Qraig’s Quest (IWALJ) – Sizing Up the Job Search: Go Big or Stay Small?

by Qraig De Groot

qraigsquestSince graduating from Rutgers in May 2012, many have asked me, “What do you want to do with your degree?”  It’s a very valid question, but I’ve found it so difficult to answer.  The reasons are because there are just so many things a person can do with a Masters of Library and Information Science degree…and I kind of want to do it all!

My quandary is: Will this desire to do everything help or hinder my job search?

When I first entered Rutgers, I already knew what I didn’t want to do. That being a stodgy librarian depicted in countless movies and tv shows shushing everyone and practically lobbing off heads when a book was returned late.  Though the old, bun-haired female is more predominant, there are plenty portrayals of the raggedy cardigan wearing male counterpart with massive glasses, greasy hair and socially awkward characteristics.  Besides the chunky horn-rimmed glasses which I always found to be fashionably forward in a dorky way, none of those other attributes attracted me.

But otherwise loving the idea of librarianship, I began my Masters pursuit.  Through my varying array of courses, I discovered there were a lot of other avenues other than a “typical” librarian where I could utilize my fascination with research, data management and cataloging.  And let’s not even mention the “Keywords for Job Searching” list offered by INALJ on a weekly basis.  The roster, which includes such wonderful titles as: Information Professional, Data Management Analyst, Knowledge Coordinator, Indexer and Digital Content Curator makes my head explode (in a good way) each and every time I scan through it!

When thinking about what I want to do and can actually accomplish, the options seem limitless.  But, is that beneficial or detrimental to my job search?  Should I focus on one skill I’ve mastered in past positions and use that as my starting point?  Would that be a too limiting job search? Or should I just apply to all jobs I find remotely interesting and see what happens?  Would this approach be too convoluted and a complete waste of time?

Honestly, I have always been the “apply to everything and see what sticks” kinda guy.  There are so many jobs and businesses out there that capture my interest that I don’t see the point of concentrating on just one aspect of my skills and/or knowledge base.  I could conceivably do a lot of different things and probably would be happy doing them.

Or maybe I am just fooling myself.  This could be the case considering that, so far my “willy-nilly” job search has resulted in a lot of dead ends and unfortunate employment missteps.  I already mentioned my job in the porn industry, right?  Then again, besides the curmudgeonly socially awkward librarian there is also the image of the “sexy” librarian that runs rampant in popular culture. Perhaps I could use what I learned back in my ‘adult entertainment days’ and parlay that into a library career…but, I digress.

So, should I keep up the “broad” job searching habit now that I actually have a bit clearer view as to what I want to do with my life?  Or will I just end up like I have in the past – feeling exposed, overwrought and confused? And that is not a reference back to my adult entertainment stint.  Okay, maybe it was – a little.

As you are all well aware, there is just so much out there for someone with an MLIS degree.  But how do you actually land one of these jobs?  Is it through a concentrated search based on experience and skill or one that is much-more far reaching and all encompassing?

It’s these concerns about the job market that excite and terrify me both that the same time.

And then what about job location?  Is it better to just focus on where you are living now or perhaps ponder the idea of relocation?  Should salary be a top concern?  And working hours??  How about the size of an organization and the staff you might be interacting with?  What about those things????


There it went.  My brain has officially exploded.

Actually, that feels a lot better. Now where were we?  Oh right.  Sexy librarian…


Qraig recently earned his MLIS from Rutgers University with a concentration in Digital Libraries. He is currently looking for a job. Ideally, he’d love to be the first billionaire librarian, but at this point he’d settle for anything where his skills and education can be utilized. Paid vacation time and health benefits wouldn’t hurt either.

Still a Jersey boy at heart (and will always be), Qraig currently resides in Manhattan where he spends much of his time watching ridiculously trite reality television, reading astonishingly atrocious autobiographies, writing preposterous prose and cleaning up after his two black cats. It’s truly a life of which dreams are made.

Reposted from 9/19/12

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.