Have alternative positions to offer

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F12-2This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic, public, school, and special libraries, and library vendors/service providers at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I have and still am volunteering for a medical library in an urban setting.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Midwestern US and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Good Location, Good wages, Good, diverse environment

Where do you look for open positions?

MICHLIB listserv, LinkedIn, The Library Network

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I have no specific routine. I prepare the application based off my resume and other information the application needs. I spend about 30 minutes on it.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Being able to present

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Specifically say what kind of skills they expect from prospective employees and have alternative positions to offer.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Stop asking unnecessary background questions

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being enthusiastic during an interview, and presenting yourself as the best candidate for the employer.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Urban area

Hold workshops called “so you want to work here?”

This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic, archives, public, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US and is not willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

service-based management – internal and external customer service
union job or full benefits including healthcare and retirement
Outreach to unserved/underserved people, diversity, cultural competency

Where do you look for open positions?

Local job search only: olaweb.org, pnla.org, local library and archives websites. National search is of no interested.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I spend a great deal of time on each packet. I want to make sure my resume specifically highlights my experience that makes me desirable as a candidate for each particular job (1-2 hours). The cover letter requires research about the organization/company, as well as a specific address of the minimum and maximum qualifications as they relate to my expertise (2hrs). Filling in the form online or in print can be up to 4 hours. And often these are done in between the library jobs and volunteer positions I already have, so there is always some recall / catching up to do.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

I think employers should have a sense of what kind of workplace culture they are trying to create, and seek people who fill those needs. Hiring teams should be a solid group of clear communicators, who have a commitment to fulfill organizational and personal goals. I love to see employers say openly that they value emotional intelligence, multicultural experience, community and volunteer work, and social justice (whether directly or via programs and services that are culturally competent and affordable to all).

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

The lottery system is one way to cut back on numbers of applications. I’m concerned that if we continue to offer limited professional opportunities, our new hires will work to get hired on and THEN decide whether the workplace suits them. This is already happening.

Hold workshops called “so you want to work here?” and have staff and patrons engage potential future candidates so a community of people can question what people are looking for and why they want to be here.

Always respond to every application. I have had dozens of non-responses from library employers after I have spent hours on my application. It is disrespectful and will discourage others from applying. It is demoralizing as a profession to be rejected, ignored, treated like one in a number.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Having a variety of skills in the profession, for instance: law librarianship, archives, documents management, reference, electronic services, etc., and constantly updating them. Specialization is becoming less desirable for new library workers.

Find your competitive edge, and wait patiently at the jobs you can get for future opportunities to arise. 7-10 years in my experience.

Volunteer your time. Don’t be afraid to say “Yes.” Find your mentors. Help you professional peers. Mentor newer professionals. Market your expertise on facebook, in person, over the phone, even when you are not at work. We live in an information culture, and you can make a huge difference by offering instruction, workarounds, and knowledge to people you know.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Urban area, Western US

Researcher’s Corner: Experiences that Influence the Outcome of Recent Grads’ Academic Library Job Searches

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this with you for a while!  I caught the authors’ call for participants on the NMRT listserv – although I didn’t fit the demographic, I knew the results of their research would be fascinating.  And they are!  I think this will be very useful for job hunters across the board, but particularly for students looking to go into academic libraries.


As three recent Library and Information Science (LIS) graduates, we know finding a position in an academic library can be challenging for new graduates. LIS students are frequently encouraged to seek out experience, network, and improve upon their technology skills in order to have marketable skills when they apply for positions, yet little research actually supports such advice. We decided to test the advice given to students and determine what academic and work experiences of recent LIS graduates most significantly influence the outcome of their academic library job searches.

Survey

In 2013, we sent out a survey that asked questions about seven primary categories: basic information, job search, professional effectiveness, professional development, service, technological competency, and previous careers. We asked about student’s graduate program, parameters of their job search, their academic and work experience, as well as other skills or professional involvement that could influence their ability to land a first-time academic library job. The link to the survey was emailed to 2008–2012 graduates from the LIS programs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, North Carolina Central University, and Dominican University. We also emailed the survey link to members of the ALA New Members’ Round Table (NMRT) listserv, distributed links on index cards to ACRL 2013 conference attendees during a related poster presentation, and electronically posted the link on the ACRL New Member Discussion board.

Results

Our results included the expected and unexpected (from our points of view). There were 360 total respondents to our survey and 56% (N = 201) reported they wanted to work in academic libraries. These 201 respondents represented 33 different LIS programs with the highest number of students graduating from the University of Illinois (56) and Dominican University (39).

We used our results to compare successful and unsuccessful job seekers to discover trends. Overall, we found the two groups to be fairly similar. Only certain factors in job search, professional effectiveness, professional development, and service made a significant difference in improving the odds of success in securing a job. Briefly outlined below are our key findings:

  • Applying for jobs four to six months before graduation were nearly seven times more likely to obtain a job than candidates who did not.
  • Having any academic library experience increased the odds of success for a job seeker and those who had participated in an internship or practicum improved their odds of success by 2.75 compared to those with no internship or practicum.
  • Attending conferences increased the odds of success by 3.33 when compared to candidates without this experience, attending workshops and seminars increased the odds by 2.05 and publishing increased the odds by 4.83.
  • Completing committee service work increased an individual’s odds of securing a job by 3.

