Humility. I Think Employers Are Scared By People Who Think They Know It All

Hunting with dogsThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for six months to a year. This person is looking in Academic libraries and Public libraries at the following levels: Entry level. Here is how this person describes his or her experience with internships/volunteering:

University reference field work, part-time work with a public library, part-time with university marketing.

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Midwestern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

I’m was looking for 1) a full time position 2) in my area 3) in a either a technical college or public library.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ is my main place. Occasionally I visit USA Jobs and similar government websites. I never use ALA Joblist; it’s sparsely populated and redundant with the other sources I check.

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?

Typically I spend an hour to an hour and a half on each application. Typically I use the ad to draft of cover letter and adjust my resume accordingly, and then proceed through the inevitable online application.

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


When would you like employers to contact you?

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?


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 extremely explicit when describing the skills and qualities desired in a candidate, as well as the description of the responsibilities for the position. There are so many advertisments that are choked with jargon and corporate doublespeak, I’ve often second guessed my qualification for an entry-level or non-MLIS position simply because of the strange wording of the ad.
Also, it’s in an employer’s best interest to have a full revised job description prepared before advertising a position.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Humility. I think employers are scared by people who think they know it all. And no matter how much previous experience or training a candidate has, there will still be a period of adjustment after the hire. The key is admitting that you’re not perfect and projecting enthusiasm, determination, and positivity toward any potential obstacles.

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, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Public, Urban area

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