My Recipe to How I Got My First Break

Hello Everyone,

My last blog post can be equated to a fine dish full of eagerness, some worry, a little bit of panic and a sprinkle of excitement, but this month brings a similar dish substituting the panic for an entire side of excitement! I am proud to announce that I landed a job as a full-time Library Assistant for Career Point College in Austin (and with benefits too)!

Here’s my personal recipe to getting my first break in the academic librarianship realm:

Ingredients (all listed in order performed):

  • 5+ online job search websites although the winning website was strangely Indeed.com
  • 7-10 drafts of my cover letter and resume
  • A handful of fear of never getting a job
  • 3 methods to sneak in your TWU letter of intent with your application
  • Some confidence for submitting your 7-10 resumes
  • Many rejections from other libraries who encounter about 200 applicants per library assistant position.
  • A feeling of sorrow and self-doubt
  • An Indeed.com notification alerting you that CPC viewed your application
  • A “put yourself out there already” attitude
  • Your elevator speech condensed into 2-3 sentences.
  • 3 copies of your well edited cover letter, resume, and letter of intent
  • Confidence, pizzazz, and positivity
  • Celebratory libations

Directions:

  1. Use the online job websites, 7-10 drafts of cover letter, resume, to apply to many library assistant jobs with Austin, Cedar Park, universities, colleges, and institutes. Basically anything with a library in it.
  2. Run that autopsy on your cover letter for every job submitted and beat it into shape.
  3. Submit and continue to submit applications.
  4. After selecting submit, sift that fear until it’s all gone.
  5. Become smarter about your applications and use those 3 methods to sneak in your letter of intent to new jobs.
  6. Apply to more jobs in the prospective fields, including a part-time, no benefits position as a library assistant for CPC.
  7. Gather your rejections, feeling of sorrow, and self-doubt let it sit for a day.
  8. Add in your “put yourself out there already attitude” and start following up with those you haven’t heard back from. Be sure to prep a voicemail you can leave for the go-to person.
  9. Call the CPC main campus and ask to speak with HR.
  10. Speak with HR recruiter via phone and give your elevator speech along with resume, cover letter, and letter of intent.
  11. Follow up after a weekend and two days for an interview. Speak with Austin campus recruiter and land the interview.
  12. Gather your portfolio and review your experience and other qualifications.
  13. Bring that confidence, pizzazz, and positive attitude and go into the interview. Make sure to be yourself and share your passion with your interviewers.
  14. After getting offered not only the library assistant job, but a full-time position with benefits have those celebratory libations!

As you can see it took a lot of rejection and self-doubt before I realized it’s important to add your own flavor to the mix. For me, I felt like adding my letter of intent was a great way to further show my passion for librarianship and share my story of what the library means to me. Overall, I believe taking the time to follow up and then give your elevator speech whether via their voicemail or phone it truly does set yourself apart from typical applicants.

Well party people, that sums up my recipe to how I got my first break. What about you more experienced librarians out there? How did you get your first break?

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