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!

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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.

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

Updates help.

Brian Hunter, 1984, Asst Librarian, Slavonic Collections, London School of Economics 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: Requiring at least two years of experience. This job hunter is in an urban area, in the Northeastern US, and is willing to move, but only to areas I can see me and my spouse living in. (He has very specific job needs.).

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

–An institutional culture that values all voices, is not a rigidly top-down, employs transparency in bureaucratic machinery, and is committed to the professional development of their staff
–A salary that is appropriate for the cost-of-living in the area
–Tuition remission opportunities

Where do you look for open positions?

I check ALA Joblist, Higher Ed Jobs, INALJ, and Indeed on a daily basis like a madwoman.

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 usually intensely research the library and college or university the job is at in order to get a sense of their values. I then take my cover letter template, which leaves a fair amount of space to customize, and bridge my work experience, education, service orientation, etc to not only the position requirements, but to the overall mission of the library (inasmuch as I can perceive it online). If the application requires only a cover letter, resume, it takes me about two hours–most of which is spent crafting my cover letter. If it requires the slog through an online application, that usually takes another hour or two on there. Additional supplementary essay-type questions will also add another two or three hours–I’m a writer, so I obsess over every. little. word.

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?

Be straightforward and honest about their expectations AND what they’re bringing to the table in regards to salary, benefits, professional development opportunities, etc.

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

Updates help. Also eliminating the ridiculous boilerplate application process helps (though I understand why some institutions sill use it.)

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I see a lot of answers here stating that having an inside connection helps, and I don’t doubt that it does, but I’ve been fairly successful in applying for and being offered jobs and where I’ve known no one internally.

So my answer, pat as it may sound is, be the best you you can be. Be prepared. Be overprepared, actually.

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

Some of the younger people I’ve interviewed are painfully awkward in general conversation

South African Public Library, n.d. This anonymous interview is with a public 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:

Technical services, collection development, reference, public services (children’s and teen).

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an urban area in the Western 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)

4

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Library Management
√ Digital Collections
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

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

Soft skills, but that may be a generational thing. I’m going to sound like an old coot, but some of the younger people I’ve interviewed are painfully awkward in general conversation. How can I expect good customer service from someone who is completely introverted? Also, the art of the reference interview/reader’s advisory seems to have diminished some.

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

√ No preference–as long as they have the skill, I don’t care how they got it

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

Working with a diverse public. Often you don’t really get it until you experience it.

 

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

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum

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

Any of the top 5.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

I haven’t been blown away by students from University of North Texas. Of all my interviews, they’ve been the least-prepared for a career in libraries-unless they’re already working in one.

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

Diversify. Learn a bit of everything, especially technology.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey, or specific analysis of the responses discussing online school, the amount of coursework students should take, and preferences/reluctances for candidates from certain schools.

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

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

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Public, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Traditional positions like bibliographer or reference librarian are dying

Young boy tending freshly stocked fruit and vegetable stand at Center Market, 02181915This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Tech Services librarians and systems/programmer professionals (not librarian positions).

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in an urban area in the Western 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?

√ 26-50 %

And how would you define “hirable”?

Meeting minimum qualifications and having a decently written cover letter and resume.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Search committee does all the evaluation, using a rubric. If committee allows someone who doesn’t meet qualifications, HR will question that decision later.

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

Not meeting minimum qualifications, especially work 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?

Read job description! Make sure you meet the minimum qualifications. Tailor your cover letter for the particular job you are applying for, and get someone to proofread it and your resume.

I want to hire someone who is

competent

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?

√ 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?

√ 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?

Yes – it’s just what happens in practice.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Traditional positions like bibliographer or reference librarian are dying, but other roles are emerging, especially in technology-related areas.

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, Western US

I don’t really think of librarianship as a profession.

View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW (Ca. 1880) MarketThis 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:

People who kick ass.

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

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?

√ Other: Maybe one or two

And how would you define “hirable”?

We want to be so excited about the candidate that we want to make an offer before someone else does. Very few candidates fit that criteria.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We see all of the applications
We use a search committee
We evaluate each candidate based on the qualifications in the job ad. For example, for “Ability to build rapport with campus stakeholders” we would like to see evidence in the resume/letter that the person can influence and build relationships with non-library people.

Our on campus interview is almost completely about “fit”. Do we want to work with them. Would they like working here? Do they want to work with us?

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

Generic cover letter/resume which translates into too much emphasis on them and too little emphasis on how they fit what we need. Very few people put in the time and effort to make a tight connection between what we need and what they can offer.

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

√ No

I want to hire someone who is

hungry

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?

√ 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 more 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?

Depends on what you mean by “experience”. We will take non-professional academic library experience (e.g. internship).

(Is librarianship a dying profession?) Why or why not?

I don’t really think of librarianship as a profession.

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 0-10 staff members, Academic, State of the Job Market 2015, Urban area, Western US

Dear Crowds, Remember Me? Resume/CV Review

Are you interested in getting a lot of eyes on your resume or CV?

Sounds like you could use Hiring Librarians’ crowdsourced Resume/CV review, For Public Review.

Here’s how it works:

We’ll post resumes or CVs, and invite the public to respond with their feedback in the Comments section.  We’ve got a few ringers – people who hire librarians – who have agreed to regularly review and comment.  However, anyone and everyone on the internet will also be able comment (respectfully – we will do our best to moderate attacks and insults).

We will post resumes or CVs from any LIS job hunter who submits one. However, he or she must agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes/CVs.

To have your resume or CV posted,

  • First take a look at the comments on previously posted resumes/CVs, and see if any would apply to yours.  Edit if necessary.
  • Then send it as a Word document, PDF, PNG or JPEG to hiringlibrariansresumereviewATgmail.
  • It will be posted as-is, so please remove any information that you are not comfortable having publically available (I suggest removing your address and phone number at a minimum).
  • Please include a short statement identifying if it’s a resume or CV and…
  • describing the types of positions you’re using it for (ie institution type, position level, general focus).
  • Finally, you will also need to confirm that you agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes.

This Crowdsourced resource needs your help in order to draw bigger, more diverse crowds and be better resources!  Please consider participating, and/or encouraging your friends and colleagues to do so.

Thanks, as always, for reading and contributing!

irish women's workers union

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