Tag Archives: Employment

Livable Location, Entry Level

Shooting PartyThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field).  This person is looking in Academic libraries, at the entry level. This person describes his or her experience with internships/volunteering as:

Community college

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

to places my spouse will live.

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

Reference and instruction position
Livable location
Entry level

Where do you look for open positions?

RSS feeds
Listserv
INALJ

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

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be)

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

Two hours minimum

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

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)?

√ Being able to present

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

Thorough job descriptions

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

Be more communicative.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing the right people

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

I just want the job or to be let out the door so I can find my job

Mr. Leatherman, homesteader, shooting hawks which have been carrying away his chickens, Pie Town, New MexicoThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), and has been hired within the last two months. This person had/has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendor/service providers, Public libraries, Special libraries, and Corporations, at the following levels: Entry level , Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, Senior Librarian, Branch Manager, Director/Dean,

(I have a lot of management experience so I really branch out a lot.)

Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

Recent grad. Volunteer at academic library’s digital initiatives. Internship at a public library’s reference department.

This job hunter is in a rural area of the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

Enough pay to survive on… not get rich, just live comfortably.
Variety. I want a position that touches on multiple areas of the library, not just one little corner.
A position with promotion potential. Not that I wouldn’t be happy as a reference librarian my entire life, but I want to be able to move up and be a director too!

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ. RAILS. ALA Joblist.

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 the job. If they are specific and detailed in the items that they list I will spend days on it. If they are generic, so am I.

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?

√ 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)?

√ Other: Don’t waste my time or yours. If I’m not your guy, I don’t need or want to go through a process like this. I just want the job or to be let out the door so I can find my job. I have more important things to do than take a tour or meet people I’m not going to be co-workers of.

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

Be specific. How is your library different? I see hundreds of jobs every day… why is yours so special? What kind of personality are you looking for? What kind of experience will you accept? Don’t shoot for the stars if your pay is in the dirt.

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

Remove the fluff. Take out the tours, take out the meet/greet. Just focus on the skills and what you’re looking for. And try asking some legitimate questions. Don’t focus on the traditional cookie cutter questions, or your off the wall what would you read type of questions. Focus on the job and how best to get it done. Look for philosophical differences, etc. And give a candidate a chance to rebuttal the other candidates. You might not hire me over another person because of some stupid error… give me a chance to argue my point against theirs. In other words, maybe bring us back and clarify. Give me a chance to prove my point.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

You need to be a salesman. I’ll be blunt here. I’m a better worker than 3/4 of the people out there. I have great ideas, I’m dedicated, I’m will work faster and harder with more attention to detail than most out there… But I wont get hired because I’m not a salesman. I’ve lost out on three jobs because I couldn’t sell myself as well as the others, yet I could have done it better and for cheaper. As a hiring manager you need to look past the used car salesman and look at the credentials, the references, the history. Because I would be the best employee you’ve ever had but you wont ever give me a chance. I may not look or sound like a traditional library student but let me tell you… I am the future of this field and if you can’t adjust you’re going to end up being part of the problem instead of the solution.

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

The problem with the library process is really two things. First, they want way to much experience for positions that a new grad could realistically do…. and probably just as well if not better than its being done now and for less money. And Second, the amount of money that is being offered isn’t enough to pay for the schooling I just put a couple years into getting. And, when it is enough, its only part time. I understand the budget process but there comes a point when you need to stand up and say to the board, you can either have quality or quantity… you choose.

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Other Organization or Library Type, Public, Rural area, Special

Library School Career Center: University of Pittsburgh

Hey look!  A new installment of the Library School Career Center feature! This is presented in partnership with the folks from the blog Hack Library School.  If you’re interested in library education, or in new ideas and the future of the profession, you should check it out.  


This interview is with Wes Lipschultz, Manager of Student Services in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.

Career Center Information

Who staffs the career center?  Please talk a little about how it is managed and run.

Our career support comes from three sources:

1) A centralized career development and placement assistance office at the University of Pittsburgh which hosts two liaisons to our School – one focused on career development (resume, cover letter, interview etiquette, mock interviews, monitoring your social media presence, etc.), and one focused on job placement (developing relationships with employers, connecting our students with those employers, etc.).

2) Student Services staff who host monthly professional development sessions (building a portfolio, looking at “outside the box” careers, how to network, etc.), and

3) A cadre of willing alumni/ae who have agreed to review resumes/cover letters/conduct mock phone interviews on an ongoing basis with our current students.

Are there “career experts” on staff?  What are their credentials?

The two liaisons to our school are career experts; their positions, experience, and professional associations are focused entirely on career development and employer relations.

Does the career center provide any of the following:

√ Job Listings                      √ Resume/CV Review                   √ Help writing cover letters

√ Interview Practice                        √ Networking events

Do you provide in-person services?

