Pays a professional wage (not $15 an hour requiring a MLIS degree, like two positions open in my area).

A hunter and his dog quail hunting De Funiak Springs, FloridaThis 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 less than six months. This person is looking in academic and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

Volunteer for over two years at a public law library (in fifth year of a hiring freeze) and intern at law school library for almost a year (hiring freeze for open positions not requiring a J.D,) These positions gave me a lot of experience in reference, access, and technical services. It is important to me to be working in a library while looking for a job, even if I am not getting paid.

Also, I volunteer at a local library doing cataloging. Previously, I help with cataloging and access services at two elementary school libraries.

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

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

Offers and encourages professional development.
Pays a professional wage (not $15 an hour requiring a MLIS degree, like two positions open in my area).
Does not require relocating..

Where do you look for open positions?

Professional listservs.
Indeed.
Websites of universities and colleges in my area

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?

Review library’s website noting staff, mission and vision, and library services.
Revise resume to highlight and expand upon qualifications and experience required for the position.
I spend too much time getting each out; the process usually takes no less than six hours.

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
√ Other:

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?

Include position with ALA Joblist and local professional librarian organizations that relate to library type.

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

Hire me! Let applicants know where they are in the process so we are not waiting for weeks without word.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Networking.

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

No–but I want to thank you for your blog!

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, Rural area

It doesn’t take too long to send a form email to people

Ptarmagin HunterThis 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 public and special libraries, at the entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I did a few library internships in undergrad, and I also worked part-time in a library for all of undergrad. In library school, I found it difficult to find work the first year but I now work as a library page at the public library, and I also volunteer with computer classes. I am also doing an unpaid remote internship with the State Department.

This job hunter is in a city/town in the Southern US, and is willing to move,

but only to urban or city locations, preferably on the east coast.

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

A desirable location, varied tasks, and opportunities for advancement.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, INALJ, listserves

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

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

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
√ 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

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

Regular contact with the applications, even if they aren’t selected. It doesn’t take too long to send a form email to people who aren’t asked for an interview or chosen for the job, but saves a lot of stress for the applicants.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Give a good interview. Even if you aren’t the most qualified applicant, rapport with your hiring manager and co-workers, and seeming personable in general, can matter even more.

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Southern US

Further Questions: Since it’s impossible to address everything in a cover letter, what portions of the ads should be focused on?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Job advertisements are often long, especially in academia, and often contain a lot of information including a position description, qualifications (desired or required), salary, schedule, etc. Since it’s impossible to address everything in a cover letter, what portions of the ads should be focused on? What tips do you have for breaking down large ads? Feel free to bring in examples from past job ads.

Laurie PhillipsIn our case, we need the person to address all of the required qualifications and any desired that they meet. In academic searches, we expect longer letters (1-2 pages). Don’t make us dig through your resume to find out if you meet the qualifications. We also look at the letter for writing skills. I’m currently conducting a search and I can tell that the people applying are not used to applying for academic positions because the letters are way too short and don’t address the qualifications. The other thing I absolute need to hear from you is why you want THIS job, not just A job. I want to hear that you understand what this job entails and that you are excited about that.

- Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

angelynn kingStart with required qualifications, then preferred qualifications, then address any specializations mentioned (languages, subject background, technical skills, etc.) The position description is often somewhat generic and includes many duties that may not be important or even performed. If you have an MLS, the committee will assume you are functional in all the basic areas, such as cataloging and reference, but if the ad says they’d really like someone who is bilingual and can program in Java, that’s what will make you stand out.

-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

Christine Hage - Dark backgroundI often wonder about libraries that spend big bucks on print advertising. It is slow as you have to fit into a print publication’s schedule and still add 3 or 4 weeks for folks to apply.  It can be very expensive and you unless you run it multiple times people may miss it. I occasionally pay to advertise a non-library type job (facilities manager, accountant, IT manager) in the regional newspaper. When I want a person with an MA in early childhood development I post on The Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children’s job posting list. When I want someone with YA experience I post to PUBYAC.  Otherwise, I advertise through listservs like our state library listserv, PUBLIB, library schools, library systems, and on the pages of recruiters.

If I believe there is someone on staff that I’d like to promote, I only post the position in-house and only for a week.  If there is not a strong in-house candidate I post in a broader forum and in-house candidates can apply, just as anyone else can.

My postings refer candidates to the library’s website where they get a full job description and are asked to attach a cover letter, resume and to fill out one of our job applications online.  If they can’t do that, they don’t have the minimal tech skills for any job we offer and/or can’t follow instructions.

I usually get 20 or more applications and I seldom interview more that 7 or 8 people.

So generally I don’t pay for job postings.  I want people that are looking online, are hooked into the profession and for the most part already live in our area.  We’re fortunate here in Michigan to have two library schools and I don’t remember the last time I hired someone from out-of-state.

