The process of applying for public library jobs can be super daunting, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming. There are some simple things that you can do to lessen the anxieties and fears that come with preparing your cover letters, your resume, and preparing for job interviews.
I find it extremely helpful to reach out to my other library friends for advice, whether they are already working as librarians, or are in the same boat as me — newly graduated, looking for a job. One of my friends just passed along a library career counselor’s information to me because she found the counselor to be super helpful. I plan on getting in touch with said counselor to discuss sample interview questions, as well as with help on my cover letters.
I was lucky enough to participate in a practicum while I was in my program at GSLIS (Graduate School of Library and Information Science) and developed positive relationships with the librarians at the library. I know that I can reach out to them anytime if I want practice with interviews, as well as discussing my strengths and weaknesses. I know it’s not always easy to find places to intern but volunteering can be just as helpful! I was given a page (shelver) position at a library that I was a “super volunteer” at because, you guessed it, I made sure to be completely indispensable to them.
The best thing that you can do during this time is to reach out to others and develop or continue to develop networking relationships. But you also have to take action. Worried you don’t have enough experience? Find a place to volunteer. Worried you don’t remember all the things you learned in your program? Make organized lists of your classes and rehash some of the biggest projects you worked on. Having a set list that you can easily refer to makes the entire interview preparation process much less overwhelming.
As far as my own interview experience so far, I think showing enthusiasm and a willingness to learn, as well as having a love for helping others is all you really need at the end of the day. So staying positive and working on ways to maintain an enthusiastic state of mind are super important because the people that are interviewing you will be looking for someone that they would want to work around regularly, and a negative attitude will get you nowhere.