√ Appointments                                          √ Speakers, or programs that present experts

√ Mixers or other networking events          √ Job Fairs

√  Drop-in career center: Our liaisons are available M-F 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Do you provide online services?

√ Website with resources   √ Newsletter

√ Twitter: @ischool_pitt

√ LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups/School-Information-Sciences-Pitt-41203/about

√ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ischoolpitt

What do you think is the best way for students to use the career center?

Students should attend our monthly professional development sessions and avail themselves of the assistance of our career development liaison from the start. They may also wish to consider beginning to develop a professional portfolio during their first semester. As they gain more experience (through field experiences, volunteer work, and/or other formal or informal practical experience opportunities), they may wish to attend our professional development day and practice mock interviews with current alumni/ae. They then should begin to have our alumni/ae review their resumes, cover letters, etc. They should monitor our Facebook, LinkedIn, and listserv postings for job opportunities, and they can use the University’s central job database, FutureLinks, to access more general job postings as well.

May alumni use career center resources?

Alumni can attend our professional development sessions for free and can access FutureLinks for a nominal fee.

Are there any charges for services?

Yes – a nominal fee.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using the career center?

One “outside the box” case was particularly interesting.  I was contacted by a local finance firm that was looking for someone to assist them in sorting through their documents, policies, records, etc. with the goal of coming up with an introduction and training manual for their employees. I posted this need to our listserv and was contacted by an MLIS student who had prior experience managing items in a museum. The fit seemed perfect to me, and the employer agreed. She was hired!

Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your services in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

We wish to continue to sustain relationships between our MLIS students and traditional employment settings, but we are also noticing (and excited about) the fact that less traditional employers in Pittsburgh seem to face a growing need for the skills our MLIS graduates possess.  We are working on making connections with these employers and we are also trying to help our students realize that there are relevant and interesting opportunities in such settings as well.

Students’ Career Paths

Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?

All information pertaining to employment and employment statistics for our school can be found here: http://www.ischool.pitt.edu/about/career-resources.php

Can you talk a little bit about the school’s approach to internships, practicums and/or volunteering?

Pittsburgh has a rich cultural infrastructure worthy of a city many times its size.  As such, we have many opportunities for relevant experience for our students. We call our credit-bearing internships/practica “field experiences” and our students are encouraged to choose this option as part of their degree (all specializations allow for this as part of the degree requirements). We also have, on a very competitive and space-limited basis, the Partners Program.  This program is akin to a co-op for graduate students.  When a student is chosen for this program, they are placed in a local employment setting relevant to their degree for an entire year.  The student works between 10-20 hours a week in this setting and in turn typically receives a partial tuition scholarship.

Does the school have a stated approach or policy on helping students to find careers?

Our approach is multi-faceted and involves school staff, career staff, and alumni/ae of the School.  We want our students to be able to clearly articulate the skills they develop and map them to both traditional and nontraditional career settings.

Does the school have any relationships with organizations that offer fellowships or other post-graduate opportunities?

Yes – our faculty, staff, and liaisons are all connected with different potential employers, but as we become aware, we share job postings with each other and these postings make their way to our listservs.

Are there any notable graduates?

We have many alumni/ae who are known and respected in their profession. Each year we highlight those whose personal and professional achievements we deem as outstanding here:

http://www.ischool.pitt.edu/alumni/about/laureates.php

Demographics

How many students in the library school?

We are an iSchool. The iSchool comprises between 700-800 students total in a given year.  About 150 of those are undergraduates, 80 are doctoral students, and the rest are Master’s or certificate students. Of those, 250-300 are MLIS students.

What degree(s) do you offer?

In Information Science we offer an undergraduate degree, a Master’s, a post-Master’s certificate, and a doctorate.

In Telecommunications we offer a Master’s, a post-Master’s certificate, and a doctorate.

In Library and Information Science we offer a Master’s, a post-Master’s certificate, and a doctorate.

Is it ALA accredited?

Our LIS program is ALA accredited.

What are the entrance requirements?

Please see this site for our most current requirements for our on-campus MLIS degree:

http://www.ischool.pitt.edu/lis/degrees/mlis-admissions.php

…and this site for our most current requirements for our online MLIS degree:

http://www.ischool.pitt.edu/online-mlis/admissions/application-process.php

Where are you?

√ Northeastern US

Where are you?

√ Urban area

Anything else you’d like to share that’s unique about the school?

The combination of the rich cultural heritage of Pittsburgh coupled with its small size and “down home” feel makes for a setting that uniquely engages the intellect yet makes you feel like you are family.


