About two weeks ago, I got notification of the *perfect* job. It was a full-time information-literacy librarian position at a small, private college close to home. In my mind, I fit all of the qualifications. The pay wasn’t great, but as someone without much library experience, I thought it would be the best opportunity to get my foot in the door. As soon as I saw the posting, I got to work on updating my resume and writing a cover letter. I applied and heard back very quickly. I was initiated into the first round of the interview process and you would have thought I was a 13-year-old with Bieber fever, I was that excited.

The first step was to write a proposal about how I would spearhead an initiative to integrate information literacy across all levels of the curriculum. I was super-confident. I wrote up my proposal and had it proof-read by my peers, my boss, by anyone who would read it. They all gave me great tips and told me it was excellent. I sent it along and received another quick response…

“Good morning Ms. Delnero,

After careful consideration by the application review committee I am sorry to say your proposal was not selected for further review.”

I’m not going to lie, I did cry. I was at work which made it even worse because I had to cry in the bathroom where no one would hear/see me. I had been so absolutely sure that I would at least make it to the second step of the interview process. I thought I was qualified, my resume is great, I have experience with information literacy, I could go on and on about how perfect that job was for me. But the harsh reality is that it wasn’t perfect for me. Someone who was more qualified got the position and it was their perfect job, not mine. It hurts, but it’s the truth.

As graduate students, we all have at least one common goal: to get a job. Unfortunately, we have to accept that the job market really isn’t that great. We are also competing with each other for the limited positions available and so we all have rejection ahead of us. I’m not trying to be negative, just realistic. It’s better to be prepared for the rejection and to toughen up and keep applying.

That night after a lot of Chinese food and a glass (…or two) of wine, I was able to cheer up and realize that my perfect job does exist. There will eventually be a position that I am qualified for and excited about that I will be selected for. And I’m probably not the only one trudging through rejection letters to get there.


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