Cross-Country Job Searching : An Interview with Derrick Jefferson

This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions

by Caitlin Moen, Head Editor, INALJ Louisiana

Cross-Country Job Searching : An Interview with Derrick Jefferson

Current Position: Communications Librarian at American University, Washington, D.C.
Twitter Handle: @geekandahalf

derrick.jeffersonCaitlin:  When you began job-hunting, what criteria did you have? Parts of the country, types of positions, etc.
Derrick:  Ideally I wanted to find a job where I could take advantage of my film background AND my library background, but I didn’t have conditions on where in the country.

Caitlin:  How did you narrow down the areas of the country to which you were willing to move?
Derrick: I like big cities and I was looking for somewhere with good public transportation and good culture/things to partake in.  I especially was drawn by cities where I already knew someone who lived in the area.

Caitlin:   How did you find job postings when you were looking?
Derrick: My go to lists were INALJ, HigherEdJobs, and a great resource that a lot of people don’t know about is the list at UCLA’s GSLIS program.  They have great resources and I was looking in my home state, so there was a much more comprehensive in-state list. I also looked at different state associations for their various state job lists.

Caitlin:  What major challenge did you face in job hunting cross country?caitlin3
Derrick: I thought that there would be more responses.  I applied to roughly 50 jobs, and of those 50, I had 3 interviews.  I was looking at reference and instruction positions from California to Vermont and everywhere in between.  It was discouraging to experience such a low response rate.

Caitlin:  A piece of advice for people who are currently job-hunting cross country?
Derrick: Be diligent.  A lot of the time, you can’t take it personally.  Often, it’s not just if you’re going to be right for the job, but if the job environment will be right for you.  It’s a complicated process and it just takes time.

Caitlin:  Main takeaway?
Derrick: Job hunting is rough. It’s hard. It’s a full time job. I was very frustrated and discouraged, but I ended up with the RIGHT job.  Now I’m just enjoying where I’ve landed.


Derrick is originally from San Diego, CA, and moved to the Los Angeles area, where he earned his M.F.A. in Film.  He worked for a number of years in California as a Graduate Advisor before relocating to New Orleans, LA, where he pursued and earned his M.L.I.S.  After two years at Loyola University, Derrick recently moved to Washington, D.C. to take on the position of Communications Librarian at American University.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.