But I Can’t Move For A Job!

by Elinor Crosby, former Head Editor, INALJ Nova Scotia and PEI
previously published 12/9/13

But I Can’t Move For A Job!

elinorcrosby01What happens if you graduate from your Masters or Technician program and intend to stay in the city or town you went to school in? For some of us that is the only financially feasible possibility; we may have a family that can’t be uprooted, too much debt and not enough savings to handle a move, or we may already have a job or jobs to supports us in our search for a library job. What then?

You have to get in the system and work it, but the truth is, getting a job in your local library system can sometimes take a while, especially if there is a local school or schools that offer library-related programs. For instance, my small city has both a Masters of Library and Information Studies and a Library Technicians program, both of which graduate a large number of people every spring. If even half of each of the graduating classes intends to stay in the same city, or the same province, it creates a glut of over-qualified people applying for library clerk and library assistant positions.

Just about the only way to get in to my local system is to apply to clerk positions even though you’re over-qualified for them. Over one hundred applications come in for most clerk positions, and about 90% of them applicants are eliminated for not addressing the job requirements in their cover letters. The people hiring clerks don’t care about your thesis or your course work; they care about your customer-service experience. They may keep your subject-specialization in mind for later cross-training, but what they need to hire right away is someone who can follow the instructions on the application and who will give excellent customer-service to patrons while they go about their duties.

The other problem with not being able to move for a job, is that most of the paraprofessional positions that open up tend to be part-time, some of them to the extreme. My first library job was as a Sunday Supervisor, and I only had seven scheduled hours a week; the library job seeker needs to see this as an opportunity, though!  If you live in the city in which you went to school, chances are you already have a job or jobs to sustain you. Seven hours a week is not a lot to add to your work schedule for the duration of a probationary period. If you’re only working part-time, it’s also easy to pick up extra hours. I usually managed between 5-10 extra hours a week, and when summer vacation hit, I was working almost full-time!

Not being able to move for a job can be a hindrance to your job search, but if you have established roots in a community you can use that to your advantage.

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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