Name: Meghan Wanucha
Current Job Title: Research Assistant
Name of Organization: Library Research Service, Colorado State Library, Colorado Department of Education
Bachelor's Degree: BA in English from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduate Degree: Master's of Library and Information Science, University of Denver
What does your current position entail?
LRS provides research and statistics about school, public, and academic libraries and conducts studies on major library issues. I help design, edit, and compile the results of this research, which are published in various capacities. I verify and analyze data, produce charts and graphs, and write explanatory narratives presenting research results. Some recent projects include a biennial study of web technologies used in public libraries, patron evaluation of the Colorado Talking Book Library, and report on academic librarian salaries in the region and nationwide.
How did you get your current position?
I discovered the position using LibraryJobline.com, a library job posting tool hosted by Library Research Service.
In relation to graduation, when did you start the job search and when did you secure your position?
I started actively applying for positions the quarter before I graduated and met with Carly Einstein, Assistant Director of Graduate Career Services, to begin prep work on resume and cover letter writing as well as interview practice. I secured my position about halfway through my last quarter.
In regards to the job search process, did anything surprise you?
I was pleasantly surprised that the interview process included giving me about 15 minutes with the interview questions before my actual interview began. I was able to jot down examples and stories for each question and quickly brainstorm ideas for those questions I hadn't anticipated. This made a nerve-racking process a bit less so!
What recommendations do you have for current students?
Look at job postings throughout your grad program, even if you aren't actively seeking a position. This can help you target your coursework, narrow or broaden your area of expertise, get used to the language of the industry outside the classroom, and start building additional skills through internships or volunteer work. Once you do start looking for a position, you'll have a firm grasp of what keywords/skills/duties to search for and how to start framing your resume/cover letter. And meet with Carly early and often!
What's the strangest interview question you were ever asked? How did you respond?
Luckily, I haven't experienced any real curveballs in interview situations.
Which aspects of your background have been most helpful in your current position?
I built up a solid technical skill set thanks to my MLIS and other work experiences, namely in editing, design, writing, and analysis. But my experiences also beefed up those important, but sometimes overlooked, "soft" skills: interpersonal skills, cross-cultural communication, curiosity, problem-solving abilities, and attention to detail.
If you were in your graduate program again, what would you do differently, if anything?
I had a bit of the imposter syndrome throughout my grad program, where I wasn't confident enough in my own abilities or background to feel I really had something to bring to the metaphorical table. If I could do it again, I'd remind myself that I was selected for my program for a reason and to relish in the process of going from novice to subject-matter expert alongside the rest of my classmates.
Any additional comments for current students?
Don't forget to make time for yourself! In the chaos that is grad school, conferences, internships, professional development, student groups, not to mention daily life, it's easy to get bogged down in everything that has to get done NOW. Fitting self-care in there can feel impossible, but strive to make the time for it.