Valerie Kyriakopoulos is a 2011 graduate of Dominican University (MLIS). Prior to going to grad school, she worked as a backstage technician in the theater for over 20 years. Currently she works part time as a circulation clerk at the Skokie Public Library, where her favorite part of the job is the patron interaction at the front desk, especially getting to know the tastes of the regulars and being able to suggest things. Ms. Kyriakopoulos has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months, in Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the entry level and for positions requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how she describes her experience with internships/volunteering:
I volunteer at a museum which has recently moved into a new space and I have been helping to organize and catalog their donated print collection – books and serials. I’ve been adding items into the online database and also tagging materials so they can be shelved properly.
I also volunteer at a public library, showing movies on DVD to patrons a few times a month in their all purpose room. It tends to be older patrons that attend these movies so I assist them in any way I can as well.
Ms. Kyriakopoulos lives in a city/town in the midwestern US and is willing to move. Graphic novels are her special passion; she has been collecting them for 25 years. To learn more about Ms. Kyriakopoulos, visit her online portfolio here: http://valkyrie22.com/portfolio/.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Full time opportunity
Takes advantage of my interests and skills
Where do you look for open positions?
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?
Look at my current resume, update/rearrange/etc as needed
Write a position specific cover letter (I never use the exact same cover letter twice)
Fill out online applications if needed
I spend at least a hour or so every time, sometimes longer depending on how much I obsess over the cover letter.
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 acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me
How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?
√ Phone for good news, email for bad news
Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?
√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
Get to know about a candidate’s personality as well as their skills. Skills can be learned and refined but personalities are important too. I feel like we’re too hung up on how much practical experience people have (which is important of course) but life experience should count for something too.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Be more communicative and less uptight and stuffy. Also be more upfront with what they really want. I’m tired of trying to guess which hoops I should be jumping through to impress people.
Library work is not rocket science. Why is it so complicated to get a job?
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
I wish I knew. My life would be a lot less stressful right now.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I like the idea of this survey. All of the job advice I see is skewed in a corporate direction. I understand that libraries are a business but it seems that a more personal approach is needed sometimes. I feel like I’m just a number to so many of the places that I’ve applied. Being a librarian should be about people and connecting with patrons and the community and not just about the bottom line.
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!