Brianna Marshall

This interview was conducted by Brianna Marshall, who is a second year dual-degree Master of Library Science and Master of Information Science student at Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science. She is Managing Editor for Hack Library School and a 2012-2013 HASTAC scholar. Learn more about Brianna through her blog and portfolio or by following her on Twitter @notsosternlib

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Filed under Library School Career Center, MLIS Students, Northeastern US, Urban area

Stop Creating ‘Frankenstein’ Jobs

hunting in the cascadesThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field) and has been hired within the last two months.  This person looked/has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level and Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I don’t have any internship experience; I couldn’t afford to pay tuition for the privilege of working for someone for free. Also in my area, the competition for internships and even volunteer positions is terrible. If you didn’t go to an Ivy League school, U of MD, or have an important family member you don’t get internships in the DC area.

This job hunter is in a suburban area of the Mid-Atlantic US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

A chance to make a professional contribution, the opportunity to grow professionally, and to perform work that provides me with real job satisfaction.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA, SLA, Archive related job sites, Indeed, INALJ, USAJOBS, and anything else I can find.

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

√ Other: At this point, salary isn’t that much of a consideration.

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

I prepare a cover letter, adjust my resume and hope. I don’t spend much more than 30 mins per submission.

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
√ Email
√ Mail
√ Phone for good news, email for bad news
√ Other:

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Other: I’d take anything I was offered.

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

Stop creating ‘Frankenstein’ jobs, where you try to merge what had been several jobs into one person to save money.

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

Respond to all applications in a timely manner.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Frankly, I think its where you went to school, who you know, how old you are, and if you can help the school meet any of its non-work related demographic needs that really determine who gets hired.

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

Only that it is so frustrating to try and get a job when eveyr one wants someone with experience. I recently competed for a job that paid below scale and for which I had both experience and education but didn’t get it. I’ll never know why but I feel that my age and the fact that I worked for the DC public schools play a part. I also think that having gotten my degree from SJSU, getting decent letters of recommendation has proven to be a real problem.

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

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Filed under Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, Other Organization or Library Type, Public, School, Special, Suburban area

Hired Librarians: She Said She Had a “Crush” on Us

Here’s the next post in our Hired Librarians feature, where I interview a recent successful job hunter and the librarian that hired her.  This week I’m interviewing Nicole Tekulve, Information Commons Librarian, and Virginia Cairns, Chair of Search Committee/Head of Reference & Instruction.  Ms. Tekulve and Ms. Cairns are Academic Librarians.

UTC Library

They work at the Lupton Library at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, which is in the Southern US and has 31 staff members.


The Successful Candidate: Nicole Tekulve

Nicole@RefDesk

Where are you in your career?  When did you graduate, and how many years of experience do you have?

I am an early career librarian who graduated in spring of 2011. I have a little under two years of professional experience and about 5 years of paraprofessional experience in public and academic libraries.  

Why did this job pique your interest?

This was actually one of the first questions I was asked in my interview! To begin with, I knew about the UTC Library’s reputation, the innovative projects they worked on, and the type of librarians they employed. I wanted to be a part of team where I would be challenged both intellectually and creatively. I also loved that I would be doing a variety of things- from teaching classes to planning workshops and programs to managing student workers.

How many pages was your resume? Cover letter?

My CV was 3 pages long and my cover letter clocked in at a full page.

What research did you do before submitting your application?

For starters, I did some general research about the library, campus, and community. One of the greatest things about this library is that they are very transparent. The library maintains a wiki with tons of information about the organizational structure and past, current, and future projects. I made sure to pour over that information thoroughly.

I also did more specific research related to information commons. I reviewed books, journal articles, and looked at the webpages of many information commons throughout the country. This helped me define my vision of an information commons.

What did you wear (or – do you have a photo of your outfit)?

I don’t have a photo but here’s a recreation. It’s not the typical pantsuit but I wasn’t interviewing at a place that I considered typical.

 

Can you describe your process in preparing for the interview?

A major part of the interview process was developing and presenting my ideas for programs and services that would further the Information Common’s mission to serve as a collaborative hub for the library and on campus. I spent about a week developing the presentation and then at least two or three days refining and practicing. I even went so far as to record myself giving the presentation on my iPhone and listened to it over and over again while making the 4 hour trek to Chattanooga (I realize this is a little crazy).

I also read through this list of interview questions and thought about some potential answers. There’s no way to know what a search committee will ask but even developing sample answers will help you think quicker on your feet when the interview time comes.

What questions did you ask?

Be prepared for that moment when the search committee asks “do you have any questions?”! The night before the interview I jotted down about ten questions and grouped them according to the different interviews. I had different questions for each of the different groups I was meeting with. Some of the more general questions were things like “What is the biggest challenge facing the library in the coming year?” and “Why do love working at Lupton Library?”. I also made sure to stay engaged throughout the day and ask questions during the more informal moments like the coffee break and lunch.

Why do you think you were hired?  What set you apart from other candidates?

