Slaying the Lack(-of-relevant-experience) Ness Monster
posted February 27, 2012 12:20 PM by Sarah Barton
Soon after graduating college, I was fortunately offered a job at a small publishing company. Less than four months later, I was unfortunately laid off, thus prompting a five-month bout with unemployment during which I glumly spent my weeks applying to dozens of jobs while trying to rid my brain of the Avenue Q classic "What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?" Finally, as a last resort, I valeted cars for a month before a college friend got me a job doing administrative work at a local hospital. This is not meant to be a "woe is me" tale; rather, an indicator of how difficult it can be to get a job (especially in a tough economy) without relevant experience.
Case in point: My work experience between the ages of 16 and 21 involved the following: preparing vegetables for a woman named Cricket to put in her homemade sushi and spring rolls, manning the register at a grocery store, and driving around town buying items to put on a boat for a non-profit retreat/conference center located on an island six miles off the coast of New Hampshire. While those jobs generated some good stories, they have zero relevance to any full-time profession.
Now that I am at GSLIS, that same Lack(-of-relevant-experience) Ness Monster is starting to rear its ugly head. I have chopped and bagged more cabbage than I'd like to admit and loaded 80 pounds of fish in leaking styrofoam containers onto a boat, but I have never worked in a library. Ergo, I am seeking library experience. But, as I have learned, getting a job often requires more than just acquiring a degree. (See: paragraph one.)
Over the past few weeks, I met separately with my advisor and another professor, both of whom gave me suggestions about types of library jobs to consider and where to look. I landed one interview (which resulted in subsequent rejection, but the interview offer was encouraging) and am hopefully on the verge of another. Adding "Simmons GSLIS" to my résumé has helped, and adding some real-life library experience will give me an added boost. Washing carrots, parking cars, and scheduling appointments have proven more character- than résumé-building, and I am ok with that. But now that I am specializing in libraries and information, I want to combine the immortal powers of classroom learning and actual library experience so I can slay that cursed Lack Ness Monster once and for all.