My interview with success story, Zoe
Naomi: How did you find your current job?
Zoe: I saw the job posting on the ACRL-NW (Association of College & Research Libraries – Northwest) listserv. I wasn’t sure whether or not to apply at first because I knew I’d have to relocate, but I decided to give it a shot. I had been rejected for so many things that it seemed like I didn’t have anything to lose by trying.
Naomi: Favorite library you have been to?
Zoe: In the fall of 2007, I was studying abroad in Copenhagen while my roommate from the previous year was studying abroad in Stockholm. I loved all the libraries I visited in Copenhagen, but when I visited my roommate, when we to the Stockholm Public Library & it really took my breath away. The interior is just so beautiful and classic. http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkcaryatid/2047360999/
Naomi: Favorite book?
Zoe: Matilda by Roald Dahl or The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler by E.L. Konigsburg.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Zoe: I love how many libraries and archives have been posting valuable content to Flickr—things that otherwise wouldn’t be available, except to a small group of folks, are now easily accessed and searched. As a result, folks are adding information about the photos that the library may not have otherwise known. It’s libraries at their best. If you haven’t explored this part of Flickr yet, start with the Library of Congress and then look at their contacts—lots of other libraries and archives around the globe to explore.
Naomi: Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Zoe: When I was at the height of my job-searching, I followed every regional and national library job website and listserv, including INALJ, and it really helped me see the trends in library hiring, as well as the average salaries for certain types of jobs in certain areas. ALAJoblist is indispensable, as is the Mountain Plains Library Association (MPLA) job site.
Turner Masland is one of my favorite people and he keeps a library blog at http://deweysnotdead.blogspot.com/; it was also his interview advice that helped me land the job at Pierce: “A major pitfall for teachers is trying to pack way too much in. I also try and take the Coco Chanel approach to teaching. Coco Chanel once said about accessorizing ‘before you leave, look in the mirror, and take one thing off.’ When I design instruction…I try and remove one thing. I think this is particularly important when you only have 15 minutes.”
Naomi: Best piece of job hunting advice?
Zoe: When I look at résumés, I often remind folks to get creative in how they organize and present their experience. For example, if your current job is something non-library-related but you’ve been volunteering or interning in a library, then the first section should be education (so the employer can see you have an MLS or are working toward one), followed by “Relevant Experience”, then you can bury your current work stuff down toward the bottom.
Also, include anything you’ve done that might be relevant—paid or unpaid, amateur or professional. I have a section on my resume called “Teaching Experience” where I listed the one-on-one ESL tutoring I’ve done, the volunteer writing workshops I facilitated, and the class I taught to my peers as an undergrad. Everything counts on a résumé. Also, proofread, proofread, proofread. I am still hideously embarrassed by the dozens of résumés I sent out that said I was an “Adjunt” Faculty Librarian. Ack!
Zoe Fisher is a Reference & Instruction Librarian at Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington. She completed her MLS from Emporia State University in 2010 and her BA in Art History from Oberlin College in 2008. Prior to working for Pierce, she was a part-time Reference Librarian at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington. She relocated from Portland, Oregon to take the position at Pierce, leaving behind her husband and three cats—but she visits them frequently. When she’s not being a librarian, Zoe enjoys bathing with quality soaps, drinking Jamba Juice smoothies, playing Skeeball, and writing short stories. Find her at www.zoe-trope.com or @zoh_zoh.
Photo courtesy of Kate Blackmore