Monthly Archives: February 2013

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Infonista

Tired of getting kicked around by libraries? Are you intrigued by the myriad of possibilities for using your degree? Want an alternative LIS career?  Today we are featuring the site for you!  Kim Dority was kind enough to talk to us about her blog, Infonista.


Infonista

What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!

Infonista is a blog that focuses on all the different ways LIS professionals can deploy their information skills, in both traditional and nontraditional environments. In addition, I try to bring in information from outside the profession that may be relevant to building a resilient LIS career.

When was it started? Why was it started?

It was started in June 2010 as a way to extend the reach of a course I’d been teaching in the University of Denver MLIS program – I wanted more students (and LIS practitioners) to understand how incredibly valuable their skill sets could be if they took a broader approach to information work.

Who runs it?

I (Kim Dority) run it, but I have to admit (with embarrassment) that I’ve been somewhat neglectful of my blog recently due to other commitments, e.g., creating and managing the LinkedIn LIS Career Options group and finishing off a recently published book, LIS Career Sourcebook: Managing and Maximizing Every Step of Your Career (Libraries Unlimited, 2013). My goal for this year is to be a much more diligent blogger!

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

I don’t necessarily consider myself a “career expert,” but more of someone who’s done nearly every type of LIS work in her career and who has researched and taught courses, webinars, and workshops on this topic for 13 years. During that time I’ve had the extreme good fortune to learn from hundreds of colleagues, students, friends, and even mentors, so I consider myself more of a conduit for and aggregator of all the stuff we’re learning from each other.

Who is your target audience?

LIS students and professionals, especially those trying to explore or navigate into broader career opportunities that will use their information skills.

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?

I’d say noodle around. All of the posts are tagged by a specific category, so if users are interested in a specific topic, they should be able find all the posts on that topic. My goal is to post weekly, although as I mentioned, that’s currently aspirational rather than reality!

Does your site provide:

Interviews   Answers to reader questions
Articles/literature    Links
Research   Coaching
The opportunity for interaction

Advice on:
Networking

Other: emerging types of LIS career paths and how to explore/position for them

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?

Book(s): Rethinking Information Work (Libraries Unlimited, 2006), LIS Career Sourcebook (Libraries Unlimited, 2012)
 Other: LIS career webinars and workshops for MLIS programs and LIS associations, divisions, and chapters

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

I’ve actually never tracked this information so have no idea!

meredith loweAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Hmmm…. I think I’d encourage your readers to think as broadly and creatively about the application of their LIS skills as possible in order to find jobs, and then continue to keep an eye out for “alternative uses” even after landing those jobs. Given this economy, I believe it’s really important to operate as if we’re all self-employed, regardless of where we happen to be working at any given point in our careers. My goal is to help LIS students and professional create resilient careers, which often means rethinking what we do, how we do it, and who we do it for.

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Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide, Other Organization or Library Type

Indicate If There Is a Favorite Son/Internal Candidate That They Are Writing the Position for

Rockaway Hunt Club Meet LOCThis 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 libraries and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level. Here is how this person describes his or her experience with internships/volunteering:

summer shelving; summer collection management; starting catalog for community library on LibraryThing

This job hunter is in suburban area,in the Midwestern US and is willing to move to a cooler part of the midwest.

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

Geography (upper Midwest and surrounding areas)

Type of library work (technical services)

Type of library (academic)

Where do you look for open positions?

RSS feeds of major joblists — ALA, CARLI, RAILS, Iowa StLib, MSP Metronet, IU-Bloomington, LisJobs.com

Pages with several listings

University/UL HR pages

Autocat, ACL listservs

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?

Find and read the announcement

Research the area

Swear at the PeopleSoft system that only does what it thinks and not what I think

Create cover letter, tweak resume

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)?

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?

advertise in several places

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

Indicate if there is a favorite son/internal candidate that they are writing the position for

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I don’t know… I don’t seem to have it

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, Midwestern US, Special, Suburban area

Hiring Librarians: Now We Are One

Someone is having a blog-birthday…it’s Hiring Librarians!

Here are the first posts, from one year ago today:

Relate Past Accomplishments to What You Would Do in the New Position

Be Open and Honest, Listen and Ask Questions

Why Are We Here

Helen Marie GunzWhen I started the blog, I thought we would get one or two responses per week to the survey, which I would leisurely post.  Instead, it got something like 80 in one day!

