This week on the Job Hunter’s Web Guide we’ll take a look at a site that’s 17 years old! If the site was a high school student, it would be driving and getting ready to graduate. I’m excited to present Sarah Johnson’s excellent site, Library Job Postings on the Internet.
What is your website all about? Please give us your elevator speech!
Library Job Postings is a meta-index that links to library employment sites – over 400 of them in all, from around the world. Included are state and regional library joblines, recruitment and temporary placement firms, library school job bulletins, association sites, and so forth.
When was it started? Why was it started?
I started it in May 1995, when I was working as a student assistant at the University of Michigan’s library science library. There weren’t any other sites like it out there, and this was a time when library job ads first started appearing on mailing lists and on the web. I used it to find my first librarian job, and many of the people from my graduating class found it and started using it, too.
Who runs it?
Just me – Sarah Johnson. It’s been online for over 17 years. I’m now a reference & electronic resources librarian at Booth Library, Eastern Illinois University, which is my 2nd job after library school.
Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?
While I don’t have formal training in career services, I’ve used my experience running the site to write articles, book chapters, and even a book about library careers. I used to host a related service that posted library job ads (rather than just linking to them) and had a number of productive conversations with employers about the qualifications they sought in the librarians they hired, so I was able to advise librarians on that score. At work, I’ve chaired and served on many search committees, so I’ve had the chance to see the hiring process from the opposite side. I enjoy going through submitted resumes and seeing what individual librarians might be able to contribute to open positions. I’ve also evaluated many librarians’ resumes for NMRT’s resume review service.
Who is your target audience?
Anyone seeking to find a job in a library or in the information field in general.
What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?
Many of the sites I link to are updated daily, like the ALA JobLIST and the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s listings. Anyone actively looking for a job is going to want to be paying close attention to what’s out there, so a daily browse through relevant sites may be useful to them. Other sites are updated less frequently. What I’d recommend is that people make note of the most useful sites for their job search and visit those sites on a regular basis. Not everything’s going to be relevant for everyone, especially for users targeting a specific geographic area, but I’d recommend going through all types of sites that might fit, from job listings put out by individual libraries through sites with a wider focus.
Does your site provide:
√ Job Listings √ Links √ Other: Descriptions of what each site can offer, who the sponsor is, and how often it’s updated.
Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?
Do you charge for anything on your site?
No, the site is free of charge.
Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?
Although most don’t go into detail about their experiences, I’ve received many notes over the years from librarians who found a job through the site — so I know it’s worked!
Job seekers don’t need me to tell them that it’s a tough market these days. There’s a lot of competition for the most desirable positions and in the most desirable areas of the country, but the same advice holds true regardless of where your site’s readers may be applying. I’d strongly recommend that librarians have someone (such as a mentor, colleague, or ALA New Members Round Table reviewer) look over their resume and cover letter in detail — to make sure they’re tailored closely to the job in question and are free of errors. Also, while they’re using the web to locate job ads, they should also use it to research the library where they’re applying in order to learn more about the organization. It demonstrates interest in the job, and the more they know in advance, the more closely they’ll be able to tailor their applications — and the better questions they’ll be able to ask at the interview.
If you’ve got questions for Sarah about Library Job Postings on the Internet, please go ahead and put’em in the comments section.
If you run a job or career website for librarians (and archivists and info professionals etc. etc.), and you want to share it here, get in touch with me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.
Thanks for reading!
*Edited 4/27/2012 to fix typo