Category Archives: MLIS Students

if you are paying less than say, $50,000 for a full time librarian position

Geraldine Fain Browses in the Free LibraryThis 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 Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I’ve had two longer archives internships. I processed materials in both but one required me to do everything independently. I have volunteered and was part of the advisory board for a library professional organization in a major city and recently began volunteering with a regional archives organization.

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

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

 Competitive pay in a (personally) desirable geographical
A healthy, pleasant, open work environment
A measure of autonomy and room to take risks

Where do you look for open positions?

Various professional listservs, Joblist, INALJ, Indeed.com, organization HR websites

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?

1 day to 1 week depending on deadlines and job. If I am really interested in the position the longer I may take. In those instances I will have a couple of people review my letter. However, I always take at least 1 day. As a general rule I will write a letter, then leave it overnight and return the next day to revise before sending.

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?

√ 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)?

√ 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?

Be clear and realistic in expectations. If you are not willing to hire recent grads or people with only internship experience, it would be nice to know up front. Also, if you are paying less than say, $50,000 for a full time librarian position or requiring and MLS for a part time position that’s paying under $18-$20/hour, and requiring a laundry list of qualifications to be filled and duties to undertake, you might need to rethink what you’re bringing to the table and who you are willing and able to hire/attract for such positions. Certainly there are constraints and what you need in a place like NYC or Chicago might not be the same in South Carolina or Montana for instance.

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

Being very clear in job descriptions by doing things such as providing deadlines for submission, review, and projected job start dates. Clarity in all details related to job descriptions is important. Beyond that I don’t know, overall it’s just a terrible experience.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I don’t know. I have been searching for the past eight months since graduating. I am someone with lots of relevant and transferable experience in addition to library training, a Master’s degree in another field, language experience, internships, experience volunteering with LIS professional organizations, etc. and I’ve had only two interviews. Only one was particularly relevant and though I made it to the list of final candidates I still didn’t get the job.

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 Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Northeastern US, Special, Urban area

Don’t plan to only hire MLIS students for shelving positions and leave no intermediate positions for students

HM Queen Mother at the formal opening of the new library in the Lionel Robbins Building, 10th July 1979This 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 Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

2.5 years experience in ILL in an academic library; 1.5 years in circulation in a public library

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

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

1. A place to grow with my career.
2. A salary I can support myself on.
3. Location

Where do you look for open positions?

Library Jobline, INALJ, specific library websites (e.g. Denver Public Library)

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

√ Other: Almost always yes, but I will still apply to a job if it’s not.

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

I have a standard cover letter that I adapt based on the job, occasionally re-writing it completely. I don’t spend more than an hour on most applications, mainly because many government and/or library application systems are shared and remember my information so I don’t have to reenter.

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 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)?

√ 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?

Be honest about the job opening and search for employers who fit the actual job. (Don’t plan to only hire MLIS students for shelving positions and leave no intermediate positions for students)

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

Be more timely, i.e. not take 3-4 weeks just to get back to me with a “no”

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

be awesome and honest and find the right fit.

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 Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Public, Special, Urban area, Western US

Please, for the love of Pete, do NOT call a position entry level if it requires X amount of experience.

Library International Law Reading Room, 1964This 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 Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

Interned in an academic library’s archival department. Conducted a fieldwork project in same.

This job hunter is in a city/town in the Western US, other: and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Compatibility, challenge, a chance to learn the ins and outs.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, INALJ, HigherEd Jobs, LinkedIn, Indeed, various listservs.

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

√ Other: Not sure it’s a red flag if salary ranges aren’t posted, but I sure wish I knew what the motivation is behind NOT posting!

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

I probably spend at least a couple of hours per application. Crafting the cover letters take a lot of time. I try to highlight my accomplishments as they pertain to the job description.

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 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)?

√ 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 generally think most employers include enough information in job descriptions to attract good candidates.

I have already filled out the survey recently, but I came back to it because I thought of another answer for this question.

The second-most frustrating thing about job searching, besides the application abyss I mentioned perviously, is filling out redundant online application forms. Everything relevant – my education, experience, contact information – is in my resume and cover letter. Is having to retype it all into some poorly-suited web form actually some kind of test as to whether I REALLY want the job? The hiring process would be less painful if these application forms didn’t exist.

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

Please, for the love of Pete, do NOT call a position entry level if it requires X amount of experience. If you are truly hiring for an actual entry level position, then weed out the applicants with a lot of experience. Level the playing field! Highly qualified candidates are in a much better position to find jobs matching their skills and experience.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I wish I knew!

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

Maybe ask a question about acceptable salary ranges depending on skills and qualifications. Also, what kinds of questions are we being asked when we do get the chance to interview? What kinds of professional associations do we belong to, and does belonging to a professional organization make a difference in the job hunt? An open ended question about whether or not we feel we’ve exhausted all options as far as professional library positions are concerned, and what kind of work are we considering if not library work.

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 Academic, City/town, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Public, Special, Western US

Having skills that match the position, being confident, and it never hurts to know someone involved with the hiring process.

Library in United States National Museum BuildingThis 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 More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Public libraries, at the following levels: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

Internship at an Academic library 2 nights a week for one semester.

