Fear of Success: Following Up

by Alfonso Colasuonno, Assistant, INALJ New York City

Fear of Success: Following Up

steampunk-LibrarianvWhat makes INALJ great is that it is a positive, supportive network of information professionals looking to help one another, and offer concrete ways to do so. By reading the blog entries on the site, and reaching out to your fellow information professionals, you can learn some tips to keep your search for a library job going in the right direction. However, inertia can be a powerful force. If you are sans employment and have become discouraged, please read on.

You sent out your twentieth resume this month, and have not received anything back but form letters acknowledging its receipt. You patiently scour library jobs, fix your resume, customize your cover letter for each position, secure great references, and commit yourself to growth in the profession, yet you still don’t hear back after submitting your umpteenth resume. If only there was more growth in the profession, or if there were more entry-level jobs, you say amidst drinks with others in the field.  Sound familiar? If so, it’s time to put the blame where it rests – squarely on your shoulders.

If you have been sending out resumes to different jobs, thinking that your credentials are enough, think again. There are more qualified information professionals than there are positions. So, who gets the positions that are around? The answer in many cases is not the best candidate, but the most determined. When you apply for positions, you must also be persistent, especially when you are applying for a position without any prior networking. Submitting a resume isn’t enough to catch an employer’s attention. There are many ways you can capture the eye of someone in a position to hire someone. You can send a resume via snail mail. You can send a personalized resume and cover letter to a contact in the organization or a hiring manager after submitting the standard way via the Web. You can give a call just before 9 AM, around noon, or at 5PM to someone in a position to hire you and make your pitch. You can combine these approaches if met with failure. Basically, you just don’t give up.

Many people think that these steps will make you seem annoying or desperate. Nothing is further from the truth. If done well, with respect and confidence, these steps will say more about your character, determination, creativity, and ability than could be expressed in the traditional wait and see (which is really wait and wait and wait) approach. These are steps, in combination with networking, that will lead you to land a job, everyone’s end goal. If you don’t follow these steps, you will have plenty of time to dream about your library job, but your dreams will not become a reality, and the blame won’t rest on the lack of entry-level jobs.


Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its 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. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians 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 one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.