I remember the first day we got 400 views – Naomi House from INALJ had posted and tweeted about it, and sent a lot of you readers over.  How exciting!

I hadn’t planned on doing more surveys, or getting authors and researchers to do guest posts, or really understood how many readers might find their way here and share their stories.

Thank you!

This is what I wrote one year ago:

The goal of this blog is to facilitate communication between job-hunters and hiring managers in the library and information professions.  Although these two groups seemingly have a common purpose, honest interactions are often restricted by pressure, fear, and the mysterious codes of the hiring process.

What do you think, dear readers, is it meeting that goal?  Should we articulate something new for the upcoming year?

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You Can’t Go Wrong with a Suit, Even if the Library Culture is Less Formal

3.31.09 by Flickr User Danielle from AT:SFThis anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a Suburban area in the Southern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ Counts as a suit

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

√ True

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

√ No, but it’s not a dealbreaker

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top

Is there anything a candidate might wear that would cause them to be instantly out of the running? If you have any funny stories about horrifying interview outfits, we’d love to hear them.

Too much cleavage, too high of a heel, too much makeup

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ Yes, the higher the position, the more formal I expect the candidate to dress

Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable)

√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ Earrings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ Be fairly neutral

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

A candidate should always dress equal to or more formal than those interviewing them. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a suit, even if the library culture is less formal. Just because you interview in one, doesn’t mean that you have to dress that way to work everyday.

What This Library Wears

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

√ Business casual

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code? (Please check all that apply)

√ Flip flops
√ Visible Tattoos
√ Sneakers/trainers

This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!

Photo: 

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Southern US, Suburban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

You are What is Being Hired, Not the Paper Degree, Not the Fancy Outfits

DylaneFinkFaceDylane Fink is an MLIS grad student at Wayne State University, expecting to finish in summer 2013. Her very first job was as a library page, and she says:

after being teased that I would come back to run the library (and always brushing it off) I realized that the library field was the one for me

Ms. Fink is currently an assistant in a school library and hopes to continue working as a teacher librarian in some capacity. She has been looking for a new position for six months to a year, in Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, for positions at the entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, and above entry level but below management. Here is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

In addition to about 9 years of paid library experience I interned at a local college library as part of my undergraduate program.
I worked with the archives department helping to compile data needed for a proposal. The library is looking to digitize a large portion of their archives and needed extensive data on the physical state of their pieces.
I also researched a fascinating topic from the early years of the school while going through the archive pieces.

Ms. Fink is in a rural area of the Northeastern US, and is willing to move anywhere. Her webpage is a work in progress but please feel free to take a look around: http://dylanefink.weebly.com/

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

Relevance to interests/passions.

Potential for longevity.

Location of the job/library.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist

LITA

Local county library postings

Several state Library Association Joblines

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?

Generally I read and reread the description and requirements to decide if I have what it takes to be a candidate. I look over my resume to beef up or take away things that wouldn’t be relevant to the particular position.

Filling out the actual application tends to be tedious however some time is spent ensuring that all phone numbers, contact points and references are accurate. The cover letter is where I spend the majority of my time and effort to really give potential employers an understanding of who I am and why I would be an asset to the company.

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

√ Other: I am always honest with job descriptions, information, time spent, education, etc. however I may enhance a position title to better fit the job I did..for example my current position has me as an “instructional assistant” however I tend to think “Media Center Assistant” better summarizes my actual position.

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

√ Other: being given a true description of the position, perhaps by someone currently in the role

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

Be upfront and honest about the depth of responsibility in the job and what assets they are looking for in a candidate. Reach out to those who may have less education but extensive experience.

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

The wait is what hurts the most, waiting to hear if you are offered an interview, waiting to hear if they want an additional interview or if you have been selected. Finding a way to expedite the process would be appreciated.

 I know this is not always possible as many positions are filled by county policy/governing body guidelines and timetables.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Be yourself and be confident in what you are selling. You are what is being hired, not the paper degree, not the fancy outfits. Show employers what you can bring to the table and how you can be a vital member of their company. Make them want you, your ideas and your plans.