I think it was combination of experience and personality. I had a year’s worth of professional experience under my belt and I could highlight past projects and accomplishments that I felt would appeal to the search committee. I also tried to make sure that I was myself throughout the process. I mentioned Honey Boo Boo in my cover letter to clue them in on my love of pop culture. For my presentation, I included funny pictures (like dogs walking on tightropes) because I wanted to convey my lighthearted side.

Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why you were chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?

As far as general advice, I would  strongly recommend that you have someone review your application materials. It doesn’t have to necessarily be another librarian. My sister comes from the corporate world and has helped me immensely with proofreading and formatting.

I also would suggest that you tailor each cover letter and CV to the position that you are applying for. No two jobs are exactly alike so you’ll want to make sure that you are highlighting how you fit for each position.

The job hunting process is time consuming. When I was applying for a slew of jobs leading up to graduation, I treated it as a part-time job. I would come home from work and search for jobs, draft application materials, and follow-up on applied jobs for at least two hours a day. Be willing to invest time in the process to ensure a positive outcome.

The Hiring Librarian: Virginia Cairns

Virginia Cairns

What stood out in this applicant’s cover letter?

Nicole wrote an excellent cover letter that covered all the bases (highlighted specifics of how she met the requirements of the job). She also indicated that she knew of our library and the work we have been doing (she said she had a “crush” on us). The crowning detail was a reference to Honey Boo Boo. I had to speak with this person after reading her letter. That’s what a good cover letter should do – make me want to meet you, discuss things further and learn more about you.

Did she meet all of the required qualifications listed in the job ad? How many of the desired qualifications did she meet?

Yes. Nicole pretty much met all of them. She was doing a very similar job at another school. Her CV did a great job of outlining the varied duties she was performing in her prior job that matched up with what we were looking for.

In comparison to the rest of the pool, did the applicant have more, less, or about the same years of experience?  What about for the other people you interviewed?

Nicole was right at the top of our pool of candidates. We had probably 3 who shared similar levels of relevant experience and desirable skills.

What was the interview process like?

We phone interview about 10 finalists and then bring anywhere from 2-4 to campus depending. The interview itself is dinner the evening before with the Dean, and then a full day of meetings, a formal presentation, a social hour with the library staff and faculty, campus and library tours, and we close out with a wrap up with the Dean.

What stood out in this applicant’s interview?

Nicole was articulate, she came prepared with questions, she had good examples of projects she had completed and groups she had worked with. She described herself as having a “yes: mentality, which goes a long way in our culture here at UTC. Her presentation was solid and she was clearly comfortable in front of a classroom. She enjoyed interviewing us as much as we enjoyed interviewing her. She established rapport with us very well and had done her homework (she knew who we all were,  by name).

Were there any flags or questions you had about this person’s abilities, and how did they resolve them?

No, Nicole was clearly qualified for the job. And she fits well with our existing team in the instruction department and library-wide.

Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why this candidate was chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?

A good cover letter is the key to making it through the initial onslaught of applicants (in some cases 175+) and landing an interview. Make the letter reflect not only your skills and experience but your personality as well. Get help polishing up both your resume and your cover letter if you feel you need it.

Once you land an interview, do your homework. Learn as much as you can about the library, its services and its people. In the interview, be prepared to treat the day as a two-way conversation – ask us questions just as we are asking you questions. Practice your presentation thoroughly so you’ll be confident and comfortable delivering it. Express your continued interest in the position to the Dean or hiring manager as you wrap up the interview. If possible, follow up with an email or note to the search committee after you get home from the interview, just to cement it as a positive experience and reinforce your interest in the position.


If you’re part of a recent hiree/hiring manager pair who’d be willing to be interviewed for this feature, please contact me.  Or please pass along this request!

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Hired Librarians, Information Literacy Instruction, Southern US

Treat both the position and applicants as professionals

digres hunting lodgeThis 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  a year to 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, Senior Librarian, and Special Librarian.  This job hunter is in an urban area of the Midwestern US, and when asked if willing to move, said:

After relocating for a spouse’s job, relocating for mine would not make sense.

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

Intellectually interesting
A genuine way to make a difference to users
A good place/institution and group of people to work for and with

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA, SAA, SLA, LinkedIn, regional library job boards, INALJ digest, Indeed, Archives Gig, and specific area employers whose jobs don’t make it to any of the above

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

√ Other: I expect it and while its not a red flag, it does give me pause when an employer doesn’t list it, especially if the employer is large.

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

The cover letter (business format) is the piece that takes the longest every time since it is customized. My resume/CV usually stays pretty consistent from packet to packet unless I see the need to alter it to emphasize skills the employer is looking for.

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

√ No

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me
√ Other:  I only expect selection-stage contact if the applicant pool is large.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: All of the above is fine; whatever works for the employer.

