by Rebecca Crago, Head Editor, INALJ Virginia
Why, If You’re Willing to Relocate, You Should Consider the DC Metro Area
It’s easy to get cynical when you hear the Library and Congress and Smithsonian are preparing for furloughs and a reduction of acquisitions over the coming fiscal year, but that doesn’t mean the job-creating grants will cease and that for-profits will suffer. Let’s momentarily forget about the recent federal budget reductions known as sequestration and consider why, if you’re a wayfaring librarian, you should be looking in the Washington, DC metro area.
DC is brimming with culture and heritage in the form of art, music, history, theatre and much more. Aside from your typical museum, most cultural organizations have collections that need organized and preserved and resources that are utilized for research. When you consider the sheer number of museums in the area, you’d be remiss not to keep your eye on DC, especially if archives and records management is your thing. Don’t forget about the surrounding area that is home to a number of National Park sites and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area.
Government and Related Jobs
One need not look further than USAjobs.gov to know most Federal government jobs are located in DC and the vicinity. Most offer veterans preference, so if you have served in the military you’re already ahead of the game. This also applies if you have a security clearance, because many fed and government contractor jobs require an active security clearance. Contractors typically require top-secret level clearances with a polygraph because the job constitutes handling classified material from the government agencies that hire them. Of course, there’s federal jobs out there for us civilians, too.
Internships, Stewardships and Fellowships
The Library of Congress, Smithsonian and the National Archives (or, The Big Three, as I like to call them) offer students and recent grads a variety of stipend opportunities every year. LOC alone offers approximately 15 unique internship and fellowship opportunities for a variety of specializations (some even hire up to ten vacancies per announcement). Government agencies such as the Department of Transportation also offer such opportunities for special projects, providing housing and a stipend to the successful candidate. And don’t forget about residencies and fellowship opportunities in higher ed, which typically offer a generous monthly allowance.
If you are pursuing a career in medical informatics, you’ve probably already applied to jobs near DC, especially around Bethesda, MD, home to the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine. Johns Hopkins, UMD Medical, Georgetown, George Washington and Howard Universities are also known for their medical programs, and where there are programs there are libraries! Medical associations like the Association of American Medical Colleges, the National Medical Association and the Medical Society of the District of Columbia are among related places to watch for new jobs.
These are just a few reasons why you should be actively checking for new opportunities in the DC and surrounding areas, but there are so many more (just think: for-profits, bilingual jobs, etc.). And by all means, don’t let the high cost of living and scary traffic reports unnerve you. The salaries around here typically reflect that of the local market, and public transportation is only going to improve with road developments and a new METRO line scheduled to open by the end of the year. There are so many wonderful career opportunities and so much culture to absorb, so don’t miss out!