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, Rural area

Researcher’s Corner, Now with More Access to Data!: The New Archivist’s Job Search

I’m reposting this piece by Shannon Lausch, which originally ran on September 27, 2012, because there is new access to her project’s data. If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, Shannon’s presentation, Rebecca Goldman’s presentation, and the survey and anonymized responses are all available here:

http://digitalcommons.lasalle.edu/libraryconf/4/


I am so excited to be able to present this guest post by Shannon Lausch, in which she reports on her very current research, conducted in partnership with Rebecca Goldman, into what it’s like to job hunt as a newly graduated archivist. I heard about their work via the SNAP listserv.  If you’re a new archivist, you should check it out.  I’ve been very impressed with both the discussions and level of collegiality that can be found there.

Shannon’s analysis is fascinating – there are both expected and surprising results.  Please leave a comment to let us know what you think!


Introduction

At the 2012 annual conference of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), Rebecca Goldman and I were panelists for a session called “The Thin Line between Supply and Demand: The Pesky Business of Archival Education.” Like many areas in the library and information science field, the competition for archives-related jobs is fierce, and this panel addressed the high number of job applicants versus the low number of positions available.

For our presentations, Rebecca and I conducted a survey of those who completed a graduate program with an emphasis in archives within the past five years. Rebecca was interested in job and life satisfaction as well as alternatives to the archives profession, while I focused on the job search itself. Specifically, I wanted to provide answers to the many questions new graduates may find themselves asking, such as the following: how long is the average job search?  Is relocation usually necessary? What kinds of jobs are applicants ultimately finding?

Survey Methods

We sent out the survey to SAA’s Archives and Archivists listserv and Students and New Archives Professionals listserv. It was also advertised on the ArchivesNext blog and on Twitter. We received 248 responses.

Designing the survey was challenging, and we had to make some difficult choices of how to phrase questions and what options to include. We were also careful in distinguishing between those who found a position after graduation and those who are currently searching for a job. Among those who are currently searching for a job, we included those who found a job after graduation but are looking for a new position and those who have yet to find a job after graduation.

Our Findings

I would like to highlight what I found to be the most interesting findings in the job search section of our survey.

Some graduates do find full-time positions, but a significant number report finding temporary or part-time work for their first position after graduation

One of the first job-related questions we asked in the survey was the basic “have you found any kind of employment post-graduation”: 73.2 percent reported finding a position after graduating, 15.6 percent said that they continued to work in a position that they had before graduating, and 6.7 percent stated that they did not find employment of any kind. Of the 4.5 percent who stated that none of the options applied to them, common answers included finding employment before graduating or having paid internships.

In the next question, we asked those who were employed to describe the type of position of their first job. 49.8 percent said that they were employed as professional archivists; the next highest, at 14.4 percent, stated that they were employed in a related field, and a total of 15.8 percent were employed in a paraprofessional position. 6.2 percent were employed in an unrelated field.

We then further inquired about the status of their first position. 48.3 percent reported holding full-time and permanent positions. The next highest at 31.7 percent reported having a full-time position that was on a temporary or term basis or based on a contract or project.  Part-time positions accounted for 19 percent of employment.

The job search may not be as arduous for everyone

After hearing so many anecdotes of people applying to a hundred or more jobs for over a year before finally landing their first position, I expected our results would illustrate a similar story. I was wrong.

In searching for their first position post-graduation, 31.2 percent reported it took 1 to 3 months to find a job, and for another 31.2 percent, it took 4 to 6 months. 8.7 percent reported that it took more than a year to find a job.

Before finding their first position, the majority, at 48.9 percent, applied between 1 and 20 positions, and 21.3 percent applied between 21 and 40 positions. Four percent applied to 100 or more positions.

If we were to do this survey again, I would further break-down the 1-20 segment to have a better understanding on the average number of positions graduates apply for, since I did not expect it to be our top answer.

Getting an interview is a huge deal

Next, let’s take a look at interviews. For those employed, out of 165, 131 reported receiving just one interview. If we include everyone currently looking for a job, these numbers have a little more variety. Still, the most frequent responses were zero or one.

I was surprised that so many successful candidates received only one interview. It illustrates that there may be nothing sorely deficient with job seekers who have spent a long time searching. They just needed a lucky break. But I’m also wondering what happened to those who were competing against the people who only had one interview and got the job. Surely, there should be more people out there with at least two interviews.

I would also like point out that if we were to do this survey again, we would consider distinguishing between preliminary phone interviews and final interviews as we’re not certain how our applicants decided to count interviews.

