I hate when I have to refill out a separate application with all the same information.

Botany Library, Field Columbian Museum, 1912This 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, Public libraries, Special libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Senior Librarian. This job hunter is in an urban area: in the  Northeastern US, and is willing to move anywhere but, 

Only for the perfect job.

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

Location, type of position, salary

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ.com, ALA Joblist

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 spend between 15-45 minutes per application. I usually don’t rewrite my resume but recycle and revamp a coverletter template. I hate when I have to refill out a separate application with all the same information.

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
√ 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
√ Being able to present

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

Honestly, I’m not sure. I know the places I want to work and where I don’t want to work, so as long as it fits within the type of library I’ll apply.

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

PLEASE tell me when I don’t get a job. Also, be a little flexible with interview times, especially if I’m working.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Right place and the right time, persistence, patience.

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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Job Hunter Follow Up: Marcus Walker

Marcus WalkerMarcus Walker took the Job Hunter’s survey on May 28 2014. His responses appeared as Many of them also have library staff experience, and if there is anyone who should know how valuable that can be, it’s librarians.

Your Background

How long has it been since you got your library degree?

It’s been a little more than a year since I completed the actual work that went into the degree.

How many years of library work experience do you have?

Including my time as an undergraduate library assistant, I have over nine years of experience. Without it, seven.

How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?

About three and a half.

How old are you? 

I’m in my mid-30s.

Your Job Hunt

How long did it take you before you found your job?

It took about six months.

How many positions did you apply to?

Five.

How many interviews did you go on?

One.

What was your work situation while you were job hunting?

I was still employed full-time where I was before.

Were you volunteering anywhere?

No, I wasn’t.

Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?

I didn’t have to travel for any interviews.

Did you decline any offers?

No.

Your Job

What’s your new job?

I’m the Digital Collections Librarian at the University of Louisville Law Library.

Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?

Full-time.

Did you relocate? If so, who paid?

Sure. My desk moved from the middle of the floor to the back.

How did you find the listing for your job?

I was told about the position being created, and I was encouraged to apply for it once it was.

Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?

It did meet the qualifications.

What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?

It was rather humorous, frankly. Since I was applying for a position at the same place I worked, I couldn’t use the references at the library, nor could I be there when the other applicants were.

How did you prepare for the interview(s)?

I looked at the digital collections at the main campus library and at other libraries, and I went over the accomplishments I made, just as I would if it were a job somewhere else. (Want to know something odd? I felt more stressed during that interview than the one I had to get the library assistant position, despite knowing exactly what they were expecting, as it was a position they had wanted to create before I started the first time.)

Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?

Yes. It’s the same library. :-)

Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?

The job is appropriate for my skill set and experience. (It would have been without the degree, too.) And so far, it exceeds my expectations.

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?

You know how you were told as a child that patience is a virtue? Well, so is prudence. ;-)

What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?

I cringe at this, because I know what so many of my fellow new grads and colleagues are going through, but the biggest obstacle was waiting for the position I have to be approved. I applied to other jobs in the meantime, and while I thought my colleagues did like me enough to keep me around, not knowing when the position was coming made me feel just as stressed as if there was no position crawling through university bureaucracy.

What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?

Frankly, they knew me and my work. I was somewhat familiar with one of the applicants from school (as familiar as you can be with someone you take online courses with), and she was brilliant enough to make me worry.

State of the Job Market

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?

Can I change that a bit? I have seen two part-time job announcements that clearly are the same position advertised as different positions in order to keep from paying full-time benefits. Close are the part-time positions that are scheduled an hour (or even a half-hour) short of paying partial benefits. I get it, but, wow.

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

I’m sure you figured this out already, but this job hunt was about as positive of an experience as it could have been. And I still wouldn’t want to go through it again.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

I wouldn’t change it, necessarily, but I would add a suggestion. While I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had a position created in the same library I worked, if I were someone that did not do good work and they did not want around, they could have just as easily given the position to someone else or not have bothered with the position at all. So my suggestion to anyone going to library school or going through library school is, if at all possible, find yourself a job in a library and let your work make a positive impression.

