Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

by Claire Schmieder, Head Editor, INALJ New Jersey

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

ClaireSchmiederHere are a few things I’ve learned during my seven-month (and, as of yet, continuing) job search:

1. Because I can’t relocate, my search may take me a little longer. I am not in a position to move, nor am I willing to do so. I have a family and a community. My kids attend a great public school, my husband has a career and moving isn’t really an option for him, and, quite frankly, I like where I live. It’s peaceful. It’s semi-rural. I love the nighttime chorus of frogs, crickets, and other critters. (By “other critters,” I mean the occasional moo or bark.) Because there’s a radius of about 90 minutes within which I’m willing to commute, my options are limited. But that’s a choice I’ve made, and I’m good with it.

2. Applying to jobs takes time and patience. Learning to not become attached to a job I don’t yet have has taken some time. Learning how to write cover letters has taken some time. Learning how to interview has taken some time. Learning to be patient…is something I’m still working on. But, it is getting easier to apply and move on

3. Beggars can’t be choosers. Sometimes, I’m frustrated by the language of a job posting or the application process. Sometimes, I get annoyed by what I perceive as nepotism/favoritism/politics in the job application process. Sometimes, the phrase “needle in a haystack” echoes through my head. Most of the time, though, I try my hardest to submit the best applications I can, to stay positive about my chances, and to think creatively how to market myself in order to land my first paying and (I’m hoping!) full-time gig.

In the meantime, I keep this song in my head.

I’d love to hear from our readers – how have you managed an extended job search? What worked best? What didn’t work at all? What did you learn?

  7 comments for “Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

  1. Diane Briel
    August 24, 2013 at 10:05 am

    It has helped me to practice remembering that none of the bureaucracy of human resources departments or the hiring process was directed at me, and that perhaps one day, it would work in my favor. I did volunteer at my library and did work at a para-pro level.

    In the beggars can’t be choosers category, I worked for a year and a half at a nearby county system as a circulation associate, learning the same ILS used here. I did get to do a lot of reference, readers advisory, computer and e-reader assistance as well.

    I had a lot of lost ground to make up for, and I was fortunate to be eventually hired by a circulation manager at another public library system who thought that I would have something to offer to the library system as a reference librarian. Granted, he is a big picture thinker. I had seven different interviews in that system without an offer before I got hired from a list. My year probation is ending now and I will be eligible to apply for internal librarian positions. It has been a long few years that has required fortitude, a sense of humor and good friends.

    • Claire Schmieder
      August 25, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Seven interviews! Wow! I applaud your determination and patience. It’s hard not to get bogged down by the bureaucracy the hiring process, especially for public library/state university library jobs. I’ve learned a lot over the last seven months – primarily that I HAVE to stop taking the application process so personally. Thanks for your comments!

  2. August 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Great post Claire. I’m in a very similar position in that relocation isn’t a viable option for me and I have to search within a sane commute radius. That said, your approach is pretty much the mirror-image of mine. I also try to keep a a handle on my perspective – yes, my circumstances pretty much guarantee a more protracted job search with fewer positions to apply for. But that gives me more time and energy to devote to the applications I do submit. I’ve found that the worst thing I can do is let the job-hunt blues affect my work (and applications and interviewing are work). Thanks again for the post!

  3. A
    August 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    It’s nice to read that someone else can’t and doesn’t want to move for a job. I am lucky to have a position but I am actively (very actively!) seeking a new one that is a better fit. It is harder and taking longer than I expected. I also live in a semi-rural area and I am both not in a position to move and don’t have the desire to. I envy people who can pick up and relocate for a job but I really love where I live. Like you said, it’s a choice I made. I understand your commuting concerns, as well. I have similar restrictions. Best of luck and I know you’ll find the perfect job for you.

  4. Raquel Mendelow
    August 23, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    What I learned is that, indeed, you do have to have some patience. I thought I would get a library the minute I finished school. Maybe not the minute, but within six months. Now here I am, almost one year to the day that I finished my program, and I am still looking. I was & am certainly open to relocation too.

  5. Sarah
    August 23, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I like what you say about “Beggars can’t be choosers.” When I first started applying for jobs I was only applying for full time library-type positions. Then I realized that I should be looking for any experience, part time included. I’ve branched out and have started applying for part time work at all levels of experience and to various types of library/archive/records management/data entry positions. Hopefully something good will happen for all of us!

  6. August 23, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    I was lucky enough to get a temp/sub job at my local library that eventually grew into a part-time position. Although P/T work gets tiresome after a while; it’s given me a chance to have a “Second job” in applying for jobs and joining community organizations. The latter is actually how I got my new temp job as an archivist at another library; their director was a member of our historical society and attended a presentation I gave. It gets rough when you think you have a “sure job” get high marks on an interview and then get the “Dear John/Joan” letter, but staying positive, being patient and allocating your time all helps you become a better person and increases your chances of finding employment.

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