Relocation is a common reality for job finders

Finally, we also asked about willingness to relocate. Another common story for job seekers to hear is that you must be willing to relocate, and I was curious about how willingness to relocate relates to finding a job.

I cross-tabbed our data of whether job finders had to relocate and what their position was. For professional archives positions, 58.9 percent had to relocate for their position; for related professionals, 13.3 percent relocated; and 14.4 percent relocated for hybrid position.

So what about those who did not relocate but still found a position? 46.8 percent found a job as an archivist professional and 17 percent as an archives paraprofessional. But for those who did not relocate and still found a position, 29.8 percent already had the job before receiving their degree.

Final thoughts

It is a tough and strange market in the archives world, one where you may go from hearing nothing for months to landing a full-time professional position after receiving an interview from just one institution. Or you may have to face the uncertainties of the job market again and again, finding multiple temporary project positions. Having a strong network of those who can help you in making sure your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills are in top form is critical for making sure when opportunity strikes, you’re ready.


Shannon Lausch graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a master’s degree in library and information science in May 2011. While studying for her master’s degree, she worked as a graduate assistant at the University Archives; completed a practicum with the Champaign County Historical Archives; and held an internship with the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum for her graduate school’s “Alternative Spring Break” program.

She is now an archivist for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, working at the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture. Her job search lasted seven months.

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Filed under Archives, Researcher's Corner

We Were All Trying to Count the Number and See if There Were an Equal Number in Each Ear

brushing my fringe out by Flickr user Dani P.L.This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager. This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a Suburban area in the Midwestern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

Probably, yes (but it’s ok if the candidate wears something a little less formal)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

Is totally different

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

True

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

Either pantyhose or tights. Bare legs are inappropriate

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

I don’t care, as long as it’s not over-the-top

Is there anything a candidate might wear that would cause them to be instantly out of the running? If you have any funny stories about horrifying interview outfits, we’d love to hear them.

Hooker shoes, blouse with too much cleavage showing. We had a candidate who had multiple piercings. It was a distraction because we were all trying to count the number and see if there were an equal number in each ear.

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

Yes, the higher the position, the more formal I expect the candidate to dress

Which jewelry may candidates wear: (Please select all that are acceptable)

A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

Natural colors (black, brown, red, blonde, gray)

The way a candidate dresses should:

Be fairly neutral

What This Library Wears

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

5

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

Other:Between business casual and formal. Formal for meetings but more casual when you have to crawl around the floor to change out computers

Are there any specific items of clothing, etc. that are forbidden by your dress code?

Visible Tattoos
Short skirts/shorts
Tank tops
Logos/band insignia/slogans

Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)

Other: Whatever we can afford

This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!

Photo: brushing my fringe out by Flickr user Dani P.L.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Suburban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

Library School Career Center: Drexel University iSchool

Here is this week’s installment of the Library School Career Center feature, which 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.  


Jennifer Lally

 

This interview is with Jennifer Lally, Event & Career Services Manager, Drexel University, The iSchool, College of Information Science & Technology. Jennifer Lally plans all the events for the college and manages a jobs page on the iSchool’s website, where she posts weekly full-time and part-time jobs that pertain to iSchool students.  Jennifer works with employers interested in hiring iSchool students, by setting up information sessions, webinars and field trips.  She also works with student groups helping them plan events.

Career Center Information

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

We do not have a “career center” per se; I am the only person in the iSchool’s office that deals with career services.  Drexel University as a whole has the Steinbright Career Development Center (SCDC) where career services are offered to ALL Drexel students.  Each college is assigned someone from the SCDC to work with our students.  The iSchool at Drexel’s key feature is the job board we keep where any jobs received are sent to an email address where they are then opened and posted onto our website.  If students have career services questions, they stop in, call or email me.  I field the questions they have and decide which department they should speak to.  I am basically the liaison to all career services questions, I field the questions and then send them to the appropriate department/person.

We want the students to understand the resources we have available so we include a few career services slides in our mandatory online/on-campus orientation presentation in the beginning of each quarter.  We have a weekly e-newsletter, “The iSchool Weekly Digest” where announcements are sent out every Tuesday and we also have an announcements section in Blackboard Learn where I can post upcoming information sessions, networking events, internships, etc.  We have Graduate Peer Mentors who are available to speak to prospective and new library science students.  The Alumni Association also manages an Alumni Peer Mentoring Program, so students can sign up and find a mentor.  Students may schedule appointments with Ken Bohrer, Graduate co-op coordinator at the SCDC to talk about career questions, resume and cover letter review.  I also help the student chapters advertise the events they plan, which consist of information sessions, field trips, webinars, tours, networking events, resume review events.