Anything else you want to tell us?

I was on the committee to hire my replacement for the library assistant position. There are a few things I can say, but one stands out, since it was one of my peeves as an applicant: The cover letter does make a difference. Let the committee know why your work experience fits the position, and you will likely outshine three-quarters of the applicants by doing that alone.

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Many of them also have library staff experience, and if there is anyone who should know how valuable that can be, it’s librarians

This post originally appeared on June 9, 2014. A follow up with Mr. Walker will appear shortly.
Marcus WalkerMarcus Walker is a Circulation and Technical Services Library Assistant at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law Library, which he describes as a reasonably casual yet highly functional workplace. In his previous position, he was particularly proud of inventorying over 7800 DVD titles in just over six weeks. Mr. Walker says,

In retrospect, getting my MLS was rather obvious. The two branches of the public library near my childhood home were just as likely of destinations for recreation as anywhere else for me growing up, and I might have been the only ten-year-old in the city who knew how to work a microform machine. Anyhow, I’m just glad to have realized libraries were where I should be, because it’s hard to imagine that I would be any happier in almost any other career.

He is looking in academic libraries, archives and public libraries, at the entry level. When asked about experience with internships/volunteering, he said:

I haven’t had an internship or a volunteer position, but I have had student assistant positions as an undergraduate and six years of paraprofessional experience since.

Mr. Walker is in an urban area in the Southern US, and is willing to move,

though I do have preferences. That being said, if I see a job I really like, I’d move somewhere I otherwise wouldn’t. Likewise, if there is a position somewhere I really want to live, I would consider jobs I might not under other circumstances.

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

The three qualities I want most in a position are that it coincides with my interests, it is located somewhere that I want to live (or at least wouldn’t mind living), and that, given everything, it pays fairly.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, HigherEdJobs, ALA Joblist, Chronicle Vitae

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

√ Other: I don’t necessarily expect it, but it is a red flag when I don’t.

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

When I find a position I like and feel I match up well with, I take a few moments and search the potential employer’s site and the local area, especially if I’m unfamiliar with the university or the city. I bemoan the fact that I have to write yet another cover letter, then I consider how to write it. Once I’ve gotten that to my liking, or more accurately, I don’t completely hate it, I move on to the application. I fill out the application, despite the fact I a) have a resume with most of this information and b) have filled out nearly indistinguishable applications with the exact same data countless times before. Once filled out, I check and re-check it, to make sure it looks correct. Finally, I breathe a sigh of relief when it’s done, followed by an immediate dread that I overlooked a silly spelling mistake or could have improved a sentence in the cover letter somehow. How long does it take? At minimum, a couple of hours. Just as likely, if not more so, I’ll take a couple of days (off and on) to think about and write the application. I want to get it right.

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?

√ Other: I’m not picky, just as long as I hear something.

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?

Pretty please, with sugar on top, keep in mind not everyone is going to have that “two years of post-MLS experience” that seems to be wanted for every so-called entry-level job. (This might have been mentioned once or twice before by other survey takers.) I’m not arrogant enough to presume I’m one of the best candidates, but I personally have years of library experience from before I started my Master’s coursework, which I think is quality experience but rarely, if ever, is accepted in lieu of the post-Master’s work. In getting to know my former classmates, many of them also have library staff experience, and if there is anyone who should know how valuable staff experience can be, it’s librarians… the very people asking for those two years of post-Master’s work.

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

I understand why a resume and an application are wanted — to prevent people from sending out resumes to any open position — but that doesn’t stop the redundancy from being frustrating.

If your screening process is going to take a while, please tell us. I understand having a specific date is not always possible, but if the date is open (i.e., the job is “open until filled”) or has been extended, please let us know if we are still in contention or if you have moved on, so we can move on.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Who hasn’t thought “well, if I knew that, I’d have a job”? :-)

Honestly, though, I think it differs from employer to employer. However, it never seems to hurt if your personality fits in with the overall atmosphere of the employer’s workplace.

