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... and then everything changes again

Last week Jacob Berg wrote a very candid post about the hiring process and it dovetails nicely with something I had wanted to write about.

After 2 1/2 years of searching, I finally landed a full-time job. Because of the length of the process and the number of jobs I thought I was getting, but then didn't, I still don't completely comprehend why this is the one that worked out, so I don't have much to say about that, but I do have some thoughts on how to not go crazy during the job search process. It essentially boils down to:

Don't take rejection personally. 

The nature of the job market in this field means that there are often many more librarians looking for jobs than there are openings, so employers get the luxury of being a little picky. There were multiple positions where I was told very sincerely, "You were great, but so was everyone else, and we had to pick someone, which, unfortunately wasn't you." This is often followed by a well-meaning, "but hopefully we'll be working with you soon, since I'm sure you'll land a position soon." That last bit really hurts when you've been searching for awhile (a job I didn't get 2 years ago told me that and it filled me with hope, but hearing it this spring made me want to break things), but realize that it comes from their high assessment of your talent. They're telling you that you really did do a lot more things right than wrong.

Honestly assess your performance in the interview and address any concerns you have, but don't drive yourself crazy. Continue to spend time reading and thinking about the topics that interest you professionally, so at your next interview you have something interesting to talk about, but realize that at a certain appoint, what will happen will happen, and sometimes no matter how well you prepared, some positions are just not meant for you.

One of the reasons you may not get a job you're perfectly qualified for is what Jacob Berg describes with his first candidate. Sometimes you're not a good personality fit for the organization. Sometimes this is something you can prepare yourself for during interview prep, but other times you walk into an interview and discover that you have no chemistry with the people you're interviewing with. It doesn't matter how good a librarian you, if the people you're going to be working with don't "get" you, then you're probably not the right person for the job.

Other cases when the decision to not hire you for a position has little to do with your professional qualifications, are the position basically being held for an internal candidate, not all requirements for the position were listed in the job ad or expressed in the interview, other internal politicking that has nothing to do with the requirements of the job, funding for the position is cut, and I'm sure many of you out there could grow this list a mile long, but the point is, sometimes you don't get a job because you botched the interview, but sometimes you don't get a job because there was no way you were getting that job. So after you've done all the right things to prepare for an interview, take a cue from the serenity prayer and learn to accept the things you can't change.
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