What to do while you’re waiting – Library Assistant edition

by Mary-Michelle Moore, Senior Editor, INALJ California, DC, and Illinois

What to do while you’re waiting – Library Assistant edition

MaryMichelleMooreCongratulations! You’ve done it – you sent off a beautifully researched, proof-read, edited and complete application packet to your latest dream job listing. Now what? Well if you’re like me and many of my colleagues, you still have a library job to go to but you still need some more polish and luck before making that jump to your first librarian position.

Here’s a list of things you can do while you wait to hear back from that latest application:

1. Start looking for holes in your skill set. Take another look at your resume, then take a look at some of the job descriptions that you’d love to apply for but didn’t. Now is the time to start looking for ways to get experience in areas where you are weakest. This may mean asking to volunteer or intern with another department if your library allows it, or see if you can volunteer at another library on the weekends. Depending on what you are missing, there may be things you can do that will help your library while you get much needed experience. Do you lack instruction experience? See if your library would welcome a short workshop on a research assistance tool like Zotero or EndNote. Do you need supervisory experience? Try to find a volunteer organization where you can training or supervise other assistants. Need to work on your reference interview skills? Ask if you can be trained on the desk and offer to work the hard to fill hours or when someone is out sick. Not only will this result in your having a stronger resume, but if your library hires internally, it will help make your reputation as a team player who is willing to help out.

2. Write something. Write about your experiences, it can be on your own blog, for someone else, or look at the Library Writer’s Blog for formal calls for proposals and article submissions. Writing about your experiences will help other job hunters who are looking for inspiration or reassurance that they are not alone. Depending on the type of publication, you may have something that can be added on your resume or can help build your reputation in the wider library community. Library land values sharing what we know. Sharing your story helps to add to the larger body of knowledge, and sharing what you know as a job seeker helps to further refine what it means to be a librarian.

3. Take a MOOC, online class or night class. If you library offers staff professional development money, make sure you use it. Or, if funds are tight try a MOOC. Learning something new is usually interesting and it can either be something you enjoy or something that will help your library career. Coursera offered a MOOC on copyright for librarians and educators this past June and CSU San Jose offers one on the hyperlinked library. Either of these would be directly applicable to your job hunt and can be mentioned in an interview as professional development. Hesitant to put this on your resume? You can still write up what you learned and mention it on social media, a blog, or just list what you’ve worked on in your LinkedIn profile.

4. Fill out another application, or two, or three… I’m particularly guilty of this, I’ll find a job I want badly, fill out an application and then won’t immediately fill out another one because the one I just finished is the ideal job for me and I’m perfectly qualified. Unfortunately, there have been other people who were also perfectly qualified and the hiring committee thought they were the better candidate. The best way to go seems to be: fill out as many applications as possible and you’ll hear back from some of them. Don’t lose sight of your dream job but, be aware that there are many very nice jobs out there where you can be happy and productive.

5. RELAX! Or try to relax, filling out an application is work and waiting for results can be nerve wracking. Give yourself permission to take a break. We all need to recharge and if all goes welland you get the job you may not have time again for a little while. If you get the new job you may be finishing up projects at work, making arrangements to move to the new job or just trying to make connections with new colleagues.

What do you do in between waiting for hiring managers to get back to you on the job hunt? Leave your comments below!