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

I have to agree with a previous survey taker that the question about exaggerating on your resume or in the application process seems to be superfluous; it seems… ill-advised to answer that anyway but no.

It might also be worthwhile to have a question about interviewee’s interesting application/interview experiences similar to the “funny stories” question in the Librarians Hire Fashion survey.

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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We need more professionals with the bigger picture and a vision for the future

melanie lightbody
Mel Lightbody has been working in libraries for over 30 years and been a director for over 15. She has worked as a professional librarian in Washington, Oregon and now California. She loves encouraging and mentoring others in the profession.
Melanie Lightbody is a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. She hires the following types of LIS professionals:

children’s and branch managers so far.

She works at a library in a rural 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?

√ Other: 6 to 10 were hirable

And how would you define “hirable”?

Someone who has the mix of experience and skills to fit the position we’re hiring for.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

We only see applicants who score over 70 on the initial screening.This initial screening is done by the County’s HR department. Then the hiring team reviews the applications to decide who to interview.

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

At the HR level, not meeting the minimum qualifications as identified in the official position description. These need to be explicit on the job application.

At our level, not showing any specific interest in the position we’re offering will make us less likely to interview them. Also, our experience with candidates from out of the geographic area has not been great so we may forgo interviewing them unless they show specific interest and experience.

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

√ Other: No, but I’d love to if they asked me

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Know the job description, tailor your application to it as explicitly as possible. Getting through HR pre-screening may a job hunter’s biggest hurdle.

I want to hire someone who is

Open

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?

√ Other: there were less but we’ve added two more the last two years.

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?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

workplace requires two years of experience

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ I don’t know

Why or why not?

We need more professionals with the bigger picture and a vision for the future. It is not about the realities of busy libraries, it is about the perception that libraries are no longer needed because middle-class and up often don’t think they do need them and perhaps they don’t.

Do you have any other comments, for job hunters or about the survey?

Show specific interest in the job you are applying for. Stay away from generic cover letters, resumes and applications.

Do you hire librarians? Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey

Or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

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Filed under Public, Rural area, State of the Job Market 2015, Western US

I did not expect to get the perfect job right away.

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F12-1This 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 worked in an academic library throughout grad school. I did field placements at both academic and public libraries.

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

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

interesting and rewarding job description, decent salary, full time

Where do you look for open positions?

inalj.com, ala jobslist, individual libraries web pages and Facebook accounts, word of mouth.

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?

2 hours. But I spent a lot of time creating individual paragraphs highlighting common strengths for my cover letters. That way I can mix and match with only a few tweaks depending on the library and job description.

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

√ Yes
√ No
√ Other:

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

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

Please email me if I am not going to get an interview!! It is never fun to get the “unfortunately…” email, it is better than having no information at all.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Not just applying to your dream job. I did not expect to get the perfect job right away. I applied to everything I qualified for, even if it was outside of my comfort zone, i.e. in Anchorage!

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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Showing what you can do for the library/company rather than what the library/company will be doing for you.

Cambridge, King's College Library, ca. 1865-ca. 1885This 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, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, Special libraries,   I am open to several information career opportunities  at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I have worked for the last three years in a Medical University library as a Library Associate. .

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

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

Full Time work; Not in my current city; potential to work with digital collections

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, INALJ.com, SLA Job List, SGA listserv, Simmons College Jobline, Archive Gig blog. Library Gig blog, LisList, Library Job Blog, Monster, Indeed, etc. 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 copy and paste the job requirements to a blank word document and carefully address each issue in my cover letter. Double check my resume. Send off the required information via online submission or email. An hour or so.

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?

√ 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
√ Being able to present

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

Be specific and honest about responsibility and goals for the candidate and the reasons they are looking to fill this position.

