Job search musings (and advice)
December 2, 2011
Although I have yet to be successful in my job search, I decided in this post to share a few tips that others in the same situation may find helpful in keeping you sane during the long period between employers. There are zillions of places to get advice right now; I am going to add in my two cents (for what it is worth, although I may need that two cents soon!)
Here are two sites where I found some realistic advice. Each has elements that I incorporated into my own “stop the insanity” plan:
CNN: 11 Job Search Tips for 2011
Meredith Farkas: The Job Search: What I Learned (library focused)
1. Set aside a time each day to “work”. On most days, I get up around 5:30/6:00 a.m., have coffee, do the crossword, get my son ready for school, and have a plan for the day. This plan always includes at least 3-5 hours of job hunting/following up/professional reading (blogs, news, library issues). Although a more relaxed approach than what I had when I was working, I still try to accomplish similar things I did when employed. I have goals for each day/week, and try to accomplish them.
2. Sign up for RSS or email alerts to get information pushed to you. This goes along with #1. I get alerts to library positions, and belong to some LinkedIn and ALA groups on job hunting. I use this as a tool so I don’t have to go out and search the sites every time, plus I can get alerts any time, day or night. RSS is a great way to stay organized and selective, and avoid the information glut.
3. Keep both mind AND body active. This goes with #1 and to #4 as well. This has been indispensable for me. Again, I set goals for myself. For example, I am working on a running program and run 2-3 times per week, around 2.5 miles, and do yoga once per week. I also try to read a book or report related to library issues about once per month. However, I also leave myself time to enjoy activities that I had trouble fitting into my routine when I was working, such as leisure reading, or baking. Baking or creating something challenging and new actually makes you feel a sense of accomplishment, and it helps me to keep my mind sharp and my spirits up!
4. Learn new stuff. This summer, I went through the 23 Things for Professional Development online course. This introduced me to lots of new technologies, and invigorated me by tapping into my creativity, prompting me to imagine how I would use the tools in a library setting. I have also attended other free webinars on job search or on other library tools. Each learning experience has helped keep me feel “in the loop” and excited about moving forward.
5. Continue to have hope. This is the hardest sometimes, but is probably the most important. Here is how Meredith said it:
Don’t give up hope. I had moments where I thought about what I would do for a living if I couldn’t get a job in a library. But honestly, I was stumped, because this is the only thing I can imagine myself doing. If you have a passion for librarianship, don’t give up hope. Stay passionate, stay positive (my emphasis), and one day there will be a search committee that notices your passion and appreciates what you have to offer their organization.
Remember that everyone has strengths to bring to their chosen professions; you do too. Keep capitalizing on your strengths and challenging yourself in many ways. Continual growth and learning will only provide you with that extra edge that may set you above the crowd once you get that interview.