Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dealing with job rejection

When I was feeling a little down last week my wife sent me a few links to some sites about dealing with job rejection.

I thought this was one of the best ones.

I also took a look at some other sites and one of them mentioned that on average you should expect to get about one interview for every ten resumes you send out. If that's the case I'm right on target. I think the main thing going on right now is it's just a bad time to be trying to find a job as a librarian. It's a numbers game. There are just too many very qualified and experienced people out there looking for work right now. Gosh I hope the hiring freeze ends at CPL sometime soon...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My VisualCV is up

A friend told me about this site. I think it's a great resource for building an online resume/CV! They also have job postings that don't seem to appear in other places. Mine is still a work in progress but I think I'm off to a good start.


Please excuse me while I use this forum to rant for a bit. Sometimes I think just writing things out is good therapy. I know that potential employers may end up reading this someday but hey... I'm a human being and I have feelings. Is it OK that they know that?

so... on with the rant.

I got another rejection letter yesterday and once again I'm really upset. It was an ideal job for me. I know I was completely qualified and would have done a great job. It was a phone interview. I didn't even get to the next step of them inviting me for an in person interview. rejected again.

what is going on????

Before I went to grad school I did some career counseling and it all pointed towards me being a librarian. I got accepted into the best library school in the country. While I was in school my adviser and teachers all told me I had a bright future ahead given my previous job experience and skill set. I would be "in demand" once I graduated. I got straight A's while I was in school and was often one of the "leaders" in my classes. I felt like I was the big man on campus. While I was in school I got a part time job at a library as well as an awesome internship at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The day after I graduated Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers both announced they were in trouble and the subprime mortgage crisis was on. I'll admit however that even in those times I was cocky. I "knew" I wouldn't have any trouble finding a job. I felt like I was a golden boy in the library world. In a few years you would see me on the cover of Library Journal as one of the "Movers & Shakers".

Then the job search started in earnest. I was lucky and got a couple of interviews in the first few weeks after I graduated. One was for a job that in hindsight I still know I would have been great at. but I was rejected by both employers. This was really surprising to me to be honest. In the past I had always had great luck with job interviews. I like to think that I communicate well and have personality. Usually a good combination in an interview setting. In the past it seemed like if I got the interview I had at least a 50/50 chance of getting a job offer out of it. but I started off right out of the gate 0/2. It was the beginning of a trend.

Then things got worse. It seems like the job posting dried up. Weeks would go by with no postings for anything that I felt qualified for. Lots of library director jobs and department heads that asked for 5 years supervisory experience "in a library" and things like that. When a job would show up that I felt qualified for I would send off a resume and cover letter. I was soon shocked once again that my emails and letters would more often than not result in nothing. No interview. Often nothing at all. I was (and am still) amazed at how many institutions allow your attempts to apply for a job to go into a big black hole. From following up I found out that in many cases they would receive over a hundred resumes for the posting, but it's not that hard to at least set up a automated email reply. I think it's highly unprofessional and rude to not offer any sort of response to job applicants. I'm amazed at how many libraries do this.

I know this because in August it will be two years since I've graduated. I really should have kept better track of how many jobs I've applied for, how many responses I've gotten, how many actual rejection letters, and how many interviews I've gotten. I know it's at least 50 jobs applied for. Six interviews. The most important number is how many job offers have I received. That number is 0.

So what is going on? I think my resume needed some work for awhile but I've been consistently tweaking it and improving it. I've seen other people's resumes and I think mine is better than most.

Do my cover letters suck? Once again I've been working on that. I've had a number of people look at my cover letters and offer suggestions. It's not like I've been not following that advice.

With every rejection the whole search becomes harder and harder. It's not fun to consistently set yourself up for failure and rejection over and over again. Every rejection makes me less and less confident. Like something must be fundamentally "wrong" with me.

The rational side of me knows it's "the economy". There has been a hiring freeze at the Chicago Public Libraries for over two years now. This has had a profound effect on the "market" for librarians in the entire Chicago area. When suburban or academic libraries put up a job posting they are literally flooded with resumes. There are many many qualified applicants who have much more experience than me who have been laid off and are looking for jobs. Many of the jobs that are posted are going to be filled internally and the libraries don't even intend to interview outside applicants.

In the meantime I'm paying $265 a month for the next ten years in student loans for this library degree. I feel like I'm paying to be a member of an exclusive club but they won't give me the key to get in the door.

I still love this profession and I so want to make it part of my life and contribute to it. I still know deep inside my heart that I have so much to offer any library that hires me. I have so much enthusiasm, energy, ideas and such a great set of skills and experience.

Will someone please give me a chance? :-(