Graduation time is fast approaching, and if you know what’s good for you, you’re already applying for your first library job. Or, maybe your term position is coming to a close, and you want to make sure your application is up to snuff. Luckily, in the library world, there is no shortage of resources to help you out! The trick is knowing where they are (so that you don’t have to rely upon sex appeal). I’ve compiled a few of my favourites for you here, but I’m missing any, please leave suggestions in the comments.
The first step is finding jobs to apply for. Do you have the pleasure of being Canadian? Or maybe you just want to work in Canada? Bookmark Libraryjobs.ca for the most inclusive list of library and archive jobs in Canada. You can sign up to have new jobs emailed to you (I did this – very handy) or you can keep checking back as the mood strikes you. A major selling point of this site is the ability to search by location and library type. If you’re American, check out the Association of Research Libraries Job Announcements.
**EDIT: How could I forget this lovely site? Check out I Need A Library Job. The name says it all! I strongly suggest joining the mailing list.
This site is a goldmine of inspiration, and it can help you get on the right track when tailoring your cover letters. Open Cover Letters is an archived compilation of successful cover letters that have been submitted by very generous librarians and archivists. And because this site was created by and for information professionals, the submissions have personal information blacked out and are beautifully categorized into the following areas: Academic, Archives & Museums, Business, Corporate, Federal, Health Sciences, International, Law, Nonlibrary, Public, and School. Thank you, Stephen X. Flynn! (And be sure to submit your own cover letter, once you get that first job!)
Need a second opinion on your resume? Would you like that opinion to come from a very reputable place? Check out the ALA’s Resume Review Service. Librarians with significant experience in HR review your resume via email. Totally worth the $10 membership fee! They even have a Job Hunting Resource Guide that is FULL of great information.
Think of “Library Grrls” as a forum or messageboard full of supremely helpful library gals (ok – some guys, too). The catch is that yes, you will need to revisit your highschool self and create a LiveJournal account, but it only takes a minute and is completely worth it. The advice that the community members dole out is extremely useful – AND, it allows you to ask all of your “stupid” questions in an anonymous way. From the User Info: Do you work in a library or just look like you do? Are you currently enduring the tortures of Library School? This is a grrrl (but boys are welcome, too) focused arena for discussing libary work issues, women’s evolving roles in libraries, and general library bitching or exalting. I love it! This was particularly useful when I was writing my SOP for library school, but I notice that a lot of the questions are of the I-am-trying-to-get-this-job variety.
Last but not least, this site can make for some fun reading as you soak up great advice and tips that may help you to get hired!
I hope these links help you in your job hunt, but don’t forget that good ol’ fashioned networking can sometimes be the surest way to start your career. Attend conferences, join associations, and conduct information interviews. Another tip – don’t be snobby! A library assistant or page position could open the door to a librarian gig – it did for me! Best of luck to you 🙂