Why don’t they want me?

Finding a library gig (especially an academic post) is neither a quick nor easy process. There is a lot of work that goes into the preparation. The resume and cover letter that works in the business world is totally unsuited to academia, so those need to be reworked. Going through postings and researching potential employers takes time as well. Cover letters have to be specific to the position. You need to line up references. Then should you be lucky enough to get as far as interviewing (phone and/or in person), there are a whole host of other things that need to be accomplished. All of this does not take place in a vacuum. Usually you’re finishing up library school, possibly working other jobs, and/or dealing with family.

And then what?

Well, I’m guessing most applicants either experience one or more of the following at least once:

  1. A rejection letter before you get to the phone interview stage
  2. You never hear from the potential employer–this happens an awful lot and there is no reason why it should. Applicants deserve the courtesy of a reply, even if it’s a canned letter.
  3. A rejection after you get to the phone interview stage
  4. A rejection after you get to the in-person interview stage

Often you just don’t know why they rejected you. You’re told over and over again by people in library school not to take it personally, but that’s a really hard thing not to do. The truth is that a lot of the times it’s not really you or anything you did.

Which is why I really loved this post from the Wandering Librarian.

Also, there’s a great thread on the NMRT-L listserv right now about rejection in the job process.
You don’t have to be a member of ALA to join.


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