I want to work for an organization that is doing something good for the world.

Hunting party, probably Christchurch district, [ca 1915]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, archives, and special libraries at the following levels: entry level; requiring at least two years of experience.

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

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

1. I want to work for an organization that is doing something good for the world. I currently work as an archivist/special collections librarian for a non-profit that is wonderful on the surface but mismanages its resources, and for the most part does not see the bigger picture. I’d like to actually know that I’m serving the public good. I don’t want to have to convince myself that I am!
2. I’d like to know that there is a chance for upward mobility even if it isn’t at the organization itself. I’d like to be able to constantly learn new skills.
3. Obviously full time, benefits, and permanent status would be wonderful. I’d also like to be in an academic setting with the possibility of tenure.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ is the first place for me. I also go to the sources themselves. I’m in the NY metropolitan area so I’ll go directly to CUNY and other institutes in the area. ALA Joblist, SAA, SLA, etc. I look at all of them.

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?

If it’s a job I really want or I really feel qualified for I’ll spend at least half a day on restructuring my resume (if needed) and writing up my cover letter. I try to write it from scratch and plug in some pieces from previous versions. It’s the best way to ensure I’m not being generic.

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?

√ 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 is the secret to getting hired?

Timing. Send in your packet and wait for the right time to proceed. If you call right after sending it you’ll look a little crazy. If you wait too long you might look like you forgot about it.

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, Suburban area

Interview panelists, please at least act as though you are pleased to be there.

President Roosevelt is now hunting in the Louisiana canebrakes. (LOC)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 more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic and public libraries, at the following levels: requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory,

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US and is willing to move with some limitations

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

Stimulating work that resonates with my areas of interest.
Open communication, inclusion, trust.
Good pay and benefits

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, Library Listservs, Individual websites, such a certain public libraries and colleges, INALJ, Facebook (via library groups), Linkedin.

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?

Usually a few weeks. Part of this is research, part is writing my cover letter and updating my CV. The least amount of time I’ve spent on a job application is one day.

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)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

Interview panelists, please at least act as though you are pleased to be there. I have been interviewed by three different panels recently. There has been at least one person in each panel who has a grumpy look on their face or a disinterested air about them. I have worked hard to get to this stage, done my research, spent hours on my application, and decided on an appropriate wardrobe, and it’s very difficult to speak to a group of people who asked me there, only to find one of them looks as if they would rather have stayed home.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being prepared, knowing someone, timing.

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, Urban area, Western US

I have the skills to learn a new ILS very quickly

elise lafosseElise Lafosse began her career as a law librarian, working in in law firm libraries from 1985 to 1997. She then discovered the field of prospect research (where a prospect researcher identifies and provides biographical, professional and financial information on potential donors to an organization by searching various online databases and websites on the Internet) and worked in that field from 1997 until May 2014, when her position was eliminated. She has since been job hunting in academic and public libraries at the entry level, and updating her library skills by taking courses at the CT State Library, Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and Cotton Gloves Research. She also volunteers at the Auerbach Art Library at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, helping to catalog a bequest of art books and art catalogues to the library. Ms. Lafosse is in an urban area in the Northeastern US and is not willing to move.

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

Good hard-working people.
Comfortable happy environment.
Opportunity to learn new skills.

Where do you look for open positions?

Connecticut Library Consortium Job List
INALJ.com

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 read the job announcement carefully, highlight key points. I write a cover letter that addresses the key points.

Recently, I have adopted a new way of writing cover letters where I create a table containing two columns and multiple rows. The left column is titled Requirements, and it is where I list the requirements from the job announcement in a separate row. The second column is titled Skills and lists my skills and experience that fit the requirement on that row.

Then I fill out the application. If the application is a non-editable Adobe PDF, I use the Foxit PDF Reader which allows you to download the application and use the typewriter feature to type the applications.

Then either I email or mail the cover letter, resume, written references and application.

Then I sometimes follow up in a few weeks to find out the status of my application. Sometimes that process is frustrating. I followed up yesterday re a position, the woman was nice and said she would find out, and then I never heard back. I decided to leave it for now. Maybe I will follow up in a week 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 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
√ To inform me when 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 employers need to be more flexible regarding absolute must skills. I have been trying to get a position in a public library, however frequently they demand that the applicant know a particular ILS. Personally, I think I have the skills to learn a new ILS very quickly. I keep trying to convince them of that in my cover letter. So far, no go. I think employers might be ruling out good people simply because they do not have one particular skill.

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

I think employers should

1. Always inform the applicant that she or he did not get the job, instead of leaving the applicant hanging out there.

2. Always thank the applicant for coming in to interview, even if that person was not selected for the position.

I interviewed with three people for a position, then never got a thank you or even a notice that I was not hired. I found it incredibly rude, especially since I had sent a thank you letter to each interviewer. I am glad I am not working at an institution where people are so inconsiderate.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being a strong interviewer. I am working on getting stronger in that arena.

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

I have an MLS which I received in 1988. For the past several years, I have been working as a development researcher. When I lost my job recently, I decided I wanted to return to librarianship. I am having trouble finding a job in a library, entry level or other, because I don’t know the ILS or just have been out of the field for awhile. Before I became a development researcher, I was a reference law librarian. I really do not want to return to law libraries and would prefer to find a job in a public library.

