Keeping an Open Mind on the Job Hunt

by Sara Dixon, Head Editor, INALJ Kansas

Keeping an Open Mind on the Job Hunt

Sara Dixon PhotoA common theme around INALJ is to think outside the box when it comes to library and information professional jobs. This usually encourages you to consider jobs outside the library field that still utilize your information professional skills acquired via that pricey Master’s degree. Another side of that is to try and picture yourself in a facet of the library field that maybe you hadn’t before. This requires you to really look deep within yourself and realize your capabilities and potential.

I had always known that I wanted a reference job. I went to grad school so I could get a reference job. After I relocated back to my home state, now unemployed, (you can read about that journey in one of my previous posts) I knew I had to really put myself out there in order to get hired quickly. I continued to apply for mostly reference jobs and even a few circulation jobs. If only I could break in to the field, surely I could advance and find my niche.

Surrounded by family and old family friends, they started to send me job announcements for Director positions in nearby rural areas. I wouldn’t even consider them. I was surely not qualified, even though I had plenty of program management experience outside the library field. They just don’t understand, I would tell myself.

Guess what? I applied for one on a whim. I took some advice I picked up from a cover letter session with Open Cover Letters founder, Steven X. Flynn, and wrote a bang up cover letter.  The more I thought I about my skills and what I had to offer, I found I was able to see myself in that position. Well, the stars must have aligned, because I got an interview, which was followed by a job offer the very next day. And that’s how I got hired as a Library Director of a public library in rural Kansas. I’m having a blast! I get to do library administration, web design, reference, library programming, work with all the age groups, and even dabble in cataloging. I forced my mind open a little further, and it worked out. So apply for that job even it seems like you’re reaching. Ambition isn’t a bad thing! It may land you a job you never thought possible!

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