It is Never too Early to Job Hunt: Some Resources for New & Returning LIS students
I say start looking (even just to get familiar with the market) now!
My personal job hunting philosophy is that it is never too early to begin applying for jobs that you already have the skills for and meet or will soon meet the requirements of. I have applied for, and been hired at, jobs where I would meet the requirements within a few months. I was half way through my MLIS at Rutgers when I applied for a job with a government contractor at a federal library as a librarian that required an MLS or equivalent – and I was hired! I still had one year of school left and I am not alone, either; though not a common occurrence, I personally know several other classmates who had the same experience being hired before graduating and I served on a search committee at a prestigious academic library that hired someone nearly done with their MLS in an entry level librarian position. My experience was all at the staff level but my employer saw the value that working managing students and also being the only library staff member present nights and weekends held for me as an potential hire.
Experience in a library at the staff level made a huge difference in my being hired. If you are not working in a library or in a job in the information fields it can be a great idea to try, while in school, to get your first LIS job. Hiring managers vary as widely as every other disparate group of human beings who share one function, and sometimes little else. You will hear a range of advice about when and where and how to apply to jobs, or even if you should. You have to decide for yourself if the time invested in each job application is worth it, and if you truly have a shot. The upside is practice may make you better. I know some fantastic librarians who really struggled finding their first job, so know that it could be a long, depressing job hunt. Getting started while in school and you have the support of faculty and school jobs resources can ease the burden a wee bit for many.
This list is not comprehensive. There are so many fantastic resources our there for job hunters in the LIS field but these are ones I highly recommend and use myself. Add others in the comments and good luck and have a great semester!
Jobs Resources for LIS Students (and Others)
- INALJ – In addition to the blog posts and articles INALJ has the most extensive list of LIS related jobs postings on the internet. Our INALJ Jobs pages currently cover the US, UK and Canada and we have over 150 volunteers working at finding, formatting and adding jobs for job hunters.
- Twitter – This is one platform that has been indispensable to me. Sure, you can follow employers here and find jobs, but it is the place I go to find out what is going on and what is important to the LIS professionals that are leaders in the field. It is also a platform that allows you to interact with LIS pros who may be potential hiring managers. You can make a strong impression on Twitter. INALJ is on there!
- Hack Library School – One of my favs! Thoughtful, cutting edge perspectives about the library school experience. A must follow.
- Hiring Librarians – Emily Weak has created a fantastic resource including interviews with hiring managers and an indispensable Interview Questions Repository!
- Archives Gig – Meredith Lowe has the BEST archives jobs resource out there hands down. Interested in the field? Then follow her great jobs resource!
- Open Cover Letters – Even wonder what it takes to get an interview? This site shows cover letters of hired librarians and is well worth reading.
- Code4Lib – Many LIS professionals are interested in the tech side of librarians and information. This site, and its conferences, jobs, and journal are vital in connecting you with its ‘volunteer-driven collective of hackers, designers, architects, curators, catalogers, artists and instigators from around the world, who largely work for and with libraries, archives and museums on technology “stuff.”
- Listservs – Join your school and local SLA and otehr related listservs. You will find jobs on there that may not show up elsewhere. INALJ started because my first professional job was only listed on DC/SLA’s and Catholic University’s LIS listservs, and nowhere else!
- ALA JobLIst – The gold standard for traditional and many non-traditional library jobs. You will often see jobs listed here first! Make sure you check daily! Also get active in the divisions in ALA if interested- they can become your true new professional home :)
- SLA Jobs – In addition to joining ALA at the student membership level I recommend joining SLA as well. Their career center and resume database has been instrumental in several people I know finding their jobs.
- Letters to a Young Librarian – I love the advice given on here by experienced librarians geared towards new LIS professionals! I am on there too!
- Ask a Manager – Not geared towards LIS pros but very helpful info about volunteering and workplaces.
- In the Library with the Lead Pipe – is a high-quality, peer reviewed library journal online and well worth reading.
- Monster / Indeed / JobFox – If you update your resume once a month on these sites you can be found easily by contractors. Contractors are often not library specialists so they may use these sites when ALA and SLA would be better; I know two people who were found and hired because of their resumes on Monster so do not count it out.
- LinkUp – This is my preferred job scraper because unlike Monster, Indeed and JobFox these are curated and no expired jobs should be on there.
- LinkedIn – I love it because it gives me access to private group conversations, recruiters and others in our field. Unlike many platforms this one remains pretty polite and non-confrontational. INALJ is on there.
- Library Career People – This is a great library job hunting focused site run by the fantastic authors of, Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career.
- Circulating Ideas – Fun podcast interviewing LIS professionals from children’s librarians to experts working in DAM (digital asset management) INALJ is on there :)
- LLRX – Even if you are NOT interested in law librarianship you should follow this blog – fantastic insights from some of the top librarians in the field.
This may sound like a lot. I did not even scratch the surface of all the individuals whose Twitter feeds and blogs I read. Do not feel any pressure to participate in any of these, especially social media. Your privacy and comfort level matter and several of these resources do shave away some of your privacy. I offer the list as ones I have tried and can recommend but as always the job hunt is very personal and very much about YOU. So please check them out and try them out but they are not the only avenues to employment. Talk to hiring managers, professors and others for more good advice. For further reading check out my Free Advice (Literally) for New Librarians and good luck!