This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level and Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how s/he describes her experience with internships/volunteering:
Independent study organizing archives for local non-profit
Paid internship with a Smithsonian Institution archive
Slightly more than 1 year of volunteer work (1-2 hrs/wk) in tech. services department of local public library while in library school
About 4 months of volunteer work (2-6 hrs/wk) at a NARA installation prior to beginning graduate school
This job hunter is in a city/town in the Southern US and is not willing to move.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
The chance to use and expand my professional skills
Where do you look for open positions?
other library job listing websites
SAA job board
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?
1. Read the application instructions.
2. Tweak my resume.
3. Draft the cover letter.
4. Revise the cover letter.
5. Revise the cover letter again.
6. And again.
7. Finalize cover letter and resume.
8. Complete online application, which often entails typing out what’s already in the attached cover letter and resume.
9. Submit the application.
The application process usually takes me 2-4 weeks, most of which is consumed by cover letter revision.
Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?
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
How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?
√ Other: Any method of contact is okay with me.
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?
Actually state what sort of work they’re hiring for in the job announcement. If you’re looking for somebody to take on all of your electronic records management and preservation duties (and do basic library instruction on the side), don’t make out that the job is an archival processing position with some incidental other tasks, ’cause that ain’t really what you’re hiring for.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Get rid of those stupid application questions that basically require applicants to type out information that is provided in cover letters and resumes anyway.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
I think it comes down to how one presents oneself, how diligent one is in seeking out job opportunities, and whether one can find a place that fits one’s skills and personality.
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job - Do you need one? Check it out!