More library school graduates are going straight from undergraduate into a library program, and might not have three-five years experience coming out.

Rebecca Lemos

Becca Lemos is an aspiring children’s librarian currently working as a library page. She is proud to have accomplished the conception, planning and implementation of a genre based reorganization of her library’s picture book collection. She has been looking for a new position for more than six months, in public libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, and Department Head. Ms. Lemos has a:

Teaching degree with intensive student teaching, internship and mentoring experience. Internship in children’s public library services.

Although she currently lives in suburban area, Ms. Lemos is looking for work in a specific urban metro area in the Northeastern US. She is an avid baker/foodie, and to offset that hobby she is also a runner. You can take a look at her ePortfolio, or learn more about her on LinkedIn.

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

1. Location, Location, Location.
2. Livable Salary
3. Opportunities for long-term growth

Where do you look for open positions?

1. MCLB
2. LORI Jobline
3. INALJ
4. LinkedIn
5. Traditional job sites (monster, indeed etc.)

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

Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

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

I have a few cover letters pre-prepared but I will re-write and tailor them to fit the job that I am applying for. I have a resume and reference list that I always keep up-to date, including links to my educational portfolios and LinkedIn page. If the job posting supplies an email to send my application to, I will email all of the documents along with an introductory message. If it is a mail in application I will print out all of those documents, include my business card and a handwritten note, expressing my interest. I try not to spend more than 1-2 hours on an application.

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

Other: Instead of library page, I list my position as library assistant 1) because I’ve had interviews with library staff who didn’t understand the terminology 2) I do much more than shelve books in my current capacity and am allowed more freedom in my position because of my degree 3) honestly to give myself a leg-up in the job hunt. I feel like a hiring committee sees library page and instantly views my job experience as not valid experience, when in fact I’ve learned more from my hands-on experience as a page than I did in library school!

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?

√ Other: Phone for good news, email for bad news, and save your taxpayers the postage and stop mailing rejection letters.

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
√ Other: The responses I receive from my own questions to the interviewer/interview board as well as the level of communication and professionalism during the interview process. If I’m expected to respond to your emails in a timely manner, I expect the same consideration from you. Even if the emails are to say, “we haven’t made a decision yet, but hope to soon” that is more respectable than five weeks of silence and no communication.

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

Offer realistic salaries and positions for level of education. I shouldn’t have to work three part-time jobs that require a MLIS because there are no full-time positions out there. Be fluid about years of experience. More library school graduates are going straight from undergraduate into a library program, and might not have three-five years experience coming out. Be willing to to mentor and take on new graduates. We have to gain experience somewhere. More millennials like myself are entering the workforce with student loan debt and multiple part-time jobs are not viable financial options for us. I have seen many of my peers with library degrees choosing jobs outside of the library world because they can’t afford to be a part-time librarian.

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

Communicate at every step of the way. Notify me immediately if you decide not to interview me, or if the position has been filled.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being yourself and being honest. Don’t be afraid to admit your weaknesses, or that you don’t know the answer to a question. Play up your strengths, and when you get home find the answer, and email the committee back to demonstrate that even if you don’t know an answer off the top of your head, you are a dedicated information professional who will and can find the answer.

Also, thank you emails. Always.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

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, Northeastern US, Public, School, Suburban area

Personally communicate with potential candidates.

City, Public Library, 1956 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 Less than six months. This person is looking in Public libraries, at the following levels: Supervisory, Department Head, Branch Manager. This job hunter is in a city/town, in the Western US, and is not  willing to move anywhere.

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

Stability
Salary range
Job duties

Where do you look for open positions?

local agency websites , that’s about it.

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

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

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

I take as long as needed . There is no race for good work , you take as much time as needed. In addition, I have been known to contact HR directly if the job description does not outline some of my questions, very important in deciding if this is the poistion i wish to apply for.

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
√ Email
√ Mail
√ Phone for good news, email for bad news
√ Other: all of the above use every method possible.

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
√ Being taken out to meal
√ 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?

that is not something that can be defined, you can list all requirements i.e. dream list and still not get the apllicant you are seeking.

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

Personally communicate with potential candidates, call after the interviews make sure it does not drag on for months without the candidate being aware of the process. Advise candidates that it make take up to

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Just be yourself, if the job is for you you will prevail.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Public, Western US

Quit spewing out mass applications.

Man selling artichokes at vegetable market in Stockholm 1951This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

public service

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area, with no regional location given.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25-75

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

They must have an MLIS, applicable work experience (this was for Director), and a well-formatted and composed cover letter and resume.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search committee evaluates all applications.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Ridiculous cover letter. Too short, no customization to the position, inclusion of erroneous personal information.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Focus on the specifics of each institution and the position, customize their letter and resume to THAT job. Quit spewing out mass applications. Also, show that you did your homework and are actually interested in this institution, library, and position.

Show your specific accomplishments that apply to our job requirements in your cover letter and resume.

Also offer your specific vision and philosophy for library service.

I want to hire someone who is

competent, socially astute. Experience can be learned.