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

We have faculty mentors and we list on our website their specialty areas so students can contact them with questions.

Does the career center provide any of the following:

(If I do not directly provide this service, a department on campus does)

√ Job Listings   √ Resume/CV Review   √ Help writing cover letters
√ Literature/articles   √ Interview Practice   √ General career coaching
√ Networking events (virtual or in-person)
√ Other: We participate and help promote events sponsored by the student groups of professional library associations.

Do you provide in-person services?

√ Appointments (Ken Bohrer does at the SCDC)
√ Speakers, or programs that present experts
√ Mixers or other networking events
√ Job Fairs (*The SCDC hosts 2 big career fairs a year one in October and one in April and I have an event every year after the October career fair inviting all employers who hire iSchool students and invite them to a private reception where students can speak to them one on one.)
√ Drop-in career center:  Students can stop in anytime from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm

Do you provide online services?

(If I do not personally do it, the Marketing team promotes on Facebook and Twitter; The student groups have webcasted events, I advertise in the e-newsletter)
√ Website with resources
√ Webinars   √ Podcasts   √ Twitter: @ischoolatDrexel
√ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ischoolatdrexel   √ Newsletter
√ Other: Blackboard announcements section.

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

To read the weekly e-newsletter that goes out every week, to join a student group and keep an eye on the iSchools job board.

May alumni use career center resources?

Yes, the jobs website is open to the public, so anyone can view it.  They can also contact the Career Services Office in the Department of Alumni Relations.

Are there any charges for services?  

No

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

Students that pay attention to the announcements and job board and become involved in the student groups are more likely to get an internship and gain the experience they need to get a job after graduation.

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

No

iSchool Alumni GardenDrexel iSchool: Bridge MagazineApril 25, 2011

Students’ Career Paths

Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?

Library Journal 2012 Placements & Salaries results.

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

We post all internships, practicums and volunteer projects on our job board and will highlight specific ones in our weekly e-newsletter.  We encourage students to take the practicum after they have 24 credits to help build their job portfolio and to become involved if they do not have any prior library experiences.

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

No

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

Yes, we received announcements like these from faculty members and staff on the student services team.

Rush Building at Night

Demographics

How many students in the library school?

We have 470 students currently enrolled in the library science program this winter quarter.

What degree(s) do you offer?

www.ischool.drexel.edu/PS/GraduatePrograms

Is it ALA accredited?

Yes

What are the entrance requirements?

www.ischool.drexel.edu/PS/GraduatePrograms/Admissions

When was the library school founded?

1892

Where are you?

√ Northeastern US

Where are you?

√ City/town


Brianna Marshall

This interview was conducted by Brianna Marshall 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, Northeastern US

I Literally Cut-and-Pasted QR Codes That Corresponded to the Appropriate Position in my Digital Resume

This interview is with Brittany Turner, who is the Records Manager/Special Projects Librarian with the Shreve Memorial Library and also works as a consultant focusing primarily in the area of cultural heritage protection. Previously, Brittany worked as Project Coordinator for “To Preserve and Protect: Security Solutions for New York’s Historical Records” at the New York State Archives and Village Clerk for the Village of New Paltz, NY. Brittany received her Master’s in Public Administration through the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany, and her MLIS in 2012 from the University of Alabama (Online Cohort).

Ms. Turner has been hired within the last two months, but prior to that was job hunting for a year to 18 months, looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, Senior Librarian, Branch Manager, and Director/Dean. She is in a city/town in the Southern US, and was willing to move:

within specific regions which may be expanded for the right position.

Ms. Turner is active in a number of professional organizations, including the SAA Security Roundtable and RBMS Security Committee. She is also the 2011 recipient of the Donald Peterson Student Scholarship award.

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

Professional, challenging work. Salary that corresponds to my qualifications. Generous benefits.

Where do you look for open positions?

EVERYWHERE. LinkedIn, Facebook, Professional Organizations and Associations, USA Jobs, Craigslist, [INSERTREGION]helpwanted.com, Monster, JobFox, Individual Organizations, ReWork, State Employment Websites, etc. The most helpful resource I’ve found is INALJ.

