When Kyle invited comments on how newly minted (and seasoned!) librarians were job hunting, I had to share my story and technique.
After graduating in December from my masters program, I had high hopes: well before graduating, I had been lucky enough to have a few phone and in-person interviews. While the experiences were each unique and useful, they didn’t end in a job. As anyone who has been through a search — particularly in a weak economy — can tell you, the emotional weight of the hunt is overwhelming. Each rejection can further breed anger, sadness, and frustration.
Instead of allowing myself to fall victim to job hunt hopelessness or rely on the same handful of library job related databases that everyone else used, I decided to give myself a different goal outside of “getting a job.” That goal? Developing one of the most comprehensive and multifaceted library job websites, complete with not only the major databases, but also the employment web pages for individual libraries and cities. One of the things I’d come to realize through my hunt was that these large databases certainly captured a fair number of jobs out there, but they didn’t capture them all and often, there was significant overlap among them. My thought was that by going library-by-library, I’d find more jobs. More importantly, I’d find more jobs that fewer people apply to because of the actual work involved in locating them.
Thus, libraryjoblinks was born. Rather than build a website or database from the ground up, I used delicious because of the ability to tag things in many different ways. My personal search methodology was not necessarily logical nor the same day by day when job searching. While developing libraryjoblinks, it was my goal to have a tagging system that was understandable to others (location, type of library, etc.), but also one dynamic enough to allow browsing in a number of different ways (region, whether the jobs were posted on library district sites or city websites, etc.). But most importantly, I wanted the entire collection of links accessible to librarians, recent grads, or those preparing to graduate. The information is out there, but it’s so dispersed that sometimes the job search can get you down before you even really search. I wanted to have one place where I could look at hundreds of sites without having to hunt them all down first, and I wanted to share this with others.
I’ve had people tell me I am crazy for doing all this work for free then letting anyone access it (i.e., I’m letting my “competition” for jobs pull from my own resources). In my mind, though, librarians and information professionals are in the same field for this reason: to share our resources in as many useful ways as possible. Why should it be different for job information?
It’s my hope to keep growing the site. It takes a little work, and I’m doing it on my own, so at this point, much of it reflects what I was looking at or had quick and easy access to. But it’s still my goal to develop it more fully so that it can be a go-to spot for job hunters. So please, job hunters, soon to be job hunters, and people who may job hunt in a few years, use it! Share it, and share with me anything you run across that I should add.
Kelly Jensen is a reference librarian at a suburban Illinois library system and book blogger at stackedbooks.blogspot.com. She is also responsible for getting the member community for first-career librarians and info pros going on ALA connect, and would love to see others get involved in the group.