So, You Want To Be A Librarian/Archivist: Job Hunt Part III: 75 and counting

Hire me./QR code shirt I made for ALA’s annual conference this year. Yes, the QR code DOES work.
Since I’ve got a number of entries in draft format that are more or less about the same topic (various statuses/commentary of The Great Job Hunt, 2010 ™), I thought it would be easier to write one entry in bullet form then pontificate endlessly on. This is how I roll.

  • As I mentioned before, my “So, You Want To Be A Librarian/Archivist?” series is fairly popular. To make it easier to keep track of posts that fall under that heading, there is now a tab at the top of the header bar, SYWTBAL?, that will take you directly to a page with posts in that category that is automatically updated. For everything else relating to the library and archives world, there is a second category, Library*.*, that includes not only all posts on SYWTBAL? but everything else written on the topic.
  • I’ve been asked by a couple of people to share my spreadsheet for The Great Job Hunt, 2010™. Here it is. [JobTracker.xls] Most of the fields are obvious, however, here are the ones that may need a bit of explaining:
    • Job Ad: Location of where I found the job (LibGig, JobList, whatever). 80%+ of places require this information for the web based applications. Also handy to have when writing letters of interest.
    • End Date: Last day to apply for the position. If no date listed, I put in “Until Filled.”
    • Resume Type: How did I apply for the position? Via email/fax/snail or web? If by web, I also include confirmation number. Not all places email receipt that application was received.
  • This next serves more as a PSA: DO NOT EVER APPLY TO A JOB VIA JOBFOX.COM. In an effort to expand my job search, I started using general job search engines to look for jobs outside of the dozen or so specialized websites and mailing lists that I currently pillage. A job for a part-time reference librarian at a small state school on the East Coast popped up via one of those sites and when I clicked to apply, it took me to the Job Fox website. In another tab, I went to the school itself looking for information on the job and even an HR department and found nothing. This is not, necessarily, unusual: A lot of places outsource their application process via a 3rd party software site or post jobs ONLY on HigerEd or other professional websites, not necessarily on their website. In short: I thought nothing was terribly unusual about the job application procedure. I created an account and jumped through their hoops. Upon account completion and notification that my application had been sent to the school, that’s when the funny began:
    • Based upon my answers to their fairly lengthy “questionnaire,” Job Fox claimed to “match me” with other jobs based on my resume and near my zip code. All I received were sales and retail jobs, many from the same hiring company. The interesting part was that there was only 1 job in my last 10 years of work history that had anything remotely to do with retail and that was at $corporate_bookstore. No information professional, librarian, archivist or some mix were even in the listings.
    • Several days after I opened my account, I received an email from one of their “Resume Experts” that gave me a detailed laundry list of why my resume suckss. In fact, it was a word for word analysis IDENTICAL to this one. Swap out “Laura” for “Lisa” and “Mechanical Engineer” for “Librarian” and it was word perfect. As you can see at the bottom, after bashing you in and attempting to make you feel like a worthless human being, Job Fox will, for the low low price of $399 USD, make your resume stand out and shine! Laura, from Word Cynic, wrote a fanfuckingtastic response to her resume wrangler.
    • Having already had my resume poked at vigorously by professional editors and librarians and archivists in a variety of different fields AND based upon the fact that I’ve gotten more interviews then others I know who just got out of school, I KNOW my resume is da bomb shiz. Since I was getting that funny feeling when their bullshit emails started coming through, I started doing research on Job Fox and the results were highly interesting. It turns out Job Fox supposedly acts as an aggregator from other job sites, attempting to make it a one stop shop for job applications. Sounds good in theory, but in reality – it IS a scam. I read, horrified, of what people were saying about their awful experiences with Job Fox and their promises of getting you the job were falling really short and to the point that people were demanding their money back and in some cases, threatening legal action.
