It’s finally that time. Graduation is approaching and we’ll be free from homework and other projects at long last. I’m sure many of us are thinking these thoughts right now. While the prospect of finally getting to work on that novel you’ve been planning sounds great, there’s one problem. Once school is over, you need a job.
The process of getting a job can be a daunting one for librarians. While the economy has taken a turn for the better, there are still a limited number of openings, and an even more limited number of openings that fit each individual library student. Finding a job that specifically fits one’s schooling and job experience will not be the reality for many librarians, at least not early in their careers. This is a lesson I’ve been learning over the past few months: While I have specifically trained to be an archivist, I am learning I may have to draw on all of my academic and professional experience to find that first job.
The problems of finding a job are compounded for librarians like myself who have partners in similar fields. Finding a “good fit” means there is a potential for both you and your partner to find satisfactory employment. While finding two perfect positions can be done, it is not likely. One of you may need to find something outside your specific field in order to pay the bills. This is not to say newly-graduated library students have to compromise in order to find a job. Rather we should be thinking more broadly when considering potential positions. I recently interviewed for a position as a processing archivist in a public library system. Before hearing about this position, I had never considered working in a public library. All of my academic training and professional experience relating to archives had focused on academic and corporate settings. While this position would not be a drastic change from the archives in which I’ve worked, it is part of a library system I had previously never considered as a possible place of employment. One benefit of this newly discovered potential career path is that, compared with the academic world, the interview process for a position in a public library has been much simpler and more enjoyable, particularly when compared to the interview process for academic librarians.
While I enjoyed my interview and learned a lot about how that process works, I still have to consider my partner in the job search. This has become even more difficult as she has prospects of her own in another part of the country. Though this “problem” is really a blessing, it still causes stress. Trying to figure out which opportunity to invest in fully is a difficult task. Thankfully there are good resources to draw upon at IU, including ILS Career Services and the faculty and staff of the Wells Library.
While the process of finding a job is difficult and stressful, don’t get discouraged. Keep reading job postings every day, apply for forty jobs, and eventually you’ll get an interview for a position to which you’ve long forgotten you applied. It may not be a perfect position but it could be the one that helps you get your dream job.