Be Clear about the Good Stuff, But Also Honest about the Challenges

Judy AndersonJudy Anderson has a JD and is also a 2002 graduate of San Jose State University SLIS.  She volunteers at a Department of Natural Resources Geology Library, where she likes the collaborative spirit. She has been job hunting for more than 18 months, in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, School libraries, Special libraries, and for Non-library work, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, Senior Librarian, Branch Manager, Director/Dean, and

Any library work, including paraprofessional.

She is in a city/town in the Western US, and is not willing to move.

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

I want it to be a library job or library related. (eg, working as an archivist, record keeper, etc.)
I want the chance to make use of my diverse background as a librarian and library director (mostly academic) and my medical and legal background.
I can’t relocate, so it has to be in reasonable driving distance.

Where do you look for open positions?

Publib, government sites (state and local), PNLA, career builder, college library listserv, and individual business and agency sites.

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?

That depends on the position and what they require. I can spend an hour to all day working on an application. It also depends on how much I really want the job.

Since I am forced to even apply for non-library entry type jobs, my efforts aren’t as intense as when I apply for positions appropriate to my background.

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

√ Other: No. But I have left off graduate degrees if I thought it would hurt my chances.

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
√ Other: An honest statement of the real challenges of the position.

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

Not ask people to list their salary requirements. It says they are looking for the cheapest candidates.

Be clear about what they want. Be clear about the good stuff, but also honest about the challenges. 

List preferred qualifications that are really relevant, not designed to keep people from applying. 

Have a clear job description and information about the company. If people don’t understand what the position involves, or what the company/agency does, then you get a mismatch of applicants and position. For example, I just applied for an archivist job that talks about having a biology degree and being able to go out in hazardous terrain. But the job description was about archiving legal and regulatory information and nothing to do with biology field work.

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

Don’t have people come for an interview if they already know who they want to hire. If they need to interview a certain number of people by law or policy, then just do it by phone. It’s frustrating to spend time and money going to an interview only to realize when you get there that they have no intention of hiring you.

Don’t have people do supplemental questions that have nothing to do with the job. Make them relevant.

Let people know what’s going on. It’s very frustrating to apply for jobs and never hear anything. Let people know if they don’t get it. If there is a delay in hiring, tell them. Be honest in the job description about the timeline or if their is still a question of funding for the position.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

If I knew that, I would have a job.

I think age is a big factor. The younger the better.

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, Law Library, Other Organization or Library Type, Public, School, Special, Western US

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