[Ask an Archivist] Q: What was the job market like when you graduated?

Ask an Archivist Question:

What was your first professional job out of school? How long did it take for you to find that job after you graduated?

Ask an Archivist Answers:

My first professional job was as a part-time reference librarian at the Sayville Public Library, in Sayville, LI (NY). I worked about 15-18 hours per week, mostly during the evenings. I graduated from Long island University School of Library Science in May 1974, and got that job about 6 months later.

– Burton Altman

I graduated in 1991 and got a part-time job in a museum library and starting working short, part-time projects around that job. Sometimes they weren’t so short, but always part-time. I was able to manage a long stretch with one 3 day a week position and another 2-day a week – wasn’t too bad, ‘cepting for the lack of benefits, but I was young and fairly healthy. I juggled this for 3 years before landing a full-time perm position at NYPL in 1994

– Michala Biondi

My first professional job was a two-year contract position processing the papers of a former Senator from Tennessee. I was able to hire and supervise a student worker, and together, we arranged and described the 600+ linear foot collection. I applied and did a phone interview for the position during my last semester of grad school, interviewed on-site a couple of weeks after graduation, and started about six weeks later. I realize how lucky I was to have such a quick turnaround, even considering that I graduated in 2003 when project positions like this were more plentiful than they are now. I was helped by the fact that I could quickly relocate, and I didn’t think twice about applying for jobs in areas that some classmates saw as less than ideal. But I’m not sure how applicable my experience would be to someone in today’s job market, or even to someone with a family or other obligations that limit his/her ability to relocate.

– Erin Lawrimore

My first professional position after graduate school was a one year, grant funded position at the National Anthropological Archives and it took me 5 months to get it. Of course it took me three and a half years to land a full-time, non grant funded position, from the time of graduating. And I moved from Florida to Washington DC, to Boston, and then to El Paso, Texas.  All on my own dime. But I got an archives job!

– Gerrianne Schaad


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