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

Be clear about what candidates should expect. (Will they be contacted when the position is filled? Is it okay to call/contact the hiring manger? Is there any wiggle room in the job requirements?)

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Showing what you can do for the library/company rather than what the library/company will be doing for you.

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

It would be interesting to see how many jobs job hunters are applying to every week/month.

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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Please read my resume before the interview

Civic library, Newcastle, 1957, Hood collection 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 Six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Public libraries, also nonprofits focused on literacy or education development, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory,  and Other: anything that seems to match with my skill level . This job hunter is in a city/town in the Northeastern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

1. Significant amount of responsibility commensurate with my experience. The chance to expand my knowledge of the field. An opportunity to help people.

2. Healthy, supportive work environment. Good interactions and collaboration between coworkers, managers, supervisors, etc.

3. Salary commensurate with my experience.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ.com
ALA Joblist
USAjobs.gov
Idealist
individual websites of potential employers
various listservs

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 time spent on the application packet depends on the job and what they request. Typical time spent is an hour to an hour and a half tweaking my resume and cover letter. Time is also used to research the potential employer. More time is spent if it is a position that requires me to fill out a standardized application in addition to submitting resume, cover letter, and other supporting materials.

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 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:  If the job announcement has been cancelled

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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

-Be upfront and realistic with job requirements and expectations. It’s discouraging and confusing when I see a long list of advanced job requirements especially for entry level jobs or jobs with low salary. It’s especially confusing when the advanced job requirements don’t seem to match up with the job duties.

-Accurately describe the duties of the position in the job announcement. Along the same lines as my job requirements comment above.

-Provide salary information and work schedule information (part-time, full-time, evening hours, normal 9-5, etc) in the job announcement. Applicants need to know if we can survive off the salary and make it to our shifts. Better to know before wasting our time or the time of employers.

-Look for qualities that a candidate may have acquired/displayed in non-library jobs to fulfill the expectations. I am constantly in awe after talking with many unemployed aspiring librarians after hearing their accomplishments in other fields, volunteer positions, and internships. It’s sad that many employers don’t seem to explore this further but are only concerned with the standard “how many years have you worked as a librarian” question.

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

-Communication and respect! Understand that a lot of time and effort is spent searching and applying for jobs. I’ve had many startling stories from my job search process. Numerous times I’ve had a phone or in-person interviews scheduled and had it cancelled because the hiring manager forgot it was a certain day or time. And then I was subsequently taken out of consideration because I was unable to schedule for later that day. Employers should understand that some of us have full-time or part-time jobs, families, other obligations while in the process of searching for a new position and to show at least some respect towards applicants.

-Please read my resume before the interview. There was an instance where a library committee admitted to me that they hadn’t had the chance to read my resume before the interview and did not present any reason for this. Didn’t make me feel good as I had spent hours on my resume, researching the library, the community, and preparing for the interview.

-State in the job announcement if you are willing to do interviews via phone or Skype. Or if you are solely looking to hire from in-person interviews.

-This is probably an institution requirement, but don’t require an applicant to submit the same information multiple times. I have had to complete a long standardized application through the employer website, then email a resume, and then when I came in for the interview I had to submit a handwritten version of the same standardized application that I did the first time.

-Smile! Applicants want to see people who enjoy their jobs just as much as you want to see energetic and eager applicants. Just the amount of people I have witnessed who seem miserable and the number of hiring managers who complain about current or recent employees makes me terrified for this profession. Smile guys, everything’s going to be ok.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

-Luck!
-Persistence (maybe? hopefully.)
-Networking or already working within the organization
-Proximity (Although I hear it recommended by several in the field that you have to be willing to relocate, which I am more than willing, I’ve also been passed up for positions and told by the hiring manager or committee that the deciding factor was that the person they hired was already in the area and wouldn’t need to move. Ouch.).

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

Maybe interview questions that applicants feel they answered well, or interview questions that stumped them.
Interesting ways that applicants stay current or get library-related experience while unemployed or employed in other fields.

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, Northeastern US, Public