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?

Be honest and upfront. Say what the salary range is from the get-go. Treat both the position and applicants as professionals. Treating a job as a para-professional position when you clearly require professional (and mid-career professional at that) qualifications is unfair and disrespectful to applicants and the institution in the long run since it won’t be able to attract the top candidates.

If you are an academic institution, don’t automatically discount someone who hasn’t spent their entire career in academia.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Who knows. If I knew that, I’d be a millionaire.

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

Researcher’s Corner: What are the Qualifications for an Entry-Level Music Librarian?

I’m pleased to introduce another guest post by Joe Clark, who described his research into nine years of job postings on the Music Library Association Job List and identified job trends for us here.

This post delves more deeply into the specific qualifications desired in entry-level positions.  While his research is specific to music librarians, I think there are wider implications for entry-level expectations across disciplines.

Please do click through and read his more formal account of this research, which was published last March in the journal of the Music Library Association. Notes is open access, so the entire article is available online here for free.


So you graduate with your M.L.I.S. degree ready to land your first professional job, but realize that institutions are asking for skills and experiences you didn’t learn in graduate school. Now what?

A firm understanding of the skills, knowledge, and experiences that employers want will give you a leg up in a tight job market. Not only does music librarianship require subject-specific knowledge, but sub-fields within music librarianship differ in required and desired abilities and experiences.

The Study

I examined all of the position announcements on the Music Library Association’s Placement Service Job List from 2008 through 2011 and identified those open to entry-level librarians. I then classed each position into one of five types: 1) public service, 2) cataloging, 3) administrative, 4) hybrid, or 5) archival. Hybrid positions involve work in both public and technical services, while administrative librarians might run a small library as well as catalog, provide reference, and supervise staff and budgets.

I recorded the required and desired traits, abilities, knowledge, and experience for each position by job type, and then compiled the data. I also totaled the numbers for all of the music library positions, which provided a broad picture of what employers wanted in music librarianship entry-level hires. I broke traits sought into the following categories: education, personal attributes, social attributes, experience, general knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), and technological KSAs.

Results

Most of the entry-level music librarianship positions were in academic librarianship (95%). Twenty-eight percent of the vacancies were in public services, while the remaining four job types comprised between 17 and 19 percent of the advertisements.

As I examined all of the entry-level positions, it became quite clear what employers wanted in terms of education (other than the M.L.I.S. degree, which was a prerequisite for all of the jobs): 72% of positions required or preferred an undergraduate degree in music or the equivalent, and 40% desired a second graduate degree in music. Some public service and archival posts sought completion of music/arts library classes, while 27% of cataloging vacancies required cataloging coursework. A course in archival/preservation techniques was listed in 10% of all vacancies, and this figure was over half for jobs in archival environments.

The most commonly listed personal attributes included organizational skills/ability to prioritize, self-motivation, and flexibility/ability to handle multiple demands. Aptitude for scholarly production and professional development and analytical/problem solving skills appeared less frequently.

Excellent written and oral skills was the most commonly listed trait and the top social attribute. Other required or preferred social attributes included collaborative skills and a strong commitment to public services.

Previous library experience was desired in 42% of the listings, and appeared most commonly in administrative positions and least frequently in public service jobs. Experience with specific skills were also sought; cataloging was required or preferred in 36% of the announcements, and 30% wanted experience in reference and instruction.

The most common general KSA was reading knowledge of foreign languages, required for 25% and preferred for 19% of the jobs. Many of the other general KSAs were specific to the job responsibilities; for example, knowledge of AACR2, LCSH, and MARC21 was needed for positions that involved cataloging (including archive and hybrid posts).

Conclusions

In conclusion, institutions are looking for more than just an M.L.I.S.; they seek well-rounded individuals who can effectively communicate, collaborates, prioritizes, values excellent services, and self-motivates. These skills are in addition to subject expertise, which is highly valued in music librarianship. One should keep in mind that search committee members may want to see other qualifications not mentioned in advertisements.

The entire article, “What Employers Want: Entry-Level Qualifications for Music Librarians,” was published in the March 2013 issue of Notes (69:3), pages 472-493. All preferred and required qualifications for each job type that appeared in more than 8% of the announcements are detailed in the original article.  Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.


Joe Clark

Joe Clark is the Head of the Performing Arts Library at Kent State University. He has published articles in Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association, Fontes Artis Musicae, Serials Review, Journal of Library Innovation and The Journal of Academic Librarianship. His research interests include employment trends in music librarianship, collection management, library administration, and American music. He is currently the Placement Officer for the Music Library Association.

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Hired Librarians: Who doesn’t want a “…technically savvy and customer-focused librarian!”

