Saturday, November 17, 2012

Overcoming Obstacles to Finding a Library Job

A friend once told me he would not accept a job if it paid less than X amount, even if all of its other aspects were just what he was looking for. This sense of entitlement can be a big obstacle in gaining employment, says Ellen Mehling, director of Westchester Graduate Library School, director of internships at Long Island University's Palmer School of Library and Information Science, and job bank manager/career development consultant for the Metropolitan NY Library Council.

When trying to find a library job, it's best to be flexible...and stay positive! Image via

"Entitlement," says Mehling, "is believing you should have something that you want simply because you want it: you deserve it, you have a right to it, things should go your way. To complicate things further, caught up in entitled behavior are past experiences which can lead to unrealistic current expectations." Not being willing to adjust your outlook based on today's reality - "a still struggling economy," according to Mehling - can make finding a library job, or any job, much harder.

A sense of entitlement is just one obstacle that can come between you and the job you want. Other obstacles within your control are "lack of specific required skills or experience or education, poor verbal communication and interviewing skills, a sparse online presence, poor writing skills and/or resume and cover letter, insufficient network and poor networking skills, inability to "sell yourself," [and] inappropriate attire for interview[s]." You can work on all of these things to bring yourself closer to your dream job. For instance, if the jobs you're interested in require you to have certain skills, take courses or workshops to acquire those skills. That's totally within your power.

However, Mehling admits, there are some obstacles that are not within your control: "age (or other types of) discrimination within the mind of an interviewer, a number of applicants so high that the hiring manager doesn't even get to your resume and cover letter, employers posting positions even though they have already chosen the candidate they will be hiring." Although you can't do anything about these obstacles, it's best to stay "confident and positive, [and] demonstrate persistence and determination." With the right attitude, proper preparation, and patience, you'll eventually get the library job you want.

For more obstacles to employment, and what you can or can't do about them, see Ellen Mehling's article "Know the Difference" at THIS LINK.

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