by Sara Dixon, Former Head Editor, INALJ Kansas
So Long INALJ and Thanks for All the Fish!
In February of 2013, I was desperate to get out of cubicle world and land my first post-MLIS librarian position. I had used INALJ while it was still a PDF digest that Naomi would email to countless addresses. And when she transitioned to state pages, I figured I might as well document the job searching I was already doing in an effort to help others. (It’s what we info pros do, amirite?!) Several months later, and after taking a few risks, I landed a great job! But now, after a year and a half of volunteering, it’s time to relinquish my Head Editor position to focus on some local initiatives that currently need my attention.
Working for INALJ has been such a rewarding experience. Librarians and information professionals are always such a wonderful, helpful bunch, and I have met (virtually and in person) some excellent examples through my work here. These are connections that I hope to retain throughout my career. I always love hearing from other job seekers about their journeys. Although on the surface we all want the same outcome (to find that next great gig), we all go about it in different ways. We find what works for us: we tweak our resumes in such a way to find where we stand out; we practice interview questions (is there really a perfect answer to the inevitable strengths and weakness question?); and we hope that we find the right fit. But it still helps to talk about it and learn from others in the process. With a resource like INALJ, you can read about other’s experiences and connect with groups on LinkedIn, in addition to looking at aggregated jobs lists. You get the best of ALL the worlds!
In a few instances, I have had the pleasure of working with or meeting people who found their jobs using INALJ. It’s pretty awesome to see the wide reach this site has now. Working for INALJ always made me feel like I was part of something big – something special. Even though I’m a small town public librarian in Kansas, this community helps me keep up with the national scope of all the information professional fields. I have already ranted on why every profession needs a librarian, and maybe someday we’ll get there.
So this is all to say that yes, if you’re toying with the idea of volunteering, I think you should send that email to firstname.lastname@example.org and take the leap! It could lead to some opportunities you didn’t even know you wanted. The job isn’t always perfect – it’s a job, and sometimes it’s kind of hard. (Coming up with blog post ideas has always been a struggle for me. I’m a reluctant writer. But then, following publication, someone would say something in the comments or via email, and it would make me feel all warm and fuzzy.) I appreciate that this is always a positive community. Reading through some comments under blog posts or some threads on LinkedIn will attest to that. Plus, by volunteering you get access to the collective brain of the INALJ volunteers!
Good luck to all of you! It can be a difficult journey, but having a supportive community can help you identify the positives. It definitely did for me. I’ll leave you with some profound words I once found in a fortune cookie: “Try a new hat for a change in looks. Be creative!”