Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mistaken Assumptions About Library Job Searches

I and a number of friends are newly graduated from library school. Some of my friends are, shall we say, concerned about their job prospects. Their worries stem from the seemingly limited number of entry-level library jobs in the immediate area, the apparent dearth of full-time library jobs nearby, and the fact that many positions require years of library experience that they just do not have.
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However, instead of freaking out about this, let's take a look at the assumptions that they and many other MLIS grads have about the library job search. Upon taking a closer look, prospects for future employment in the library field really don't look all that dire. Perhaps examining what are common misconceptions will make my library school peers feel better.

"Common Misconceptions About Library Job Search" is an article posted on Library Hat that addresses six major worries that new MLIS degree holders have. Just a few of these misconceptions, as stated in the Library Hat article, and the (abbreviated) responses to them are:

1. Since my MLIS degree is brand-new, I won't stand a chance competing with more experienced librarians applying for the same position.
Many employers actually prefer new graduates to experienced librarians for a variety of reasons. Many think that new LIS graduates are likely to be (a) more up-to-date with new library trends, (b) more capable with technology, and (c) more enthusiastic and energetic. These are great strengths to employers' eyes.

2. I will be at a disadvantage if I don't want to relocate. I will be at a disadvantage if I apply for a job far away from where I currently reside.
Finding a job can take less time if you are willing to relocate. It is also true that many employers prefer to hire local candidates for a variety of reasons. Many employers will make different decisions based upon different considerations at different times. These considerations are almost impossible for a job candidate to predict. Simply apply for positions that match your experience and skill set. Do your best at what you can do, and do not worry about things that you have no control over.

3. Applying for as many jobs as possible will increase the chance of landing a job.
This seems simple enough. The more jobs you apply for, the more chances you will have in getting an interview, right? Unfortunately, finding a job is not like winning a lottery. The fact that you submitted your resume and cover letter has almost nothing to do with the chance of being considered as a candidate for the position. You will be considered only if your resume and cover letter show that your are qualified for and likely to be a good fit for the position. Therefore, invest your time and energy in selecting the most relevant jobs to your qualifications and in making your applications for those jobs as good as they can be.

This all sounds like very solid advice to me. Perhaps reading this, my fellow MLIS graduates will feel reassured.

To see all six "Common Misconceptions About Library Job Search," and the full responses to each one, go to the Library Hat article at THIS LINK.

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