Career advice to 2020 LIS / MLIS graduates

How to conduct a pandemic job search

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career advice 2020 graduates

The Class of 2020 faces unprecedented challenges and unknowns. High school grads looking forward to their first year of university and campus life may end up listening to lectures and accessing the digital library from home. College grads looking to enter the workforce are doing so in a period of high unemployment and economic uncertainty.

For the university graduating class of 2020, we hope the following advice will help you navigate the career twists and turns ahead.

Do everything needed for an effective job search, even better

Over the years we have provided tips on everything from resumes to interviews, and we encourage you to peruse the LibGig blog for the job search topic you need help with. The advice holds true in 2020, only more so. You can’t afford to “call it in” or leave any stone unturned. Use every tool and resource available to you.

Learn all you can about potential employers

  • Don’t pursue any opportunity without learning as much as you can about the organization. Glean insights and nuggets that will show how serious you interest is and demonstrate your ability to find and utilize relevant information.
  • Research and connect with employers you’re interested in, even if they don’t have any current suitable openings. Follow their social media and make relevant connections on LinkedIn and you’ll be better situated if a job does become available.

Prepare to network via phone, platforms like Zoom, and social media

  • Create talking points in advance and practice online conversational / interview skills.
  • Google yourself and review the first 2-3 pages of results with a critical and discerning eye. Clean up your social media for anything that hints at a lack of judgment. Create a solid LinkedIn profile and explore groups and possible new contacts.
  • Demonstrate your willingness and discipline to work remotely, as that could be a top requirement for all job openings in 2020.
prepare to network

Create a strong resume you can tweak for specific requirements

  • Your background and past experiences are what they are, but capabilities can be emphasized or fine-tuned for closer matches and to stand out for specific opportunities.
  • Be clear and detailed, as digital resumes and job applications are screened for keyword matches. “Data analytics” is good; identifying the technologies you know, like Google Analytics, is better.

Monitor the job boards focused on library and information management jobs

  • LibGig
  • ALA
  • SLA
  • No matter where you find opportunities, be open to positions that are not your ideal scenario. More than ever it will be important to get your foot in the library door and build your working experience. View any relevant job as a stepping stone.

Practice interviewing online

  • Find a person you trust and respect to help you practice your interview skills online.
  • Become familiar with and comfortable using the popular web conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Meet and Skype.
  • Even though you may be interviewing from home, put forth a polished appearance— combed hair, makeup if you wear it, and appropriate attire, at least from the waist up.
  • Consider what the interviewer will see in the backdrop of your webcam and remove or avoid visuals that could be distracting. You want the focus on you.

Finally, we found this article on Business Insider from a career coach and author who got her first job after the 2008 recession, another difficult time to enter the job market. While not specific to librarianship, her advice is helpful to all people entering the job market.

One thing is certain: the Class of 2020 will go down in history. In 10-20 years, you will have a great story to share. In the meantime, we encourage you to get creative and remain hopeful and resilient.

We wish you all the best as you launch your career.

Brad Rogers

Brad Rogers

Brad Rogers is the Director of Recruiting and is responsible for running LibGig operations and web services and managing recruitment for LibGig and all LAC Group’s divisions.
Brad Rogers
Brad Rogers

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