by Tiffany Newton, Head Editor, INALJ Missouri
How to Prepare (Now) for Your Future Dream Job
So you have a professional goal or a dream job. The only problem is that you’re not qualified at this time for that job. Either you want to be a library director at a small public library or an awesome instruction librarian at a large university. Maybe you have an interest in archives or even special libraries. Here are just a few steps to preparing yourself now, so that when the time comes, you’ll have all the required skills for your dream job.
Start looking for jobs NOW. Look at job postings now of what your dream title is. How many of those qualifications do you have? How many do you still need? You don’t have to apply right now, but it won’t hurt. You might even get an interview to see what kinds of questions they’ll be asking. And who knows, you might get your dream job sooner than you thought!
In my case, I’d like to be a library director, and many of the openings I see require several years of experience as a supervisor, previous experience working with library boards, advocacy, marketing, grant writing, and even budgeting. I don’t have many of those skills. I have had a few interviews and learned, through the questions search committees ask, what kinds of things they are really looking for.
Try to get the skills you need at your existing job – or find a job that will help you get those skills. If you are currently employed, talk to your supervisor. Explain that you’d like to get more experience in your desired skill, then ask if you can do X to help get that skill. Whether it’s serving on the search committee next time someone is hired to get experience hiring people, or teaching a few classes at your library, it will help you get the experience you need. If you don’t work at an organization that has what you’d like to do, then volunteer at your local library, school, or other similar organization. Depending on the skill you would like, you might even be able to take a class, Webinar, or MOOC and learn more that way.
When you do finally apply your dream job, you’ll be able to ace the interview and hopefully get the job! Write an awesome cover letter, explaining how you’ve been working to get the needed skills the past few years through various avenues. And, if you don’t get the first one you apply for, don’t lose heart, keep trying!