This is our first interview with a non-anonymous job hunter, and I’m so pleased to be able to share it with you!
It is with Katrina Burch, a recent graduate of San Jose State University’s SLIS program. She is currently working part time at Washington State University’s Manuscripts, Archives, Special Collections department, doing scanning using a Zeutschel scanner as well as reference work for the department and a variety of other projects. Ms. Burch has been job hunting for six months to a year, looking in academic libraries, archives, special libraries, and museums at the following levels: Entry level and Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how this new grad describes her internship/volunteering experience:
I did a little volunteering at my current part time job before I was hired on. I live in a rural area and the other libraries in the area don’t take volunteers anymore so I’m very limited in terms of internship/volunteer experience.
Although currently in a city/town in the Western US, other, Ms. Burch is willing to move anywhere. She is on Twitter, and writes a readers’s advisory blog at: http://gelostinthestackst.tumblr.com/ You can learn more about her work and professional philosophies by perusing her e-portfolio.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
1) That I qualify. There are a lot of mis-leading job titles out there.
2) What kind of duties will I be performing. At this point, I’m not really picky and will do almost anything in the archival field that I qualify for.
3) Location. I would love to stay on the west coast but I’m not picky and will apply for most anything. I’m trying to stay away from the East coast just because there are a lot more library schools out there.
Where do you look for open positions?
I have a whole bundle of RSS fields that someone posted in my school’s fb group. It covers both library and archival positions
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 make sure that I qualify first and foremost for most the qualities they’re looking for. Then if I feel I can write a good cover letter to put that all in, I do. Then I tailor my resume. Once that’s all good I either send it to the email address listed or I go through the application process. Which to be honest, with some companies is so damn repetitive to what I have listed on my resume! Its such a waste of time. I usually spend about 2 hours on average.
Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?
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?
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
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
Be honest. If I’m going to be doing just a bunch of processing, say that! For the most part, the employers I’ve talked to have been honest and upfront about what the job will entail but there have been a few who have not and it has been frustrating
Also don’t list a bunch of qualifications that may or may not be what you want. It’s really disheartening to see a job that I could potentially be good at, only to see they want some crazy expectations like major coding when the job description doesn’t really lend itself to being that.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Don’t be repetitive! If you ask us to upload our resume and cover letter, don’t ask us to retype that information in an application field!
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Unfortunately, a lot of it is networking and knowing the right people.
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!