This post continues the feature Hired Librarians, wherein we hear from both a successful candidate and the librarian that hired her.  This post features Catisha Benjamin, the new Digital Acquisitions/Collections Development Librarian at Jones eGlobal Library, and Scott Wiebensohn, Manager of Library Services, the hiring librarian.  

Jones eGlobal Library

Jones eGlobal Library is a special library, located in Centennial, Colorado but with clients all over the world.  It has 13 staff members, and it’s growing.


The Successful Candidate: Catisha Benjamin

Catisha Benjamin

Where are you in your career? When did you graduate, and how many years of experience do you have?

I graduated from the University of Denver August of 2006 with over 5 years of experience I am currently a Digital Acquisitions/Collections Development Librarian, working to create and enhance K-12 digital libraries. For the past three years I have been employed in the elementary and secondary field, which prepared me for my positions I currently hold. I have also been employed as a university librarian; my first job as a librarian out of library school.

Why did this job pique your interest?

I have built libraries since I started my profession and felt it would be a challenge to assist in building K-12 libraries in a digital format. Something new and different, but exciting!

How many pages was your resume? Cover letter?

My resume including my cover letter is now 5 pages.

What research did you do before submitting your application?

I researched the background of Jones eGlobal and the library. I was already a contract librarian for Jones as well (Education Doctoral Librarian for Jones International University) and asked my former supervisor about the position. Always make sure you network!

What did you wear?

I wore black slacks, a red blouse, a black jacket, and black boots.

Can you describe your process in preparing for the interview?

I researched Jones eGlobal Library and researched library interviewee questions.

What questions did you ask?

What are you looking for in a candidate?
What are the challenges in the position?

Why do you think you were hired? What set you apart from other candidates?

My K-12 background assisted in my hiring process and my library of science degree. I was exactly what they were looking for.

Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why you were chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?

Make sure to let everyone in your circle know you are looking for a job. They may have a lead for a job. Also make sure you do your homework and research the company before you go to your interview. Interviewers love to see when applicants want to find out more about their company or point out facts about the company.

The Hiring Librarian: Scott Wiebensohn

scott wiebensohn
What stood out in this applicant’s cover letter?

We were looking for a unique individual with a blended background. This position functions as the primary resource for K-12 collection development and digital content curation. Her cover letter demonstrated that she had the ability to choose from an array of e-books, periodicals, and online resources that would strengthen our library and better our users’ experience. Who doesn’t want a “…technically savvy and customer-focused librarian!”

Did she meet all of the required qualifications listed in the job ad? How many of the desired qualifications did she meet?

Interesting question as I don’t know if a candidate ever truly meets all of the qualifications for a specific job posting. What a hiring team must determine is if the candidate does not meet all of the qualifications can he/she learn the basic and more complex tasks expected. Catisha met a high majority of the qualifications otherwise we would not have interviewed her for our opening. There is only so much someone can write down on paper, thus the traditional need to interview face to face.

In comparison to the rest of the pool, did the applicant have more, less, or about the same years of experience? What about for the other people you interviewed?

I can honestly answer that this candidate had more experience than the majority of the candidate pool. In comparison to the others we interviewed it was plus or minus a year or two.

What was the interview process like?

It was a two round process. The first was an interview with the HR representative who prescreened candidates to determine if they truly met the basic qualifications and if there were any immediate red flags. Then the candidate interviewed in person with the librarian team for about 45 minutes. Following this interview was a conversation with the research and development team and the company President. A discussion followed and a candidate was chosen.

What stood out in this applicant’s interview?

Not only did she have the desired skill set and applicable work experience. she was hungry for the job and had three years of work experience with one of our sister institutions. She also had a contagious smile and a warm personality.

Were there any flags or questions you had about this person’s abilities, and how did they resolve them?

We are not a typical library in that we have library users circulating throughout our building. Everything is based on a digital platform within a corporate business setting. Conveying this work environment to each of the candidates was a must and Catisha fully understood because of her prior work with our sister company. So the question was in a straightforward manner and answered clearly and concisely.

Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why this candidate was chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?

The entire eGlobal Library team is truly delighted to have added Catisha to our library. Even in the short two weeks that she has been with us, she has expressed an eagerness to tackle a variety of level of projects. My best advice is that you have to put yourself in a situation to be mobile. It is also quite helpful to think outside of the box, be strategic, and apply for jobs that are at a level to push you to succeed!


If you’re part of a recent hiree/hiring manager pair who’d be willing to be interviewed for this feature, please contact me.  Or please pass along this request!
Thanks so much to Elisabeth Doucett for suggesting this series. Check out her blog, The Irreverent Librarian

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Hired Librarians, Special, Western US

The Web is Made of Links, or I Know Where You Came From

WordPress provides a list of referrers, as part of its Blog Stats page. I love looking at how people get here.  I think, “People are talking about the blog on the internets!” It’s very exciting.  It’s also great to see what they are saying, both when it’s an opinion about the blog, and when the blog is presented as part of the context of someone’s job hunting experience. So here is a post about some of my referrers, in the spirit of both vanity and reciprocity. This is part one, because this post is long enough already, and I’m not even close to being finished with the list.

