All you want is an interview

I was finally offered a job(!*), and I want to share my job-search experiences. What worked for me may not work for you, but – in the spirit of “more information is better”– I hope this helps you clarify how you’ll approach the job search.

I want to write a series of posts, but for now I’m just going to do a scattershot approach:

  • During my job search I didn’t post job-related content on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, or other social networking sites. The LIS community is small. I chose not to broadcast where I was interviewing, where I was traveling, etc. This was difficult, and you might choose differently. I will expound on this later.


  • Instead, I frequently chose to tell a few select people about my upcoming <résumé submission, phone interview, in-person interview, offer, etc.>. I chose to tell certain (few) people because I was looking to them for advice; or maybe they could cheer me on or send good vibes. They may have been super close friends who I trust. Or maybe I needed a place to stay; or perhaps they knew the library director well and could make a phone call. In other words, I was picky about talking with people, and I used my contacts. This will be the topic of a future post, because I don’t think you can underestimate the power of networking. It’s how I got my job, actually.  I’m also extremely lucky – my contacts are my friends pretty much to a person. Do not underestimate the power of friends and contacts.


  • I wrote a different cover letter for every single job to which I applied. I’m guessing I applied for 120+ jobs. I will be posting cover letter samples here eventually, because I don’t think there are enough good examples out there.


  • I rarely (if ever) revised my CV based on the job description. I frequently revised my résumé based on the job description. There’s a difference between a CV and a résumé. You might want to consider having both (I will post both of mine eventually, and I will explain the differences, and I will admit what I did wrong).


  • I used a ton of resources for job ads. In addition to all the “usual suspects” (RSS feeds, Twitter, LIS job websites and listservs) I bookmarked library web sites where I particularly wanted to work. I dug deep. You’re (probably) a librarian. You know how to do this. So DO IT!  I’m guessing I checked 60+ resources daily. I will post more about this later too, along with a list of resources I used.



There are so many more tips I want to write about, but I think it’s super important to address the subject of this post – “First, get an interview.”

Really and truly, you want an interview. In fact, you want lots of them. People get hung up about details in the job description, so they end up saying (or thinking) things like:

  • “I don’t want to live in Mississippi.”
  • “I’ve never created instruction plan.”
  • “Catalogers aren’t interested in Reference, so I don’t want to be hired as a cataloging librarian.”
  • “I can’t live in a small town.”
  • “I really don’t want to live in Mississippi.”



We read job ads, and we react all knee-jerky. We decide why we we won’t like the job. Or maybe we save the job ad to re-read and apply later. When we go back to the job ad we think, “That’s not really for me.”

DON’T DO THAT.

Do NOT take yourself out of the running. (Trust me: you’ll have plenty of other people willing to do that for you). All you want is an interview. An interview doesn’t mean you’ll be offered the job; it just means you get an interview. An interview doesn’t mean you have to take the job even if it is offered to you; it just means you get an interview.

An interview gives you an opportunity to talk about what’s important to you. An interview gives you the opportunity to understand who you *might* work for. If absolutely nothing else, you get the opportunity to practice interviewing. And even that is worth a whole lot. What’s really cool? After enough interviews you become confident, self-assured, and they become FUN. Really!

Let me repeat myself yet again: An interview doesn’t mean you’ll get the job. But an interview gives you a better chance at getting the job. So all you want is an interview.

I’d love to hear any job-related questions you might have. I’ll answer them honestly, and I’ll do my best to answer them quickly.

*(Starting July 1, 2010, I will be the Academic Resident Librarian at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. YAY!)

This entry was posted on Monday, May 3rd, 2010 at 7:22 pm and is filed under jobs, me, reflections. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 comments

 No.1 

This is a great post! I look forward to all your forthcoming examples.

I definitely didn’t get enough interviews. Two, total. One before I even graduated, one a few months after (for the job I got offered and accepted). I had a few of what I thought were really successful phone interviews, so maybe you can talk about those too. Maybe that’s included in your “interviews” statement, but I think phone interviewing is actually harder than the in-person pitch. In person it’s like you can get to know them. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m terrible on the phone. I’m also rambling on your blog. Anyway, looking forward to it! And welcome back to the midwesterly part of our nation with me! ;)

May 4th, 2010 at 1:20 am
 No.2 
Kate:

I used this post (and the one after it) as the inspiration for my own job search reflections. It includes some of my own tips and tricks:

http://librariankate7578.com/2010/05/05/re-charging-your-lis-job-search/

May 5th, 2010 at 12:14 pm
 No.3 

Great points, and I’m on the same page with you about not broadcasting where upcoming interviews will be. I recently started a new job and during my search, I would only tell my closest friends where I had phone or in person interviews; I really think it was better to do it that way. Congrats!

May 11th, 2010 at 2:38 pm
 No.4 

This is a great post! I look forward to all your forthcoming examples.

I definitely didn’t get enough interviews. Two, total. One before I even graduated, one a few months after (for the job I got offered and accepted). I had a few of what I thought were really successful phone interviews, so maybe you can talk about those too. Maybe that’s included in your “interviews” statement, but I think phone interviewing is actually harder than the in-person pitch. In person it’s like you can get to know them. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m terrible on the phone. I’m also rambling on your blog. Anyway, looking forward to it! And welcome back to the midwesterly part of our nation with me! ;)

June 17th, 2010 at 5:43 am

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