Stop Creating ‘Frankenstein’ Jobs

hunting in the cascadesThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field) and has been hired within the last two months.  This person looked/has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level and Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I don’t have any internship experience; I couldn’t afford to pay tuition for the privilege of working for someone for free. Also in my area, the competition for internships and even volunteer positions is terrible. If you didn’t go to an Ivy League school, U of MD, or have an important family member you don’t get internships in the DC area.

This job hunter is in a suburban area of the Mid-Atlantic US, and is willing to move anywhere.

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

A chance to make a professional contribution, the opportunity to grow professionally, and to perform work that provides me with real job satisfaction.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA, SLA, Archive related job sites, Indeed, INALJ, USAJOBS, and anything else I can find.

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

√ Other: At this point, salary isn’t that much of a consideration.

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

I prepare a cover letter, adjust my resume and hope. I don’t spend much more than 30 mins per submission.

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?

√ Phone
√ Email
√ Mail
√ Phone for good news, email for bad news
√ Other:

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Other: I’d take anything I was offered.

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

Stop creating ