A Library Living Its Values

Hunting Giraffe, Kalahari.' Author of work: Lulu Farini. via National Archives


This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who was hired within the last three months. Prior to being hired, this person was job hunting for a year to 18 months, in academic and public libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, and Department Head. This job hunter is in a city/town in the Northeastern US, and, when asked if willing to move for employment said:

yes, at first – then no.

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

collegiality, strong leadership, a library living its values

Where do you look for open positions?

state library websites, ala joblist, listservs, libgig, simmons gslis job listings, higher ed jobs, and most importantly, employment sites for the schools themselves, or city/town postings (go directly there! don’t wait for it to be posted where YOU read!!).

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?

print out the job ad from all the places I found it. mark it up, highlighting the duties or qualifications I definitely fit. Take notes on how to address the ones that are less obvious. Then I take a near-match in my recent applications (similar job or organization) and edit that letter and cv/resume to address each and every item in the posting. I save everything I send in both pdf and word format so I can always harvest paragraphs from here and there. I find the blank page terrifying so trusting words I’ve already written is a godsend!

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

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)?

√ 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 honest about the job, and make an effort to update the job posting if it hasn’t been used in a while. Often the posting is dry and businesslike, and that’s the personality I had to write for when I wrote my letters – if it turns out you have fabulous and fun colleagues, but keep getting dry and serious applications, maybe you’ll find more people who fit your culture by showing it in the job ad!

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

Communicate. Say when you’ll contact people, not when you “hope to decide.” Tell people when you know it might get hung up in administration. Tell people whether or not it’s ok to contact them to find out where they are in the process. Be honest, and be considerate – if you want a considerate colleague it’s the best way to catch one!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being at the right place at the right time, at the right place in your career. Throw in a little networking (the honest kind, where you really do meet people you like in places you’d like to work), and a whole lot of mind-numbing letter and resume writing.

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

I’ve been in my new job exactly 3 months, but I was applying for so long I figured I had something to contribute! Thanks, as always, for the work you put into these surveys. It is an *invaluable* contribution to the field.

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

1 Comment

Filed under Academic, City/town, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Public

One response to “A Library Living Its Values

  1. Christina George

    Reblogged this on The Treasure Trove and commented:
    For all you others in the same boat…

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