    • Further research also indicated that Job Fox is not current enough in that while it supposedly aggregates other job sites, it is NOT removing jobs that are long filled or past their application deadline. Many of the comments I read from other job hunters also discussed that a good portion of the companies and institutions do NOT accept resumes/CVs via job aggregation sites like Job Fox as they treat those application as recruiter applications. Additionally, it was also commented that Job Fox was asked by companies and institutions to remove job listings from their site since they do not accept 3rd party applications and it apparently took legal threats to get it done.
    • Several other jobs I found via one of the aggregate sites also took me to Job Fox. I went directly to the institution and applied through the institution itself. It is also interesting to note that each one of those institutions have wording that specifically states that they do NOT accept recruiter or 3rd party submission/application sites.
    • Moral of the story: If you find an interesting job and the link for the application is via Job Fox, check the institution directly and apply through it. You’ll have a much better chance of your resume going to the right people instead into the bit bin.
  • As of today, I’ve applied for 75 jobs, 50 of which since June 14. There are some days I don’t know why I’m awfully proud of that number or if I want to weep. If I hear one more person tell me how lucky I am that I’m at least getting interviews, I want to punch them in the throat. When I also hear that the average time from ending of school to getting a job is about six months and I’m three months in and GEE, look at how great you’re doing! I want to punch them in the throat. The reality is that despite interviewing numerous times for numerous positions, I’m still passed over. I am three months out of school and still jobless. For positions where I’ve had only a single interview and was rejected, I’ve done postmortems on those interviews in an attempt to figure out WHY I’m not getting additional interviews. For positions where I interviewed multiple times and got rejected, when asked what I could do to better improve myself in the market, all I got was crickets. I’ve revised answers, created interview talking points and practiced speaking. I’ve networked like crazy.  I made god dammed shirts that I wore through ALA10 to get people to notice me. I’ve made sure tattoos and piercings are neatly packed away for face to face interviews. I’ve cut back on saying the word “fuck,” talking about topics that would make a sailor blush on Twitter and any place where my actions are publicly online. None of those things have helped. I have a plan in motion (with Justin’s permission) that begins when I hit the magical number of 100. Some of you are aware of this plan, but I’m keeping it on the down low until 100 applications have been reached.
  • The great “baby boomer librarian myth” told to newbie librarians upon entering library school: That “baby boomers are finally retiring, thus the library market is wide open” is FINALLY happening. This is evident when I was at ALA10 and majority of the recruiters were looking for directors/heads NOT first years out, that looking through ALA JobList and LibGig also shows the same trend that majority of the jobs opening up and posting are also for Librarian III/Director/Head. This should all make me swoon with glee, but it doesn’t. An informal poll on the twitters asking people to PLEASE APPLY FOR PROMOTIONS to open up their positions for first years to get into was met with incredulousness. The responses as to why people were staying put were interesting: Many had the experience but no management responsibility to qualify for some of the positions, others didn’t want the responsibility/stress and lastly, there were those that loved their job security. So yes, jobs ARE opening up for librarians but only those with experience, thus there is a large gap of open jobs for librarians/information professionals with tons of experience, no one to fill them and loads of first years with very little experience and no where to go meaning that the work force is still remaining stagnant. Doesn’t this just seem FUCKED to you? Selfish gits.
  • To add even more salt to the wound, I was reading an article in the NY Times recently that the recession? Not really over. Unemployment is staying put and will more than likely rise before falling and eventually leveling out. In a similar NY Times article that I read, but cannot find online, the prediction was that it would be 2013 before the unemployment will be back to a reasonable levels of 6-7%. The NY Times is not the only place writing about this – Slate wrote a piece detailing why people are not taking crappy, low paying jobs to fill in their gap. It’s not me, then, it’s you. And even knowing that it really is not me, does not erase the fact that this is the first time in my working life (since age 14), I have not been in school or without a job. That the frustration of the lack of landing a job and being rejected over and over again is like living through the worst possible break-up, magnified a thousand times. Repeatedly.
  • To say I’m bitter is putting it mildly.