Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Life after GSLIS, aka “Finding a Job”

Hi everyone! Remember me? Your long-lost GSLIS blogger from last year?  And you thought you were rid of me (ha!)
I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite awhile, but in the midst of finishing my thesis for the history side of my archives/history dual degree, finding a job, getting a job, and moving for that job, it just hasn’t happened until now.  And I think it’s about something pretty important–what happens after you finish your degree from Simmons GSLIS?
For me, finding a job was a lot easier than I expected it to be.  We all know that the economy is not the greatest right now, and things like libraries, archives, and museums have been especially hard hit.  I found that the key to finding a job was research, research, research.  I spent about an hour every day just looking for new job postings.
My favorite places to look:
GSLIS Jobs & Opportunities – A job listing site run by Simmons GSLIS.  This one has a lot of preprofessional and volunteer jobs, as well.
New England Jobline – Run by Simmons GSLIS, this site collects library and archives jobs from around New England
ALA Job List – The American Library Association’s job site. – The official website for all government jobs. If you want to work at the Library of Congress, Smithsonian, a presidential library, a national park (most of them have archives!), or as a librarian on a military base, this is the place to look.  If you go to “Advanced Search,” you can search by location or government agency; or (secret tip!) type “14” in the “Series Number Search” box, and get all of the library and archives jobs in one place.  A great thing about USAjobs is that you copy and paste your resume once, and can then use it to apply for multiple jobs—makes it easy to apply for ones you might otherwise pass up!
CT Library Jobs – I’m originally from CT, so I already knew about this site.  A lot of other states have similar sites run by their state library associations, so check out ones where you want to live.
SLA Career Center – Job postings for positions in special libraries.  If you are interested in a certain area of librarianship, check if there is an organization for it–they probably have a job site!
Other library school’s websites – Okay, don’t tell anyone at Simmons, but I also checked the job sites provided by other schools.  I did this because Simmons’s site tends to focus on jobs in New England, while I was willing to move anywhere.  I found that Indiana University and University of Texas had particularly good sites. – If you want to work at a college or university, this is the place to check.  You can set email alerts for new postings, filtered by keyword, job title, and location.  This is where I found my job! – I saw jobs posted here that I never saw anywhere else, especially in corporate libraries and special collections.  Plus, you can set email alerts, so you don’t even have to visit often.
And my favorite resources for archives jobs:
That Elusive Archives Job – A must read for any potential archivist. Goes over every detail of the job search, from resume to interview outfits.
ArchivesGig – Collects archives jobs from around the various sites where they are posted.  A great place to start, but not all inclusive, so keep looking other places!
New England Archivists job page – For local archives jobs.
Society of American Archivists job page –  Archivist positions nationwide
SAA’s “Archives and Archivists” Listserv – If you haven’t already subscribed to this, you should.  Not only can participate in discussions about our field, but a lot of jobs are posted here that you won’t see anywhere else!
My advice:
– Use RSS feeds to track all of these sites. I use Google Reader, and it makes it a lot easier to just have one site I have to log onto, instead of 20
– If you have a dream job, check their site, and often!  I visited my dream repository’s job site a couple times a week.  They didn’t have any openings while I was looking, but I would have killed myself if something opened up and I missed it.
– I kept a spreadsheet of which jobs I wanted to apply to, with basic info (contact, deadline, salary, location), where I also tracked when I applied, when I got rejected, when I interviewed, and when I got an offer
– Sometimes, job searches take awhile on the institution’s end.  If you don’t hear from someone, don’t give up hope.  The job I ended up accepting was one I applied for in September, interviewed in November, accepted in December, and am starting February 1.  I am still getting rejection emails and interview requests now, when I haven’t submitted any applications in almost two months!
– Start your search early.  I began applying in July (I finished my GSLIS classes during summer session, but still had my history thesis in the fall semester).  L0oking back, my early applications were not as well constructed as my later ones–you are constantly refining your resume and cover letter.  My first interview? A total disaster.  If I could do it again, I probably would have started in May.
– Pay attention to the requirements (you don’t want to waste your time applying for something you have no chance at), but not too much attention.  The job I ended up with wanted someone with 2-3 years professional experience, which–since I’m coming right out of school–I definitely don’t have.  However, my history coursework and thesis topic were directly in line with the collection focus for the position, which in their view outweighed my inexperience.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained–it generally doesn’t cost anything to apply for jobs
– And finally, don’t give up! It definitely gets discouraging sometimes. I had one day when I got 3 rejections, all for jobs I really wanted.  It is so hard not to get down on yourself.  But in the end, there is a perfect position out there for you somewhere, you just have to find it, and convince them that you are the only choice.  Good luck!