In hindsight, there are a few things I could have done differently to prepare for The Great Job Quest. My 10+ years of library experience made me overconfident of my marketability. I did not see a need for an intership, since I was already working in a library full time. The problem is, these lovely 10 years have all been cloistered in the same type of experience. Librarianship is a field which has so many specialities that many positions want more than one Master's degree as a qualification. Needless to say, working solely in circulation, reserve, and interlibrary loan capacities doesn't help much when you'd like to apply for that Reference Librarian position. Or Acquisitions. Anali's Library School Tip for Those Already Working in Libraries: take a look at what experience you're gaining, then look at what kind of position you think you're looking for. Are they comparable? If not, or if you're unsure of your goals, diversify. Maybe you don't have to be as drastic as an internship, perhaps your supervisor is supportive and allows you some flexibility in your duties. But it'll be your responsibility to ask about it, and do something about it.
2006 will definitely be the year I find a professional librarian position. I know because I've already had an interview, albeit for a temporary 6-month position. It's a step in the right direction. However, this recent interview brought to mind more tips to share, which are mainly things I need to remember.
Obvious Interview Tips
- If you have an afternoon interview and will be at work until your interview time, pack toiletries such as deodorant, hair brush, toothbrush/paste, etc. You'll feel better walking in there knowing you don't have a funk about you.
- Similarly, consider packing your interview outfit instead of wearing it. You may go through all the trouble of ironing a nice shirt, only to find that by interview time it's developed creases around your waist from sitting at your desk all day.
- It helps to remember to do any ironing the evening before your interview.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. This gives you time to breathe and not be too sweaty and disheveled when you arrive.
- Prior to the interview, review the job description. Maybe take a copy with you, with notes about how your experience relates. This way, you can have the points you'd particularly like to convey in front of you as the hiring committee fires away with those questions.
- Bring water. Many committees provide water, but it's best not to take a chance. Taking a nice swig is also a good time to formulate an answer.
- Finally, take your time. Many questions can be long and have multiple parts. Make sure you address every part and don't be afraid to ask for a repeat or clarification of the question. It counts more in your favor to be thorough and show that you're not afraid to ask for help than to answer the question in a vague and incomplete way.
Good luck to every graduate looking for a job this year. 2006 will be our year!