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

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

Within my field/something that will help me learn skills that are applicable moving forward
Location
Salary/Benefits

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, Chronicle of Higher Ed website, individual college or library websites

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 would say that I spend about an hour. My resume is mostly the same for every job I apply for so I just take some time to read the job description and write my cover letter to highlight some of the activities I’ve done previously that would overlap with the job responsibilities for the job I’m applying 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 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)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

Write detailed job descriptions so those reading it are clear as to whether or not they’re capable of doing the job.

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

Be more communicative.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Having skills that match the position, being confident, and it never hurts to know someone involved with the hiring process.

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, MLIS Students, Northeastern US, Public, Suburban area

Fun coworkers!

Geraldine Fain Browses in the Free LibraryThis 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 Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I provide reference services and teach workshops at an academic health sciences library. I also do original and copy cataloging for a local library resource group. In the past I have done reference at public and community college libraries, and cataloging at an elementary school.

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

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

Opportunities to learn new skills and have increased responsibilities
The ability to support a mission and organization that I care about
Fun coworkers!

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ
State library consortium websites
Individual college and university websites
Indeed (search for metadata or cataloging, etc)

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 about an hour analyzing the job description and brainstorming the ways in which my skills and abilities would match what the employer needs, then I edit my resume and write a new cover letter for each job. I am a slow writer and it takes me more than 2 hours to write each cover letter.

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)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

Offer a salary commensurate with experience and education. In my opinion, $15 per hour is too little to pay a professional librarian who earned an MLS.
Write job descriptions that accurately describe the position and duties.

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

Please make your expectations very clear! I have had interviews where the department described a very different kind of job than the one I had applied for, i.e., the duties were not as described and were in fact, much more mundane. Also, please let me know when I am not chosen. A form email would be fine for this purpose.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think it is best if you have a close contact at the organization.

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

I just want to thank you for continuing to update Hiring Librarians. It’s been very helpful to me as I finish library school and continue to search for gainful employment.

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, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Northeastern US, Special, Urban area

the two librarians behind the counter just laughed at me (that one left me crying in my car)

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This 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 libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I volunteer at my childrens’ school library. A school library is the last place I want to work and ironically was the only place I could find to take me on as a volunteer. I went to every public library in the area and each one told me they do not use volunteers, or they only accept high school students. At one I was told “There just ain’t nothing to do,” and at another the two librarians behind the counter just laughed at me (that one left me crying in my car).

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

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

–Experience (though I’ve read that prospective employers do not like to hear that, but it’s true. I want to get my foot in the door, I want to be immersed in the field I chose to spend my tuition on…I want experience!!)
–A fair salary.
–Employers and coworkers willing to give a fast-learning and motivated newbie a chance.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, indeed, USAjobs, ALA job list, college and university websites, local government sites, 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?

It has gotten to be pretty routine now, but I try to play up certain strengths as per the job description in the application, resume and cover letter. It is a fairly constant process.

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

√ Other: No, but I am getting to the point that I might have to just to get a chance. I don’t feel good about that.

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 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)?

√ 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 about what they want in their descriptions. I have applied for so many “entry level,” “new grads welcome,” “no experience necessary” jobs just to have my application denied due to lack of experience.

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

Communication. Let us know if you are interested, or not interested. Email is fine!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I have no idea! To be honest, I’m about ready to give up and either go back to school (which I really don’t want to do since I spent [wasted?] my whole GI Bill on my MLIS) or just swallow my pride and find a cashier or sales job somewhere. Do I need to know someone? Do I need to lie about my experience? It has been an extremely disheartening experience.

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

It’s hard to get experience when I can’t get the experience! It’s been two years, 63 applications, three rejection emails, and two interviews. Every day in which I hear absolutely nothing back (good or bad news), I’m a little more discouraged. I have also encountered a lot of rudeness and hostility in my job search. I don’t know if it is because I don’t have the practical experience that other grads have, or if it is because the job market is tough and I’m just another person competing in their field. Maybe both. I left military service to go to college to pursue my dream job and I think now that I made a huge mistake.

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 Academic, Archives, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Public, School, Southern US, Special, Urban area

Where you start is not always where you end up.

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 and Special libraries, at the entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience

I have worked an academic library internship that turned into part time employment. I also organize a volunteer program to a library that serves underprivileged children.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Western US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Since this will be my first job in the library field I am mostly looking for job responsibilities that match my strengths and interest. Everything else is just nice to have and/or could be addressed later in my career. Where you start is not always where you end up.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, SLIS Listserv, INALJ

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?

The amount of time I spend on an application really depends on how much time I have available and the job description. I have a few CV’s. All of the information is the same but they are organized to emphasis a different skill set.I also have a cover letter template and a bank of paragraphs that cover common requirements of the types of jobs I am applying to. I generally use one or two points from the bank and the rest is written specifically for that job.

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?

In addition to honest and descriptive listing of the required job requirements and the preferred requirements, a short description of an ideal candidate would be useful. Something along the lines of “we need a person that is comfortable building relationships with X” or “this position requires someone that is able to take the initiative in doing X”.

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

I will echo what most people have said and reiterate having an accurate timetable for the hiring process does wonders for relieving anxiety. Also being open and friendly during an interview, don’t be so obvious and robotic about reading your questions from a script, helps a lot.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

A often overlooked trait that helps is the ability to show how great of a candidate you are in such a short amount of time.

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

Having the opportunity to describe the frequency of interviews might allow job seekers to gauge their own job seeking behavior.

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, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Special, Suburban area, Western US