Much of this is territory I’ve covered already, but it can never be repeated too many times. Words of wisdom from Tiffini Travis:
Advice to current graduate students:
- Do a practical internship where you actually perform the duties of a librarian. Lack of reference experience is usually the number one reason for not making the first round of cuts in the job application process. At academic libraries, taking an information literacy course or having teaching experience is definitely a must.
- Take as many discipline-specific reference courses as possible. Taking the business reference course at my program was the reason I was hired for two part-time positions when I first graduated.
- Take the time to learn theory and stay abreast of new trends in the profession. Not being able to answer interview questions in a deep and meaningful way can kill your chances of being hired.
- Get a mentor who is already in the profession. This can help with navigating the hiring process and finding out what common issues occur in the daily functioning of a library.
As much as I agree with this advice, I’d like to point out that students who are graduating soon and haven’t managed to do all of these things shouldn’t panic. Personally, I never took a business information class and I was still hired at a business library. I spoke to a student recently who said that librarians had told her she should be presenting at conferences and working multiple library-related part-time jobs if she wants to have any chance at getting hired after graduation. These are all great things to do, but don’t drive yourself nuts trying to accomplish them all! Volunteering at a conference might be more realistic than presenting, and you’ll still learn a lot and have something to put on your CV. Being a student should be fun, at least some of the time.