Conclusion

If you’re an aspiring or current LIS student, on the job market, or are looking to help out new librarians, we have some advice. Advice backed up by our research. Start applying for jobs around the start of your last semester in library school. While in school, look for any opportunity to get some experience in an academic library, even if you don’t get paid. Join some committees, and attend some local or, if you’re able, national conferences. And, even though it’s extra work, take that professor up on the offer to co-author an article with you

To read our full findings and analysis, please take a look at our open-access journal article published by The Journal of Academic Librarianship available here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0099133314000123

 


rosener_ashley-1Ashley Rosener, Liaison Librarian to the School of Social Work, School of Public, Nonprofit, and Health Administration, and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University

Ashley Rosener graduated with her Masters from the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is excited by all things related to library instruction.

 

LindyheadshotLindy Scripps-Hoekstra, Liaison Librarian to the Area and Religious Studies programs, Grand Valley State University.

Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra graduated from Dominican University’s Library Science program and, as a former high school teacher, is particularly interested in reaching students through library instruction.

 

Eckard_Max_MovemberMax Eckard, Metadata & Digital Curation Librarian, Grand Valley State University.

Max Eckard is a [relatively recent] graduate of North Carolina Central University, and is passionate about digital preservation and librarianship as service.

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Filed under Academic, Guest Posts, library research, Researcher's Corner

Remember that a rejection letter/email is not a personal rejection.

School girls in AlgeriaThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference/Information Literacy Librarians

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Northeastern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ History of Books/Libraries
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

I’ve had several applicants who were seriously lacking in soft skills.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Other: I like to see that they’ve had some experience in a library, but I don’t care how they got the skill.

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Local practices

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

Drexel University; University of Pittsburgh

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Make sure you get some Library experience through an internship/externship or volunteer!! Real experience will round out your educational experience and make you a more viable candidate.

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

This is some advice for students or other job searchers:

Remember that a rejection letter/email is not a personal rejection. The Library that you applied to probably had a good number of candidates and you just didn’t make the cut. The person sending the letter doesn’t have enough time to send each person a detailed letter explaining why that person isn’t being interviewed.

Sending a bitter letter back to the contact person demanding to know why you weren’t interviewed won’t help you get this job. (They already sent you a letter telling you they hired someone else.) It WILL, however, result in your name being filed away in the “we never want to interview this crazy person” column in the contact person’s memory.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 0-10 staff members, Northeastern US, Suburban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Get rid of stupid trick questions

hunting in the cascadesThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for less than six months. This person is looking in academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, school, and special libraries, at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Midwestern US and is willing to move anywhere.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Uncivil work environment
Not assigned challenging work
Administration not supportive of advancement

Where do you look for open positions?

Indeed.com

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

30 minutes-2 hours

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: all are good ways

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Being able to present

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Look at experience
Desire to keep learning while on the job
Customer service/people-oriented personalities are a must

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Get rid of stupid trick questions like:
What is your greatest weakness or strengths?

Focus more on past experiences and allow the interviewee to explain in the best details certain projects he or she was involved in and enjoyed.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Patience, determination to keep applying. Networking. Telling as many people possible that you are looking for job and the finer details you look for.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

no

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Urban area

I’m not saying go in for an interview in jeans with a bad attitude

President Roosevelt is now hunting in the Louisiana canebrakes. (LOC)This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for less than six months. This person is looking in academic libraries at the following levels: branch manager.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Northeastern US and is not willing to move.

What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?

Salary
An interesting work place
A prestigious place to work

Where do you look for open positions?

Indeed, Regional job listservs, SLA, ALA, Dice, Hound,

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Read qualifications/requirements for a job, tailor resume and cover letter to a particular job using some of the language in the qualifications, send. I spend between 15 mins for a job I’m not really that interested in to 3-4 hours for a job I’m really interested in.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Yes
√ No
√ Other:

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

Have a detailed job description, don’t throw in a lot of preferred but not mandatory requirements, not throw in job requirements in the interview that have nothing to do with your career

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Not have a application process that takes forever and asks you to basically replicate your entire resume one fact at a time. That is SO annoying. If you’re not going to look at one of them, make it clear which one you should spend more time on.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Just keep applying. If you think, “this place will never hire me,” so you don’t apply, they won’t. Sometimes it’s just the right place at the right time. That is the only thing that really matters. You could be the best candidate, the best dressed, the most professional, but if your interviewer is in a bad mood or doesn’t like your sense of humor, none of that matters. I mean, you still have to try your best, I’m not saying go in for an interview in jeans with a bad attitude, but I have worked in enough places in my life to understand that sometimes total idiots get hired and there is never a good reason.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Urban area

Get a job in the library while in school and keep the job

School children learning to dance, Longreach, Queensland, ca. 1928This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Instruction, reference, cataloging, archives.

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Midwestern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Other: For the most part, yes. But I believe most of what you need comes from experience.

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Project Management
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Communication skills, presentation skills, getting along well with others, troubleshooting, working with the public.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Probably supervisory skills, budgeting (unless I am hiring for a higher level position). Learning the culture of the institution.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Professional organization involvement

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

I get a bit concerned when all I see are short (1-4) month “internships” and no real library work experience. Get a job in the library while in school and keep the job. Attend staff development, library colloquia, etc.sessions. Learn how to network.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

1 Comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Midwestern US, Urban area, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School