I Agonize Over Every Sentence

Leslie Norman has a  MLIS (Rutgers, 2005) and a MA in Political Science (John Hopkins, 1997).  She has worked as a news librarian, and has research credits for eight published articles and two books. However, newspapers have shrunk and Ms. Norman is currently without a job. She is looking for a research position in the metro NYC area, while contemplating a change to cataloging or archive work.  She has been looking for more than 18 months, in Academic libraries, Archives, and Special libraries, for positions requiring at least two years of experience. Ms. Norman is in a city/town in the Northeastern US, and would be willing to move:

Only if my husband found work also

She is an information junkie, loves mystery books and long-form non-fiction essays, kills tomatoes in the summer, forgets to feed the backyard birds, and watches too much TV. You can find her on Twitter@no1newshound

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

Challenging work where I learn new technologies, new ways of improving  work skills, and help the organization achieve its goals.

A manager that knows how to manage, provides essential training and wants me to succeed in my position while I give my best to move the company forward.

Decent salary for the area I live in.

Where do you look for open positions?

Many job boards


Job alerts set up from job boards


Emails from local library schools, local library associations, Chronicle of Higher Education, and local SLA chapters listservs

I Need a Library Job

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?

Tweak resume to match job ad

Write cover letter to address the qualifications listed in the ad

It takes a long time for me to write cover letters because I agonize over every sentence. Unfortunately that effort is not resulting in interviews.

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 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

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

Write job announcements with detail.

Place the ad in as many local places as possible.

Specifically target local chapters of library associations, alumni associations of library schools and library groups like SLA and ALA.

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

Provide application deadlines if possible.

Notify applicant if she doesn’t get the job after the interview.

Provide some information as to why an applicant didn’t get the position within.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think it’s having the right experience and good internships. Previously, I didn’t understand the importance of internships.   Now that I need to possibly change specializations, the market is saturated and only students can get internships. I have two MAs but I don’t have enough experience to get an academic position. It’s difficult to live in the metro NYC area which is a competitive market.

Networking is important also but it can be very difficult for an introverted person like myself.  The bottom line is applying for jobs where one’s experience matches the ad and believing in oneself despite the circumstances.

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, City/town, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Special

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