The majority of traffic to this blog comes through search engines, closely followed by the anonymous gates of Twitter and Facebook.

Following that, I Need A Library Job has sent a lot of you here, as has LinkedIn – in particular this post in the group Librarians in the Job Market.

Hack Library School, in addition to collaborating on our Library School Career Center Series, has mentioned us in several great posts about library employment:

Tips for Your Job or Internship Application

Avoiding the lull after the storm – Reflections on the ending of library school and the job hunt

Congratulations! Now Get a Job

LISNews helped me gather participants for a surveys here and here, and Ask A Manager also helped me get off the ground by introducing me here.

American Libraries Live has linked to posts on a few occasions, for example here and here, as has the ALA_JobLIST newsletter.

LISCareer was kind enough to publish a piece I wrote a few months after starting Hiring Librarians, and I also posted an excerpt from their book, which they talk about on their site.  Both links send people here weekly if not daily.

One thing I think it totally awesome is that Librarian Hire Fashion was inspired by this blog, and Jill’s linking and discussion sends readers here regularly as well.

Tumblr sends fewer people here than Facebook and Twitter, but one thing I prefer is that I can more often see the specific thing that has driven traffic.  Sometimes I can see a link where a specific profile has shared or reblogged a post, such as Library Journal, but other times people are just browsing a tag, such as mlis, library job, librarian, librarians, or library school, and so those Tumblr tag pages show up as links in as well. Reddit is another online community which allows for specific links.  There are three such conversations herehere, and here.  LiveJournal has also sent many of you here.  Sometimes I can see the specific link (as part of the advice on applying for jobs here) and sometimes I can’t.  Pinterest has also sent people here via pins such as this one and this one.

Fairly soon after this blog first started, mental_floss’ Miss Kathleen linked here, and that post sent quite a few of you over.

Being in the blogroll on the History of News Libraries site is a traffic driver, particularly I think when people have gone there to look at job postings.

American Libraries’ article on Toughing It Out in a Tight Job Market thrilled me not only because I got to see the blog’s name in print, but because the online version of the article sent some of you here.  And, you know, good advice and all that.

Michael Adrian, whose profile pic makes Ottawa look FREEZING cold, blogged twice about Hiring Librarians, here and here.

New Jersey Librarians may have arrived here after reading about it on the NJ-SLA Jobs Blog.

Library School career pages and blogs also link here: Wayne State, Drexel iSchool, University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Hiring Librarians is also on the Resources page of Library JobLine.  Another LIS Career site, Library Jobs in California, wrote a post about us.

The sites of contributing Hiring Librarians, namely Sue Hill’s Recruitment Agency and The Library Career Center send some of you here.

The BeerBrarian (one of my favorite types of Brarian), linked here in his post about the search to fill a position at his library, and then was kind enough to do a survey interview.

Kate Tkacik linked here in a Library Journal BackTalk article about how tough the job search is for recent grads.  Don’t I know it!

One blog about a successful job search that sends people here is Robin Camille Davis

Some people have linked in when talking about upcoming presentations, such as Alexandra Carter and John Dupuis at Confessions of a Science Librarian

For a great paisley photo, and some thoughtful analysis, take a look at The Interview and You, on LLOPS

Probably the most random link in is from a community called Makeup Alley. Or maybe not that random, given that they’re linking to the interview outfit survey, and I’m sure there are plenty of Makeup-wearing librarians.  They talk about Hiring Librarians on Ravelry too, but I buy into the knitting librarian stereotype, so that one doesn’t seem so out of left field. And LibraryThing seems very appropriate.

I find a lot of the photos I use here on the Flickr Commons.  For a while, I was writing a comment on the photo to tell the owning institution where I’d used it and say thank you.  Those comments link back in sometimes, which was only part of my purpose in commenting.

This blog has been used as a citation at least twice, once by Alyssa Vincent on In the Library with the Lead Pipe, and once by Raymond Wang in an APALA article.

People using Scoop.It sometimes like to scoop Hiring Librarians articles, namely Africa Hands at the LIS Career Information resource,  Library Collaboration, Professional Development of Librarians, K-12 School Libraries, and The Information Professional.

I’ve gotten to interview several candidates for library association boards, and they’ve often linked to the interview on their campaign sites.  For example: Courtney Young, Gina Millsap.

Sally Pewhairangi has linked into the site more than once on her blog Finding Heroes.  I really like it when she links in, because then she includes my Twitter account when she tweets a list of “library heroes.”

