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 a year to 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, and Public libraries, at the following levels: Entry level and Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
I did a practicum with the Kansas City Public Library working on a historical digital library project concerning the civil war border disputes between missouri and kansas. I had a positive experience, but issues with the state library budget set back a lot of the work I needed to do. However, I was hired to work on a different library project as a result of my practicum. Unfortunately, there were also funding and vision issues with that project that stalled a lot of my work again.
This job hunter is in an urban area of the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
+something that won’t make me want to jump in front of a train within a month.
Where do you look for open positions?
+GSLIS (u of illinois) jobs listserv
+IFLA jobs listserv
+patrolling the websites of places I would like to work
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?
Depending on what the position requires (if I need to tweak my resume or CV) I will spend anywhere from a few hours to several days working it out. When I work on my resume and CV I always need to give myself a little incentive and remove some of my more negative voices, so I like to imbibe a little bit–typically a fancy beer or two will get me through the process of inventorying my skills and highlighting the ones more appropriate for the job I am applying for since my LIS degree focuses on special collections, but my job experience is with public and digital libraries.
I usually write the cover letter first, because I work better with a narrative and then I can include more detailed bullet points on my resume. I do everything with Adobe InDesign, because I care about the way my application materials look and I can usually make a 1 page cover letter work pretty well with that, plus it’s easy to convert everything into a single PDF.
Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?
√ Other: probably, but I won’t admit it.
When would you like employers to contact you?
√ 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 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)?
√ Being able to present
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
I know that some, especially higher-up, positions invite certain people to apply. That seems to be a good way to get people in. But I also think that providing detailed summaries of position duties and expectations will glean a higher quality of candidate, at least as far as job competency goes.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
They should make it easier to contact a single person about the decision process. There have been a few times where I have called to ask about my application’s status and simply been referred to HR, when they’re not the ones conducting the search or making any decisions. They should also only post internally if they have someone in mind to fill a position, so outsiders don’t have to waste their time and energy fretting about something they maybe want.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Connections. Some of the most important opportunities I’ve had were because I volunteered first and they liked my work and hired me without having to go through regular hiring processes.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I think it would be interesting to see what different responders have to say about what they think their strengths and weaknesses are in the job-seeking process. For example, I don’t exactly look impressive on paper, but I do exceptionally well in interviews and prove myself better in actual work environments.
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!