The Tale of a Reformed Networker
posted August 21, 2012 2:37 PM by Sarah Barton
As I mentioned in my last post, this semester brings me the joys of a part-time job and an internship. After months of what amounted to futile job searching, I eventually managed to land not one, but two library-related opportunities. Based on this recent experience, I have come to terms with the fact that networking can go a long way.
For years I assumed that my unique (read: incongruous) résumé and undeniable charm (read: propensity for awkwardness) would force the job market to bow down to me in reverence. Incorrect. Rather, I have found that just about every job I have ever held was because of an acquaintance who already had a foot in the door. So finally, after months of wondering why I wasn’t hearing back from library job postings to which I had responded, I set my pride aside and resorted to some good old fashioned networking.
In the midst of volunteering at the Somerville Public Library, I applied for a few part-time vacancies and was offered one which starts next week. I loved the Corporate Libraries course that I took in the spring, so I contacted the professor to see if I could test the waters in a special library, and he helped me obtain an internship (which is technically an independent study, so I will receive GSLIS credit) at a law library. Instead of scouring library job websites and sending what often amounts to an anonymous résumé and cover letter, I reached out to people whom I already knew, which in these instances was quite effective.
I did several things in order to get the aforementioned opportunities, and the order of operations went something like this: 1. Get over myself and accept the fact that asking for help is ok, 2. Figure out what I am interested in doing, 3. Make connections in those areas of interest, 4. Ask said connections what opportunities are out there, 5. Pounce on said opportunities.
A fantasy of mine is to have jobs fall into my lap. I now recognize that that fantasy can become a reality if I depend more on my ability to network and less on my résumé. I used to think of networking as an annoying way to suck up and make phony connections; now I am starting to realize that it is the real deal.