I love the title of this wiki: Help for Librarians.  They link in here.

Ok, will talk about more later.

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Further Questions: Could You Hire Two Probationary Workers?

This week’s question is from Twitter (check out @HiringLib).  I asked people who hire librarians:

In filling a position, could you hire two probationary workers, maybe each half time, and then decide a couple months later who got the job?  Why or Why not?

Marleah AugustineWe do hire staff for a 6-month probationary period and do an evaluation at the end of that time. I would not hire two employees and make a decision later. I think that would cause conflicts and bad feelings between those two hires and possibly among the other staff. Additionally, having a half time job vs a full time job could affect salary levels and benefits, especially if these are state- or board-mandated. I also think it would look bad to the library board if the person hiring was not able to make a decision.

If I hired someone and it didn’t work out, I would reach out to the other person that I didn’t hire and see if they were still available.

- Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Emilie SmartOur City will not allow us to hire 2 PT workers on probation and then choose which one to keep full time.  That being said, we can do a job share where we hire 2 PT people to share a FT job.  Both would be subject to our 6 month probationary period, but if we let one go, the other would still be part time.  We have not done this with new hires, though — only with permanent FT employees who requested that they be allowed to share the job (they both wanted to work part time and they worked in the same department).

- Emilie Smart, Division Coordinator of Reference Services & Computer Services at East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Dusty Snipes GresI think the answer should not  be based on could you hire but should you or would you?

For me, no. It seems a wishy-washy employment practice, at best, and as far as I am concerned would neither  bring out the best in either candidate, nor would it be fair to either candidate. Applying for a job is a stressful task. Having to compete in the workplace against another person takes the job to the level of a reality television show.  Make a decision. Allow the other candidate to continue to look or to take another position. If, after a reasonable probationary period, according to your personnel policy, the one you chose does not work out – see if the other is available or try again.

- Dusty Gres, Director, Ohoopee Regional Library System

I think there may be some HR issues in such a ‘contest’. I hope some people with more knowledge than I weigh in on that aspect. As I have said before, I hire people on a temp-perm basis through an agency to fill a position. I try them out to see if they will fit in with the rest of the staff and whether it takes them too long to learn the job. If a person doesn’t work out, it is the job of the agency to tell them and to get me someone new.

I also see a problem with the type of jobsharing your Tweep is suggesting. If people are job sharing, they would have to work together. Since it sounds like a competition for a job, I can see people sabotaging each other’s work, which would not benefit the organization.

- Jaye Lapachet, Manager of Library Services, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP

Laurie Phillips

We cannot do this. We do national searches for tenure-track faculty librarians. We couldn’t ask someone to move here for a half-time probationary position and it would jeopardize our ability to keep the tenure-track line. I would also think that this would be extremely awkward for the two people involved.

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

At my library, hiring is very tightly controlled by the Human Resources department at the City. Part time and full time are hired very differently, so this would never work for us. Part time staff are considered temporary employees (even if they work for the Library for 30 years). They have no guaranteed hours, no vacation/sick, and no benefits. They can be hired at the local branch level and the application tends to be pretty short. Full time staff is a totally different story and the hiring process is much more rigid. There is a probationary period.

Manya ShorrI think this is an interesting question, but I’ve never heard of a library doing something like this. To me, there are some troubling implications. We try to encourage applicants from around the country and I’m not sure why anyone would move to Omaha if this was the scenario. I also worry about the environment that this would create. Are these two people working side by side and potentially sabotaging each other’s work? How would this contribute towards a healthy team environment? I’m all for getting the right people in the right job, but if we want to trial new staff, we already have a probationary period. I see no reason to create a cage match to the death environment.

am interested in talking about developing internal staff so that they can advance in the organization. This seems like an excellent way to trial staff for more responsibility.

- Manya Shorr, Senior Manager, Branch Services, Omaha Public Library

Randall SchroederThat is an interesting proposition. I would not be opposed to the idea but I wonder about how it would work out practically. If nothing else, it would probably be a hard sell to the Dean or Provost that the library reports to. Also, would the staff get habituated to the idea of having the resources of having two people even if only half time.

I worked at a college where two people shared one faculty position. It worked in their special situation because they were also married with young children. I recall one, however, saying that it seemed like it was two half-time people working 75 percent of the job each. It was great for the college, but they wondered if the college was taking advantage of them somewhat.

In your scenario, someone would put their lives on hold for a potentially unfavorable outcome, although I suppose the benefit would be getting some experience.

It would have to be very special circumstances, not the least of which being the unlikely event that one candidate could not be differentiated over the other.

- Randall Schroeder, Department Head of Public Services, Ferris Library for Information, Technology & Education

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 contact me.

Thank YOU for reading!  Hey! Been trying to reach you!  Hey!  Must be a comment between us…

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