Starting work as a graduate when you have limited work experience

clerk-18915_1920It can be quite daunting finishing up your Library and Information studies and stepping out into the wide world of library employment for the first time. How do you get that foot in the door without previous experience?

Here are some ideas you could try to help you get started:

  1. Be willing to start at the bottom. Take positions that may not require as high a qualification as you have just completed. Entry-level roles not only let you get “your foot in the door” but they can be a great way to build your knowledge. Consider accepting part-time, contract or even volunteer roles.
  2. Perfect those applications! Don’t send the same cover letter and resume to each job, tailor them to the position. Ask colleagues to look at their CV’s, and apply for everything. Don’t forget to highlight your translatable skills and experience from roles outside of libraries.
  3. Getting your name and face out there is extremely important. You might even find out about a job before it gets advertised. You could also find a mentor and get some helpful advice.
  4. Take every opportunity. No matter where you’re working, try to learn as much as you can. Ask questions, offer your ideas. Takes lots of notes for future reference.

Remember, everyone was once a new graduate! Be confident in your abilities and never be afraid to ask for help. The Library and Information Professionals community is a welcoming and friendly place, and we’re glad you’ve joined us.


–  Michelle DeAizpura , ILN Content Officer

Posted in General and tagged , , .


  1. Surely it is an experience most people/librarians have passed through but with a firm heart and trusting yourself on what you leart on what you learnt at college, can put you in a position of where you are going to start.

  2. Pingback: A new role in the new year – Miss Library Grrrl

  3. Great topic! I had this issue: trying to find a position after graduation. Lesson Learned: Library school should emphasize the importance of finding opportunities while in school. This will help build experience and exposure. While in library school, I noticed that many students already worked in libraries, museums, etc., and was returning to school for the degree. They had the practical, or hands-on experience already, but without the theoretical or that official librarian title.

    Experience > without degree
    Degree > without experience

    It should be mandatory that students get involved with library experience while in grad school.

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