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

√ Other: Yes, I expect to, and no, it’s rarely there.

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

It depends on the position. When I’m applying through an automated site like USAJobs, it takes about 3-4 hours to set up the initial application. After that, depending on the length of the questionnaire, it’s about 15 to 20 minutes on average. That being said, the chance of getting a Federal job right now without Veteran’s preference is slim-to-none, so I know those are unlikely prospects and the quick prep time means everyone else can send many blanket applications, too.

For specific opportunities through other outlets, it varies. Although almost all Universities seem to be using the same database framework, the huge majority are not accessing a centralized applicant database. Filling out that tedious, time consuming form over and over usually has me reassessing how much I’m interested in the job halfway through, and I finish those applications about 50-75% of the time. Sure, the University is able to screen applicants automatically that way, but they may also be missing out on highly qualified candidates who don’t really want to deal with the BS for the millionth time.

In the case of an email application, I’ll spend a few minutes customizing one of my “stock” cover letters, attach one of my stock resumes/CVs, and add any additional resources that might be useful or required. I’ll rarely create something new to support an application, and I think my use of an eportfolio helps provide additional resources and samples if the employer is looking to see examples of deliverables.

I am shocked at the number of employers who still require paper applications and will only apply for these positions if it’s an excellent opportunity, despite my major concerns regarding the bigger implications of the use of paper applications. It’d definitely be a specific question I ask during any interview, since it really reflects on the health and philosophy of the organization as a whole.

I’ll also complete paper applications if I’m trying to make a point. The position I recently accepted had a paper application; it was worth the hassle, but one of the first things I hope to do is assist with the transition to a web-based application systems. The only other paper application I’ve completed in recent memory was done so in an attempt to highlight how ridiculous the practice was, as the position was with a large library system that frankly should’ve known better. I printed the application. Then, in the miniscule blank spaces where I was supposed to indicate my responsibilities, accomplishments, etc. (essentially, resume), I literally cut-and-pasted QR codes that corresponded to the appropriate position in my digital resume. I didn’t get the job, and I didn’t expect to, but hopefully the employer got the point. Any medium-to-large library or library system that truly believes paper applications are appropriate is majorly limiting their pool of potential candidates, and not in a good way. It’s a major red flag.

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?

√ 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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Web-based applications that do not require applicants to fill out the same generic database for the zillionth time. Please just allow upload of resume or CV in lieu of filling out the fields. Actively recruiting candidates who meet their needs rather than sending out an announcement and hoping for the best. Working directly with professional organizations and academic programs to identify strong matches. Sharing the announcement beyond their own website.

Inclusion of accurate, likely salary and benefit information in the announcement (not just “commensurate with experience” or “$10,000 to $100,000 per year, DOE” or “generous benefits package”) is a must. Candidates understand that there will always be some flexibility, but at least help them help you. While it’s true that seasoned professionals will be able to weed out some unlikely prospects by evaluating the position descriptions alone, in a difficult job market many will be looking to expand their search beyond positions that show upward momentum. When you’re transparent about your budget, it increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to attract candidates with an even richer skill set than that required in your job description. Although intentionally withholding salary information may be ethical, it isn’t really helping you or your candidates. We don’t want to waste your time by applying for a position that we could never possibly accept; please don’t waste our time by asking highly qualified candidates to apply for a position that’s advertised as professional yet pays minimum wage. Be upfront – if your position description and stated salary range aren’t generating the volume or quality of applications you hoped for, it’s likely a problem with you and not the applicants.

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

Open, honest communications. Each employer understandably expects a customized application package, regardless of the fact that many applicants are screening and/or applying for literally hundreds of positions every week, . Please take the time to offer the same level of customization in return; if another candidate “better met [your] needs,” explain why. This may not be feasible for every applicant, but it should be within reach for interviewed candidates at a minimum. I know, some HR attorney is balking, but not only is it a matter of courtesy, it may also help to provide guidance to job seekers looking to improve their skills, enhancing the overall quality of applicants within the profession and making it more likely that candidates will reapply to your organization with a stronger package in the future. The excuse that each employer receives billions of applications and they can’t possibly take the time to provide an individual response to each one is bogus. No one works harder than someone who is unemployed and struggling to find meaningful work. Applicants can do it, and so should you (within reason; obviously no one expects you to tell John Doe that he wasn’t hired because he clearly hadn’t bathed in three weeks).

