22 May 2012

notes from the job hunt, vol 1

I. The Numbers

I have been applying for jobs for nearly three months now. In that time, I have applied for thirty positions.

Out of thirty, I have received…

  • One Skype interview
  • One phone interview
  • One follow-up phone call
  • One job offer (my new part-time job)
  • Four rejections

The remaining 23 jobs are, supposedly, still on the table – including the two aforementioned phone calls.

II. What I am Looking For

I am still pursuing positions that will move me on my desired career trajectory; youth/teen librarian positions at major public libraries or in major urban areas. I am also applying for non-librarian positions here and there – literacy non-profits, literary publications, etc.

However, the closer September 1 draws, the more pragmatic the job hunt becomes. The reality of staying in New England – within driving distance of Mr. Teacher Fiance’s job – seems more likely. Recently, I have honed in on the Western Mass/Northern Connecticut region, and also started applying for academic advising positions in the Boston area.

III. What I’ve Learned

If anyone says “Oh, at least you got the experience!” after I get a job rejection post-interview, I want to cut them. Losing out on a job you really want feels exactly like a break up – the barrage of internal self-loathing, the random tears, the loss of hope for the future. But it passes more quickly… maybe break ups would go smoother if you knew you had to find a new man before September 1 so you wouldn’t be homeless? Anywayy… the objective “experience” of job interviews is probably valuable. However, it’s intangible – it’s not like you can put “I had 35 GREAT job interviews!” on your resume.

What is valuable, to me, is what I learn from all aspects of the application process. Assessing what jobs I’m drawn to and figuring out how better to select future positions. Looking at which resumes and cover letters are the ones that get a follow-up… and then, during that follow-up, what questions do the reviewers have – aka, what did you FORGET to put in there? This is all comforting, helpful, and make me feel like I’m moving forward at least.

IV. What I’m Doing Now

  • Re-discovering my personality

I had an interview awhile ago for a job I really would have liked. I wasn’t really confident throughout the interview because I’d prepared for something entirely different than what I encountered. I dreamed up impressive answers to generic but intense interview questions, I studied the library in question intensely, I thought big thoughts about librarianship. And I’m glad I did all this because now I have an entirely different view of where I want to go in the field and what kind of jobs can get me there… but no. These questions were hard. These questions were abstract. These questions were “Tell me about a moment when you felt XXX about yourself.”

I was interviewing after a full day’s work during a particularly hectic week. A hectic 50 hour week. It occurred to me, at this inopportune moment, that I had spent the semester focused so intently on resume-building and job hunting and working my ass off, I was too tired to be an individual. My hobbies? Listening to podcasts on the bus. My favorite part of the day? Sleeping like the dead.

  • Adjusting my job hunting strategy to a new schedule

I have more free time now to do such things as, oh, revive my personality. Yay! I also have less time where I am at jobs that chain me to a computer for extended periods of time. Oh, cooking and cleaning and showering and playing Skyrim is nice and all, but I can already feel myself checking out a bit… I need to figure out a way to stay motivated while working ONLY 30-40 hours/week.



I will probably update this later… UNLESS I just get a job in the next few weeks and my job hunt is exceedingly easy. But who am I kidding? I will surely think of something else to say before then, either way. I will probably have some kind of existential crisis and then 24 hours later get a job. That is just how I roll.

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