- Christine Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library

Marleah AugustineI would suggest focusing on those parts of the ad about which you feel you can be most strongly convincing. Since an application, resume, and cover letter are all about selling yourself, pick out those pieces of the ad — especially in the description and qualifications — that you can most support with examples from your own experience. A vague cover letter is not going to speak as well about you as one that truly outlines examples about HOW you can meet the needs of that library and that position. Salary and schedule can be discussed in an interview. Focus on selling your skills and you’ll likely be better off.I would suggest focusing on those parts of the ad about which you feel you can be most strongly convincing. Since an application, resume, and cover letter are all about selling yourself, pick out those pieces of the ad — especially in the description and qualifications — that you can most support with examples from your own experience. A vague cover letter is not going to speak as well about you as one that truly outlines examples about HOW you can meet the needs of that library and that position. Salary and schedule can be discussed in an interview. Focus on selling your skills and you’ll likely be better off. - Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Celia RabinowitzIn my opinion, and as someone who has read  A LOT of cover letters, one of the most important things to address in a cover letter is something not explicitly addressed in the job ad.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

First I would advise that you not spend a lot of time on the academic credentials.  If that is clear on your CV/resume (and it should be) there is no reason to repeat that information in your letter.  If the ad includes specific qualifications (required or desired) address some of those by using short examples if you can (from work or even a library school course).

Be selective.  Again, don’t write a lot about what is clear from your resume.  Be sure to refer to specific required qualifications and then tell me something your resume does not.  Most important – please, please, tell me why the job at my library interests you and why you think you make a good candidate.  Be sure that I can tell you took time to learn something about my library and institution.

I want to finish reading your letter wanting to know more about you. Meeting specification in the ad is important, but telling me about who you are and why you want this job might just clinch the deal.

- Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH.

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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Filed under Further Questions

Make on-line applications and resume downloading easier to navigate

A hunter and his dog quail hunting De Funiak Springs, FloridaThis 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 more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, public, special libraries and technical services, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Midwestern US, and when asked if willing to move for employment, responded:

depends on situation

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

1. salary & benefits
2. location to residence
3. career development

Where do you look for open positions?

job posting sites such as Monster, Careerbuilder, Lisjobs, Linkedin, local government, corporate.

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?

Depends on complexity, but usually at least an hour.

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
√ Being able to present

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

Communicate the nature and duties of the job, the expectations for skill development, growth potential, job flexibility, workplace culture, and workplace diversity.

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

Clear communications. Realistic description of the job and duties, etc. Make on-line applications and resume downloading easier to navigate. Define the stages of the application process and when, or if a candidate can expect a response within a certain time period.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Adaptable skills, personality, value to employer, and knowledge of the employer’s needs.

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

Some questions on entry level, non-degree positions and job search.

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, Midwestern US, Urban area

I tend to value applying to many different jobs, over agonizing over one specific application.

Hunting with dogsThis 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: entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I interned for the a major urban library and have been volunteering for them for almost a year.

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?

Decent pay, enough to live on without worrying about the rent.

Proactive co-workers who want to provide services to all members of the community.

Ideally an entry level position with a supervisor who can help train me.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA joblist, indeed.com, inalj.com, my grad school listserv, and state library job banks

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 anywhere from half an hour to 2 hours. I tend to value applying to many different jobs, over agonizing over one specific application.

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 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?

Make sure that the application process isn’t needlessly convoluted. List the job in the major places, such as ala job list.

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

Why all the lengthy application pages? Some places seem to do fine with just resume/ cover letter, so I am confused why some places require extensive applications.

Make sure that the website actually works. Hard to apply to a job when it isn’t possible to upload my required resume.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Having enough experience and clicking with the people doing the hiring. Knowing someone helps, but isn’t necessary or always sufficient.

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

I have been pleasantly surprised by the hiring process within libraries. Yes, aspects are frustrating and I would like if every job got back to me quickly, but compared to my experiences before in other fields, it has been better.

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, Urban area

stop focusing so much on technology

Keene High School (old) Students, Keene, New HampshireThis 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 & instruction librarians, cataloger, subject liaisons, assistant director, archivist

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Midwestern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ No

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

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

√ Cataloging
√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Digital Collections
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ 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?

how to teach, a basic understanding of cataloging and the organization of information, an understanding of how all the departments of the library “fit” together.

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

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

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

how to use the ILS system, how to weed a collection

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

√ Library work experience
√ Professional organization involvement
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

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

not sure

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

Yes — any school that does not require students to take a reference course and a cataloging course.

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

Don’t focus just on technology — be well-rounded

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

For library schools — stop focusing so much on technology. There are other things that are more important, like the ability to conduct a good reference interview, or to understand how to organize information

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

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

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

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, City/town, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

My last interview was 9 straight hours of face time except for going to the bathroom

Goose hunting in Klamath County, Oregon, OSU Special Collections via Flickr CommonsThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not currently employed, 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 archives. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I interned at two local historical societies for projects. Both started as volunteer, but one progressed to a wage position for a set-length project.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the Midwestern US and when asked if willing to move, replied

not at first, but now considering it

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

Location, Location, Location

Where do you look for open positions?

SAA joblist
department emails
University job sites
discipline specific job sites

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 have a few portfolios ready to go with education, experience, skills, and projects. I also have a few letter templates that I start with and edit for specific positions. It took many days to make the initial documents. Maybe 40 hours. I now spend the most time on each cover letter -maybe 5 hours each.

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

√ Other: I unintentionally made it seem like I had written multiple grants, when I had only written 1. I was asked about it, and it was awkward.

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

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

I think that reaching out to departments, and even individuals can work. If they know what they are looking for, why not initiate some of the searching rather than waiting for applicants to find you?

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

Going out to lunch is sort of tiring during a long day. My last interview was 9 straight hours of face time except for going to the bathroom. I would prefer to eat by myself and get a nice break- then meeting up again afterwards.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I don’t want to sound cynical, but it seems like having friends in the right places seems to work the majority of the time.

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, Midwestern US, Urban area