Similarly, and this is a little one, please respond to the applicant via the medium they used to apply. If you require paper applications, you need to send a paper response. If you require email applications, send an email response. Either way, though, at least send a response in some form! It would also be helpful if your announcement and/or application confirmation included contact information for whatever staff member is responsible for monitoring the progress of your search. Sometimes, an applicant may be faced with an offer but hasn’t yet heard back from their dream job; since so many employers don’t acknowledge us at all, you may have lost your dream employer to another organization simply because they had no way to verify whether you’d selected another candidate or even started interviews yet. It also ensures that the clever few who figure out the who’s who of your organization are contacting the appropriate person in HR rather than supervisors or search committee members.

If you’re contacting an applicant for the first time, please do so via email and not phone. If an applicant has applied for hundreds of positions, no matter how special you are or how special you think you should be, they probably won’t be able to remember your organization let alone the details of the position off the top of their heads. Don’t set applicants up to make a sub-par first impression this way. Contact them via email, and reference not only your organization but also the specific position, linking to the announcement if possible. Not only have we applied for lots and lots of vacancies, but we probably also applied to multiple openings within your own organization. Be as specific as possible to make our work a little easier. The last thing a job seeker wants to do after being contacted for an interview is to root through hundreds of near-identical emails and announcements to figure out which one it’s for.

Recognize that this is a relationship. Sure, you have a lot at stake in selecting a new employee, but so does the employee. That relationship needs to be mutually beneficial, adaptable to change, and able to embrace compromise. If one party is giving significantly more, while the other is taking significantly more, guess what? That’s an unhealthy, potentially abusive relationship. Don’t set the stage for major problems later on. Treat your prospective employees with the respect, understanding, and flexibility they deserve, and you’ll benefit from the same in the future.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Be thorough and be fast. Churn applications out as quickly as you can. Develop tough skin. Be willing and immediately prepared to relocate. Make friends with your browser’s auto-fill. Use INALJ. Avoid all the boring “attention to detail” buzzwords and catchphrases, especially if your resume is loaded with typos and inconsistencies (which it shouldn’t be). Don’t lie or embellish; do highlight concrete, specific examples and accomplishments. Take the time needed to come up with one or two stellar stock cover letters, then make minor modifications to sell yourself for the specific position or organization.

Perhaps most importantly, be willing to work for (slightly) less than you’re worth, but recognize that you are exploring a new relationship. Look for extra benefits in the type of work you’ll be doing rather than compensation, but maintain some healthy skepticism. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. When your sacrifices start to significantly outweigh your benefits, it’s time to walk away. Don’t allow yourself to be blinded by your need for a job right now – you can take a miserable, low-pay, no-benefit, dead-end job anywhere, so avoid doing so in your chosen profession, especially if that decision is being made out of desperation. If the employer is asking too much of you without giving enough back, not only will you find yourself miserable and unemployed again in the future, but you may also have inadvertently marred your professional reputation moving forward. Work the register at a store to pay bills (customer service skills!), volunteer or intern to keep your skills fresh and networks growing (variety and versatility!), and keep applying for those professional positions until you’ve found the right one.

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

Thank you for doing this survey. I’ll be sharing it with others. Let me know if there’s any way I can help!

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, Public, School, Southern US, Special

Be Very Clear on What the Minimum Requirements are for the Position.

This interview is with job hunter Nicole Usiondek, who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field) and has been looking for a new position for a year to 18 months. Ms. Usiondek  has her MLIS and M.A. in History from Wayne State University and a B.A. in History from Oakland University. Prior to working in the library field, she spent 5 years working in the Intellectual Property field as an analyst and paralegal. She has experience working in both academic and public libraries and found rewarding experiences in both settings. Consequently, she is looking in both Academic and Public libraries at the following levels: Entry level and Requiring at least two years of experience. When asked about her internship/volunteering experience, she said:

I have roughly 30 months of volunteer and part time work experience in public and academic libraries.

Ms. Usiondek lives in an urban area in the Southern US, and is willing to move anywhere. Nicole is starting a blog at www.nicoleusiondek.com.

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

Full time, growth opportunity, great culture.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, ALA JobLIST, individual sites, Indeed, listservs, and 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?

60 to 90 minutes.

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?

√ 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

√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Be very clear on what the minimum requirements are for the position.

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

Communication.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think it’s who you know.

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, Public, Southern US, Urban area