Careers in Federal Libraries

All about Federal careers

Leave No Rock Unturned in Your Job Search

Are you a new library student with no prior library experience looking to build your resume (like me)? Or you are finished with school and looking to launch your career? If you answered yes to either of these, then you probably spend a decent portion of your time each week searching for a job or internship.

If you aren’t having the best luck landing the ideal position, you just might find a gem hiding in a place you never thought to look. It’s easy to get stuck looking on the same websites. Though you are limited to to apply to federal positions, you can find opportunities in unexpected places that will help you build your resume to start your career with the federal government.  I recently came across two wonderful opportunities at times when I did not have my job searching goggles on.

1. My Local Flier. My county distributes a flier every Thursday, and every Friday I usually read the first few pages (most importantly the crime report) as I eat breakfast. I was randomly reading the volunteer section when I saw that the county’s historical society needed help. Specifically, they needed help with the sort of tasks that I am going to school for.  An e-mail, a meeting, and a week later, I was helping the historical society catalog the same newspaper where I saw their ad. Not only has volunteering been a great way to get out of the house (and away from my schoolwork!) for a few hours each week and meet new people, but this opportunity was just what I needed to fill my resume with library and information science related skills and experience in order to eventually get my first paid position in the field.

2. A Classmate. During a break from class, I started chatting with the student in front of me. He is in his second year in the program and has had a few library positions. As we chatted, I shared my fear that my lack of formal library experience is preventing me from even getting interviews for the part-time student positions I have been applying for. He told me that his library would be hiring in a few weeks and I should apply because it would be the perfect position for me. I told him I would be on the lookout for the position positing on the listserv. It just so happens that he was in charge of posting the position, and he even sent out the posting the next day. I sent a resume and cover letter right away. I had an interview by the end of the week. This experience underscores the importance of developing relationships with your peers during school and keeping in-touch after graduation. What’s more, do not wait until after graduation to use these connections and remember that they will come in handy in moments you might never expect, so always be on your best behavior 🙂

Do not get stuck in the trap of looking in the same place for open positions. Always be on the lookout for an employment page on websites, take a few moments to browse through your local newspapers, and make friends with the people in your classes.


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