Cross-Country Job Searching : An Interview with Derrick Jefferson

This interview is over 1 year old and may no longer be up to date or reflect the interviewee/interviewees’ positions

by Caitlin Moen, Head Editor, INALJ Louisiana

Cross-Country Job Searching : An Interview with Derrick Jefferson

Current Position: Communications Librarian at American University, Washington, D.C.
Twitter Handle: @geekandahalf

derrick.jeffersonCaitlin:  When you began job-hunting, what criteria did you have? Parts of the country, types of positions, etc.
Derrick:  Ideally I wanted to find a job where I could take advantage of my film background AND my library background, but I didn’t have conditions on where in the country.

Caitlin:  How did you narrow down the areas of the country to which you were willing to move?
Derrick: I like big cities and I was looking for somewhere with good public transportation and good culture/things to partake in.  I especially was drawn by cities where I already knew someone who lived in the area.

Caitlin:   How did you find job postings when you were looking?
Derrick: My go to lists were INALJ, HigherEdJobs, and a great resource that a lot of people don’t know about is the list at UCLA’s GSLIS program.  They have great resources and I was looking in my home state, so there was a much more comprehensive in-state list. I also looked at different state associations for their various state job lists.

Caitlin:  What major challenge did you face in job hunting cross country?caitlin3
Derrick: I thought that there would be more responses.  I applied to roughly 50 jobs, and of those 50, I had 3 interviews.  I was looking at reference and instruction positions from California to Vermont and everywhere in between.  It was discouraging to experience such a low response rate.

Caitlin:  A piece of advice for people who are currently job-hunting cross country?
Derrick: Be diligent.  A lot of the time, you can’t take it personally.  Often, it’s not just if you’re going to be right for the job, but if the job environment will be right for you.  It’s a complicated process and it just takes time.

Caitlin:  Main takeaway?
Derrick: Job hunting is rough. It’s hard. It’s a full time job. I was very frustrated and discouraged, but I ended up with the RIGHT job.  Now I’m just enjoying where I’ve landed.


Derrick is originally from San Diego, CA, and moved to the Los Angeles area, where he earned his M.F.A. in Film.  He worked for a number of years in California as a Graduate Advisor before relocating to New Orleans, LA, where he pursued and earned his M.L.I.S.  After two years at Loyola University, Derrick recently moved to Washington, D.C. to take on the position of Communications Librarian at American University.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, 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.