Being Yourself at Every Stage of the Process, But the Best Version of Yourself

Jessica Olin earned her BA in History from Hood College, her MLIS from Simmons College, and her MAEd from Touro University International.  She has recently started a new job as the Director of the Robert H. Parker Library at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware. Prior to that, she had been looking for a new position, off and on, for about nine months, in Academic libraries, at the following levels: Department Head, Assistant Director, or Director. She was in a rural area in the Midwestern US, and was willing to move almost anywhere. Ms. Olin has presented at the Midwest Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association annual conference and at LOEX. Her professional interests include, among other things, incorporating popular reading materials into traditional academic library collections, building communities at liberal arts college libraries, and bridging the gap between library science graduate programs and professional practice. In her limited spare time, she likes to cross-stitch, watch Doctor Who, and read lots of comic books. You can read her thoughts about librarianship and higher education at Letters to a Young Librarian and her thoughts about everything (including librarianship) by following her Twitter stream @olinj.

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

1. Location

2. How well it fits what I want in a position (responsibilities)

3. Type of institution

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist


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

√ Other: Yes, but it’s not necessarily a red flag when it’s not.

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

I have a cover letter that I modify for each application packet, and I do the same with other materials to a lesser extent. Modifying the letter takes the longest, since it reflects research I do into the parent institution and the library itself, and usually takes an hour or two.

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?

√ Other: Different at each stage. Email for early stages, phone for later.

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?

Advertise broadly, including listservs and such.

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

More communication, even if it’s a form email.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being yourself at every stage of the process, but the best version of yourself.

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, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Rural area

One response to “Being Yourself at Every Stage of the Process, But the Best Version of Yourself

  1. Pingback: About a Decade Later: Former Job Hunter Jessica Olin | Hiring Librarians

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