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Congratulations, you got the job! Now what?

October 10, 2019

We all know searching for a job in an academic library can be tough. Competition is tight, interviews are exhausting and the differences between institutions can be dizzying. That’s why it feels so awesome when you finally get that offer! All that hard work preparing presentations and answering mock interview questions has paid off and you can finally relax…until your first day.

After answering all those grilling interview questions, you’re faced with the toughest one of them all: what am I supposed to do now that I got the job?

This reality can often be just as overwhelming as the job search. There’s a lot to try to keep track of but here are a few things to keep in mind as you get started.

Learn names

While you’re easing into your new position, take advantage of the time to begin meeting as many people as you can. Obviously, learning everyone’s names and roles within the library should be a priority but don’t be afraid to meet people outside of the library, especially if you see potential opportunities to collaborate. This may seem like a lot to ask for those who are introverted, but a simple “Hello” and handshake is all you need. If you’re new position comes with academic liaison responsibilities, make sure to go out and meet as many faculty in those departments as possible. And don’t forget to make friends with the administrative assistants!

Familiarize yourself with the library and campus

As you’re meeting as many people as you can, it’s important to learn about all that your library and campus has to offer. What are the different departments of the library and their roles? What are some departments outside the library that have collaborated with your role in the past, or where you could see a collaboration in the future? Chances are your new library has resources and databases you may not be familiar with so it is incredibly important to learn about those databases, as well as other things like the catalog and website, so you are prepared to answer any questions from students and faculty.

Ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Lots of questions. Your new supervisor and your new colleagues all understand that you are new and do not know how everything works. Even things that may seem obvious to everyone else may not seem obvious to you. So just ask.

Learn to walk the tightrope

Probably the most difficult thing to do is to walk that tightrope between assimilating into your new library’s culture and implementing new ideas and strategies. The old saying of “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” is often true. If you see an opportunity to improve a service, go for it. After all, you’re there to help students, staff and faculty, right? Many people are happy to have some outside perspective on ways to improve the library.

Just be cognizant of how these changes affect your new coworkers. If they have the potential to drastically change a process or responsibility of one or more of your colleagues, it might be worth your while to include them in the decision-making process. Also be aware of your new library’s financial and personnel resources. Just because your previous institution had the time or money to implement a quick change does not mean your new one can.

In the end, remember that you were hired because of what YOU can bring to the table! No matter how you proceed, you’re going to do great!

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