Does age affect your brand?

June 30, 2011

There has been an interesting discussion on LIS on LinkedIn regarding a job posting that specified an “energetic” librarian.  Some people took this to mean that those of us over 40 need not apply, although many people just read it to mean “enthusiastic and up for new things”.  I tended to be in the latter camp, feeling that the level of energy you have for your work is twofold: first, and most importantly, your own passion for the field, libraries, and information.  Second, it is the atmosphere of your office environment that will prove whether you can remain energetic or enthusiastic, or if you get burned out and have to move on.  In my experience, you often feel up against a wall when you have ideas or want to try new things, but are not supported by other co-workers, or if your office does not foster innovation.

As to the age/experience issue, I am somewhat wondering if this may be an issue in the current economic climate.  I have applied for many positions for which I know I am well qualified, but have had very little response back. I am wondering if my resume and dates may cause my candidacy to be automatically rejected because of the experience and the fact that there is a large influx of newly minted librarians also job searching (who can maybe be hired cheaper or are perceived to be more savvy with the changes that have come about in the profession in the past 15 years.)

So, is my “brand” as perceived by my resume saying “old librarian?”  I don’t think so, but it will be interesting to see how things go over the next few weeks.  I would like my brand to say “diverse experience in many libraries, with several years in each one” and also “enthusiastic, energetic, and flexible”.

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2 Responses to “Does age affect your brand?”

  1. It’s funny to read your post about worrying about competition with newly minted librarians. As an aforementioned newly minted librarian I am worrying about competing with experienced librarians! It is a bit comforting to know that the job market is tough for everyone right now.

    I think the most important thing is to emphasize how your status as a new/old librarian is beneficial to a potential employer. As newbies we are current on trends and emerging technologies, but as you said, your diverse experience in libraries is a huge asset as well.

    • infopromom said

      Hi Carrie! That is funny–and good to know for me, too! I am totally supportive of new librarians too–and I think that fresh perspectives are invaluable in the field, which are what the newer librarians sometimes bring to the table. However, even as an “old” librarian, I am pretty up on the new technologies, too, as you have to be in a good library situation now. There’s room for both of us, for sure! I don’t think my experience necessarily trumps an entry level librarian, but I am just hoping that those reading our resumes are looking at all the qualifications and not dismissing out of hand one or the other based upon experience or lack thereof. Best of luck to you in your search!

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