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are the same number of positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

not an official requirement, but for recent grads, we expect them to have at least volunteered or worked in a paraprofessional capacity in a library environment.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

People need libraries. Most librarians who work on the front lines are working hard to keep up with people’s needs. People need help to navigate an increasingly complex information environment and learn how to drill down from a lot of irrelevant results to the ones they need. They also need help using complex technologies for fun and entertainment. We have those skills and they’re used to coming to us for help. We’re positioned to be the go-to people if we can re-engineer our image and publicize it.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Yes. Don’t write a paragraph for a cover letter. Your cover letter is how I choose whether to interview you. Research the places you’re hiring and give them a feel, specifically, about why you want to work there and what you have done that could serve our needs as stated in the job description. If you do that you’ll be heads and shoulders above the rest. Also, ask someone to proof-read for typos and grammar.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

Most of us have big chunks of student debt

Librarians, State Library of New South Wales, 1952 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 Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

Interned at one library in my field (voluntary), graduate teaching assistantship (related to my field)

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the  Northeastern US and is trying to relocate to a specific region.

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

Location, competitive salary, collaborative environment

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, individual library websites, regional boards, MLA

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

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

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

I tweak my CV, and write a new cover letter. Without taking into consideration having to re-type all this information into an online form- roughly 2 hours? Then I send it to someone to proofread, and typically submit it within a few days.

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

√ Other: I’ve been “vague”

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?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news

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
√ Being able to present

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

Post the job position to as many places as possible; know the cost of living in your area, and offer a competitive salary. Most of us have big chunks of student debt- we need to be able to live somewhere, buy groceries, and pay back our loans (especially if we had a volunteer internship throughout grad school!).

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

Communicate throughout the process. I appreciate that you can’t take down the job ad until someone has formally accepted the position, but it would be great to know if you’re already interviewing people and won’t be looking at my application unless your first round of interviews doesn’t go well.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

In order to get an interview- knowing people. In order to get hired- fitting in with the library personality-wise

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

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 Academic, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Urban area

You might be pleasantly surprised at how nice people are, especially library people.

Market before PassoverThis anonymous interview is with a librarian who works for a public library consulting service and has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Youth services specialists, technology consultants, and adult services generalists.

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in an urban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the qualifications in terms of education & experience.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

As the executive director of our organization, I do the “first cut” look to make sure the applicants meet the basic requirements of education & experience. We are a very small organization & don’t have an HR department.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Education & experience is lacking.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Read the job posting carefully and make sure your education & experience are a good fit before applying. Do not just apply for something at a place you’d like to work to get a foot in the door if you are not really qualified.

I want to hire someone who is

smart

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 1

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: 0

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are the same number of positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

We don’t hire entry-level professionals. We are a consulting organization to other public libraries, and as such, we must have experienced librarians.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

We are re-inventing ourselves as community hubs of information & recreation. Libraries are developing makerspaces, have programs of interest, and supply communities with networking opportunities in a forum that is free and open to all. We serve all ages, all races, all ethnicities, and all levels of literacy.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Don’t be afraid to take a job in a part of the country that you have never lived in or considered working in. You might be pleasantly surprised at how nice people are, especially library people.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

Leave a comment

Filed under 0-10 staff members, Other Organization or Library Type, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area

I’m primarily looking for jobs on the East Coast, and it’s not going very well

The Young People's Librarian, 1938 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 Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries,  Archives, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I’ve worked in an academic library for almost 2 years, so I’m on the cusp of being entry-level, but right after I graduated, I had a 4-month (paid) internship that was funded by Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations. It was a really wonderful experience and I encourage other Canadian LIS/archives students to take look at those postings.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in Canada, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

-an institution that is located in a city
-a position where I’ll get to do a variety of work
-a supportive organizational culture where I get to learn from my colleagues

Where do you look for open positions?

iSchool job sites, INALG, professional listservs, Archives Gig

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

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

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

I’ve saved every job application I’ve ever written, so I go and find a previous application that is the most similar to the one I’m currently applying for, and I use that cover letter as a template. However, I always end up re-writing the whole thing because I want to use the same language and structure as the job posting. And I tweak my CV a little bit depending on the posting. About 2 hours in total.

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

√ Yes

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

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

Is this really an issue? I don’t feel like there is ever a dearth of qualified and over-qualified folks looking for and applying for library jobs anywhere.

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

Communicate more clearly, and let people know what the timeline for the selection process will look like. I recently had an interview with a library, and a couple of weeks afterwards they announced the person who got the position on twitter, and then a couple of weeks after that they emailed me to tell me that I hadn’t be selected for the job. That was very rude.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Establishing yourself and making connections in the community where you’d like to work. I’m on the West Coast, but I’m primarily looking for jobs on the East Coast, and it’s not going very well. I’ve met tonnes of people and made lots of connections in the west, but it’s not ultimately going to to serve me very well if I want to move.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

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 Academic, Archives, Canada, Job hunter's survey, Urban area

clear, concise cover letter that addresses the particular job being advertised

OUTDOOR MARKET AT HAYMARKET SQUARE. PUBLIC PROTEST KEPT THE SQUARE FROM BECOMING PART OF AN EXPRESSWAY, 051973This 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 and instruction librarians

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

all the required qualifications

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

a committee of peers reviews applications; HR not involved

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

degrees, prior experience

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

clear, concise cover letter that addresses the particular job being advertised

I want to hire someone who is

professional

How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 10-50

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ Other: none

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 3-4

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ No

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ No

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

happens in practice

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.

Leave a comment

Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area