“You’re really well prepared. Most resumes for new MLIS grads need padding – yours is full of really great stuff.”
That was really nice to hear during the ALA resume review service two weeks ago. I had just gotten a callback for a second interview, and by the end of the conference had scheduled an interview at another location. One month before graduation, and everything seemed to be going really well.
This week I got my first “real” rejection letter. I’ve gotten them before, of course. I spent a few years out of college working, and it’s virtually impossible to find someone who hasn’t gotten a rejection letter or two in their careers, especially in this economy. It was a bit like the thin envelope/fat envelope feeling from college acceptance: as soon as I got an envelope from them, I knew it didn’t contain a job offer. I was a little more crushed than I should have been.
I’m in a situation that many, if not most, of my fellow ML(I)S grads are in. We’re finished with the degree, our leases are up, and we have nowhere to go. Some have significant others that tie them in place, creating an artificial abundance of librarians-for-hire, driving down the likelihood of getting to stay in place. Others of us have family we can fall back on, albeit reluctantly, to house us while we continue our job search. The consideration that I might be part of that group brings on eerie-sounding choruses of articles heralding my generation as the lazy generation that lives at home. We have masters degrees, and I don’t think there’s many of us that relish the thought of being under Mom and Dad’s roof.
So we look elsewhere. We apply for administrative jobs, some of us in cities where supply and demand mean that an administrative assistant makes more than a public librarian. Part time clerking positions, maybe, if we’re lucky enough to get our foot in the door in libraries. We keep looking, and we try to keep our resumes from looking padded. Maybe, we think, if they were padded with other things, they would look better.
Some of the most intelligent people in my program, the one’s with the most attractive resumes, are taking part time positions. Maybe they aim too high in their applications – perhaps a more conservative judgement of our potential, like a backup school, would serve us well. Maybe we’ve been listening to the wrong people, and should have chosen more realistic critiques to listen to. Maybe we interview badly.
We’re followed by a million maybes. What ifs. I should haves. We apply and have nightmares of a typo in our cover letter. We were told hard work and experience would be our in, but it seems like the Gates of Moria and we don’t speak enough Elvish to know the password (there was bound to be a geeky reference to Tolkien somewhere in this post).
Graduation is a time of anxiety. Of loss and new beginnings. We’re all ready to be done. But we’re not all sure what we’re starting.