Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thanks for all the fish

At the end of your final term, you not only have to fly away and leave the nest of library school, you're also probably pushed right out of the tree by the nice avians that taught you how to fly: the library that gave you your library student job. Now that you're no longer a student...well, you're fired. Thanks for all the fish.

You know that this is going to happen and there are three things you should do:
  1. Ask for a formal, final evaluation. This evaluation talks about your growth as a professional, the tasks you completed and any additional projects that you accepted. It can also talk about valued personality traits--kindness, listening ability or work ethic--that your new employer might like to know that you have.

    You're leaving when you have lots to do--finishing projects, finding another job--and your employer is probably getting reading for a summer season which involves new students. It is easy to miss this last step, but you should ask for a formal evaluation and try to get it done now, before you get too busy. You can use this evaluation in interviews and it might work in a pinch if your references are away.
  2. Ask for references, verbal and written. Unless they're totally out to lunch, they know you need a new job, but you have to tell them that you're looking and to be prepared for phone calls. You should also ask for a written letter in case they take holidays when you're interviewing or to put into your portfolio. Though it's pretty rare, you should also be prepared for them to refuse to give you a reference.
  3. Thank them for having you. No one makes an employer hire a student (well, you're cheaper than a full-fledged professional, great incentive) but you're also a big hassle, though you're tidy enough. Say thank you.

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