by Joy Rodriguez, Head Editor, INALJ Delaware
Casting a Wide Net in your Job Search
I recently accepted a position as a temporary part-time medical librarian at a local hospital even though I don’t have a health sciences or medical background. My focus in library school was on digital libraries and information organization and when I graduated last December, I thought I would embark on a career in digital preservation or digital asset management. Specifically, I wanted to focus on digital copyright law and how it affects digital libraries since I also have a law degree.
When I first saw the opening, I was unsure if I even wanted to apply because of my different background. However, it sounded like an interesting opportunity and the schedule fit perfectly around my children’s school schedule. I mentioned it to my husband and he gave me some of the best advice I’ve received in my job search. He told me to “cast a wide net.” Meaning: be open to opportunities that arise even if they aren’t something you had considered doing before. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about working in a medical library before this opportunity arose. I was also concerned that by taking this position, I would be moving away from my career goals and interests. However, I’ve realized that, through this experience, I am putting into practice many of the things that I learned in library school such as reference, information literacy, outreach, marketing and library management. I also get to work with some very smart and talented librarians who have been so supportive of me while I’m learning a new subject matter. If, instead, I had not applied for this job because it wasn’t an exact fit with my background, I would have missed out on this great opportunity and the many things that I’m learning.
So my advice to you is to keep an open mind in your job search. Don’t just limit your search to things that you focused on in school or that you have done in previous jobs/careers. Be open to opportunities as they arise and take advantage of them. You will learn many new things along the way in addition to expanding your skill set and your professional network. You may also end up finding your dream job that you have always been looking for.