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:

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


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

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