My interview with success story Hannah
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Hannah: Originally, several friends forwarded me the job advertisement knowing that it would be exactly what I was looking for. (And it was!) But it was also posted on GEONET listserv, ALA joblist, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. I was lucky that this job post came up only three months (and 40 job applications) into my job search. However with job searches I did do, I carefully monitored blogs and RSS feeds and had an email account set up for job-related emails. Since I was applying to jobs in lots of areas, I used GoogleDocs and Zeemaps in tandem for organization and to create a geographic representation of jobs. I also created an RSS feed for any web page that did not have an RSS feed so that I didn’t have to manually monitor them. I did this through http://page2rss.com/
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Hannah: I love rural libraries that have a strong connection to their public. Small island libraries come to mind — Peaks Island and Vasselboro, Maine. My favorite is the Haitian National Library in Port-au-Prince.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Hannah: A few I have loved and passed on to others include Omnivore’s Dilemma and Atlas Shrugged. Every Christmas holiday I like to re-read Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Hannah: Libraries can transform a community, making it a vital foundation for everyday life. Whether it is staging first aid support after a natural disaster or providing the informational resources for immigrants and travelers alike, it is undeniable that libraries are a powerful force in our society.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Hannah: I subscribe to over 500 library and job-related blogs, so it’s hard to pick out the gems. A few of the ones I read weekly:
• IREX Global Libraries is about library development programs in Ukraine and Romania – but there are some great anecdotes that remind you of why you went into the profession. Check out their Youtube channel for more. http://irexgl.wordpress.com/
• Greening your library, by my friend and former colleague Beth Filar Williams. This was one of the first blogs I started actively reading right at its inception. Since Beth started it in 2008, I have been consistently abreast of library trends and their connection with the environment and the world around us. This was one of the first — and in my opinion the best — blogs about libraries and the environment. http://greeningyourlibrary.wordpress.com/
• Lauren Pressley has great blog to find out the trends in instructional technology. I love her recap of conferences. http://laurenpressley.com/library/
• For more global perspective of library issues, I like information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) blogs such as http://ict4dblog.wordpress.com/ and http://www.beyondaccess.net/blog/
For job-related searches, a few fun ones:
• United Nations and NGO Archivist/Librarian jobs goinginternationalinarchives.blogspot.com/
• Craigslist! Try a full search on crazedlist and pull it into your blog feed reader.
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Hannah: There is so much!
First — and I can’t say this enough — talk to those you know and those you don’t and ask for job hunting advice! I received a lot of great advice when searching for a job (Thank you – you know who you are!), some of which I pass on to you: Lynda Kellam gave me the great advice that the job you look for right after graduate school is (probably) one of the only times you can talk to people about your job search – so talk about it! You never know when a friend of a friend has a networking connection for you. For interview advice, Chris Thiry noted it does not hurt you AT ALL to ask for a potential employer’s strategic plan, collection development plan, or organizational chart. In fact it can only help you. Also, try to be able to filter out which is bad and which is good advice. I was once told I would never be a subject specialist at an academic institution because I didn’t have a second master’s :(
Second, keep your contacts outside of the library field. Whether you are lucky enough to have a strong pool of friends in diverse careers or you have worked in different industries, your knowledge of others will help you tremendously.
Third, there is a lot of experience that you might not know you have, which means there are a lot more jobs you are qualified for. The INALJ.com website has a list of suggested keywords to use in your job search which can help you consider other non-library industries. Further, when it comes time to write your resume and cover letter you may find it hard to think of specific examples that cater to the job description of the job you are applying to. Try to highlight the relevant points of your experience. Don’t lie, but highlight what you know. You will be surprised with the number of people who think they don’t have leadership or project management experience but yet annually coordinated their neighborhood association’s silent auction, or did scheduling for the SPCA dog walkers or helped supervise a work conference. They all have leadership and project management experience! (Also, talk to your past supervisors or managers. They might remember things better than you.)
Good luck on your search!
Originally from Maine, Hannah Winkler is the Earth Sciences Librarian and Bibliographer at the Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collection at Stanford University. Prior to attending library school she worked as a newspaper reporter and web designer. She received a dual bachelor’s in English and Geology from Guilford College in 2005 and her MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2011. She blogs at globallibrarianship.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter at @globallib.