Monique Lowe …Success Story

My interview with success story, Monique

Naomi:  How did you find your current job?
Monique:  Since a couple months before graduating (August 2011) I put a great deal of focus on the job hunt. I utilized my school’s employment site (iTrack), list servs and other employment websites. I was still working part time for U of M (I had to cut my hours for school, then things changed and the hours didn’t come back). After about a year I realized that I was going to have to broaden my scope. I started applying through U of M’s job website for positions not related to my degree, but requiring skills gained through my previous work experiences. I soon came to realize that even for an organization that you already worked for, networking is key and you have to know someone to put in a good word for you. I had set up automated emails that would send me jobs based on keywords. Interestingly enough, one of these emails from Career Builder had a position that I thought I was uniquely qualified for based on both of my degrees. Once you apply online, you are shown a screen with more positions *like* the one you just applied for. I found one in a good location that was for a Project Coordinator position. The write-up was extremely concise. I went ahead and sent them my resume, and got a call for an interview within a couple days. I interviewed later in the week (a Friday) and was offered the position the next Tuesday. All I can say is that everything just fell into place for this one. It doesn’t have much to do with my degree but it is a position that I am interested in, and one that I am qualified for. I don’t think I can do much better than that!

Naomi:  Favorite library you have been to?
Monique:  I would have to say U of M’s Hatcher Graduate Library because of some special areas within it. I love the austerity and beauty of the reference room. It seems like a library that you would see in the movies and certainly the perfect picture of a library in my head. Also, the special collections library within Hatcher has a special place in my heart not for its visual presentation, but for the wonderful rare collections it contains.

Naomi:  Favorite book?
Monique:  Sorry, I can break this epic fantasy series into just one. I love the whole thing: George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire (yes, Game of Thrones on HBO!).

Naomi:  Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Monique:  The technology aspect is cool, and I love that libraries provide access for those that may not have technology at home. But, that isn’t what draws me in. Based on the previous question you can tell that I like the sci fi/fantasy genre. In his Foundation Series, my favorite author of all time (Isaac Asimov) wrote about an old university library that had books that crumbled to dust. That threat of losing history and books disintegrating captured my interest and I think led me directly to my degree with a specialization in Preservation of Information, of course.

Naomi:  Any websites or feeds or blogs we should be following?
Monique:  INALJ of course! But, most of all, you should research and find those that pique your curiosity or those that you just flat out enjoy. One of my favorite feeds in the B.C. comic strip.  🙂

Naomi:  Best piece of job hunting advice?
Monique:  I know you hear it all the time, but don’t give up. The right thing is out there waiting for you. And, it may come from the most unlikely source. I ended up with two very interesting interviews from Career Builder (who would have guessed?). Ultimately, I have them to thank for my new position. Keep your search parameters broad and look at a variety of jobs that interest you. Most importantly, stay flexible. If you only have one position type that you want and you are unwilling to bend, it may take quite some time to find that perfect fit you are looking for. Instead, stay open to a position that is a pretty good fit instead of a perfect one.

Monique Lowe is a recent MSI graduate from the University of Michigan’s School of Information with a specialization in Preservation of Information. She has a completely unrelated BS in Medical Technology from Michigan State University. She has volunteered at the Bentley Historical Library digitizing archival material and at U of M’s Preservation and Conservation Department rehousing rare flat folios from the Labadie Collection. After a lengthy job hunt she is starting a new job a Project Coordinator for Unival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her previous experience as a Project Coordinator for U of M was instrumental in securing the new role.

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 20.5 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. 

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