What Do You Do When You Can’t Relocate For a Job?

by Rebekah Kati, Head Editor, INALJ North Carolina

What Do You Do When You Can’t Relocate For a Job?

RebekahKatiThe most frequent piece of advice that I was given in library school was that I would need to relocate to find a job.  “You’ll likely have to move to a place where you won’t want to stay very long”, these well-meaning people would say.  While the ability to relocate certainly makes a job search easier, sometimes it is not always feasible to move.  So what do you do when you are tied to a specific place and need a library job?

First, make sure that you check local job listings.   Sometimes jobs are only posted on a company’s webpage or a handful of other places.  These listings can be easily overlooked by job aggregators.  Make sure that you check these sites frequently for new postings or set up alerts.  It may take some time, but you’ll know that your search is comprehensive.  Plus, you can tailor your search to your specific skill set.

Also, think outside the box when searching for jobs.  This is especially important if you live in a town with few libraries.  Library and information science skills are easily transferable to other fields, such as knowledge management, database design and web development.  Be creative!  When in doubt, check out the “Keywords for Job Searching” box in the left sidebar of INALJ.com.  Don’t overlook a job because it does not have the word “librarian” in the title.

Third, be realistic and honest when assessing jobs.  It is very easy to feel like you need to take any job you can get, but jobs can come with tradeoffs that should be evaluated.  Is a long commute feasible for your schedule?  Does a pay cut fit with your budget?

Keep your skills sharp.  There are many free or low cost professional development tools out there which can help you maintain the skills that you learned in library school or develop new ones as you search for a job.  My fellow Head Editors have recommended a number of opportunities, including MOOCs, webinars, and conferences.

Finally, network!  Join your state or local library association to get to know librarians in your area.  Some library associations will host networking events that will serve this purpose.  You may also want to volunteer or pursue an internship at a local library so that other librarians will become familiar with you and your work.

Your job search will likely be long and tough, but eventually you will find the perfect job for you.  Don’t give up!