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, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Public, Urban area

some of the applicants/interviewees I get are awful and clueless.

Keene High School, (Keene Academy), Keene, New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Young adult librarians

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in an city/town in the Midwestern 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
√ Grant Writing
√ Collection Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships

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

Outreach, understanding what outreach is, how to reach out to underserved parts of the community etc. Keeping up with technology and how to use it. Marketing, not every library has a graphic designer or PR person you may be making your own flyers and writing your own blurbs have a bit of knowledge of the software you can use, basic graphic design and how to approach different when you’re writing really helps. Some interview coaching would be nice too. (This a public library perspective)

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 specific software/online tools work at the library. How programming/events cycle works. I would want person to have basics/background and then would fine tune through additional training/experience. Knowledge of different types of tech and would expect them to keep learning more and keep up to date. Ordering/selecting/weeding is much easier to understand when you take a hands on approach.

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)?

I don’t care where they went. It’s what they’ve done or hope to do.

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

No

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

Get a job in a library, do field work, volunteer, know about the area you want to go into, be up to date on it. Stay up on trends, try new things out. Just because you like to read doesn’t mean you should be a librarian.

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

It’s great what you guys are doing because some of the applicants/interviewees I get are awful and clueless.

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 100-200 staff members, City/town, Midwestern US, Public, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

If we ask for feedback, it’s not that we are going to file lawsuit or anything like that

Hunting Season, 1918This 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 and public libraries, at the following levels: entry level : Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I’ve done various on-call and part-time temporary librarian gigs. I would like a full-time, permanent position as a librarian.

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

but only in the same general geographic location

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

Something I enjoy
Something that utilizes my skills
Something that pays decent

Where do you look for open positions?

Listservs
Local library job websites

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?

Research the organization I’m applying for, tailor my resume, cover letter, and application to the given position.

Time varies widely. It depends on how familiar I already am with the organization I’m applying to and how lengthy the application is. Can be anywhere from an hour or two up to 10-12 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

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 specific as to what you’re looking for in candidates. Don’t make us guess what you want.

If possible, don’t make us fill a lengthy application if its basically just duplicating what’s already on the resume and cover letter.

Encourage candidates to submit supplemental materials that highlight their skills.

Post job ads where the best candidates are likely to find it, such as listservs or professional journals.

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

If we did not get the position, give us more specific and concrete feedback as to why we did not get it or how we can be stronger candidate for future positions. Don’t just give us something vague like the successful candidate had exactly what we were looking for or had more experience. Specifically, what kind of experience should I gain more of to increase my likelihood of getting hired next time? Was there anything I could do to present myself better in the interview?

If we ask for feedback, it’s not that we are going to file lawsuit or anything like that. We just want to know how to better ourselves for next time.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I feel like I’m doing all the right things and still falling short of landing that dream job. I

Since the only feedback I get is so vague, it’s hard to know I just need to gain more experience and present myself better in the interview or if its just due to factors beyond my control like being in the wrong place at the wrong time or exceptionally strong competition.

I think the secret is probably a combination of experience, personality, confidence, and a lot of luck.

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 am at a loss as to why I am unable to land a full time position.

President Roosevelt is now hunting in the Louisiana canebrakes. (LOC)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 more than 18 months. This person is looking in academic, public 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:

Graduated 7 years ago 3.98
4 years public library
9 years academic library
5 years school library

This job hunter is in an rural area in the Southern US, and is not willing to relocate.

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

Driving distance from my home.
A living wage.
Full-time.

Where do you look for open positions?

State Library website
MLIS school website
Linked in
ALA listserv
NCLA listserv
monster.com
networking
nearby county and local library websites

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?

I individualize a cover letter for each job application. It takes a day or two to get all the paperwork submitted and references briefed and notified that they may be contacted.

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?

√ 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?

My personal pet peeve is when employers put you through the application process when they already have a candidate in mind (internal hire or otherwise). Please don’t waste my time.

They should contact references to get a feel for how talented and dependable a potential hire is. As well as looking at employment history and skill set.

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

Communication. When is the deadline for applications? When and how will I be notified if I am considered/not considered for a position.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I have not been successful in getting hired. I have years of experience. I have excellent references. I have had my resume and interview technique reviewed by HR professionals and library directors and teachers. I am at a loss as to why I am unable to land a full time position. I will keep trying.

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, Rural area, Southern US

Try not to specialize too early.

Blumengart School Children 1963This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

children’s, teen, adult services, some specialization like cataloging or electronic services. also supervisors of these, such as branch managers.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a suburban 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)

2

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

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Grant Writing
√ Project Management
√ Programming (Events)
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Readers’ Advisory
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Outreach
√ Marketing
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships
√ Other: Youth Services

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

project management
marketing
communication
change (dealing with/managing)

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

√ Other: Depends on the skill, If pressed would go with on the job.

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

Technical skills – manipulating particular software like an ILS for example.
Customer service – while I wish that schools would teach it, the reality is that most people have to learn those skills on the job.

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

√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation

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

try not to specialize too early – you may think that you only want to work in an academic setting for example, but if you only take those kinds of courses you’ll miss out on a lot.

while i didn’t consider organizational involvement a requirement, it will definitely give you a leg up when interviewing.

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

Leave a comment

Filed under 50-100 staff members, Public, Suburban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School