and talk about potential jobs in the area.

Does that help?


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