Do It Anyway

by Sarah Porter, Head Editor, INALJ California

Do It Anyway

bio_meDo you ever find your “dream job” posted, and feel discouraged from applying for it after reading a long list of qualifications? Some of the wish lists of requirements are so long and comprehensive that only a highly intelligent robot set on world domination could be programmed to fulfill them all. For more realistic job postings, you may be very well qualified for some aspects of the job, but your experiences do not satisfy all of the required qualifications. What do you do in these circumstances? Do you not apply, because you don’t think you have a shot? That’s what I used to do. I think it’s fairly safe to say that no one enjoys the application process. It’s so easy to talk yourself out of doing the legwork that will get you to the point of being considered.

I recently applied and interviewed for a Librarian II position that felt certain I would not get. Why did I feel so certain? I knew my competition. But those around me inspired me to try anyway. Here are reasons to apply even when you think you will fail:

  1. Getting good at the application and interview process is all about practice. The best way to practice is to actually do it. Give it all you’ve got. Afterward, reflect on what you did well and what you could improve.
  2. We can be our own harshest critics. Perhaps you are very well qualified for the position and don’t believe it.
  3. The library/organization may be looking for a specific skill set that you possess, and the other applicants do not.
  4. Personality and reputation matter. Although you may not be as qualified as all applicants, the hiring committee may like you the best.
  5. Many libraries will keep your name on file for a set period of time, and consider you for future job openings. Your future self will thank you.

I did not get the position. Nevertheless, my former supervisor did, and she did not meet all of the qualifications either. The position required an MLIS and two years as a Librarian I. She is not quite finished her MLIS and has experience as a Senior Library Technician, not as a Librarian. Nonetheless, her outgoing personality and experience as a branch supervisor made her an ideal candidate for the position that focuses on programming and public relations. If you think you don’t have a shot, try anyway, and you may be surprised and get it or at least earn some valuable experience.

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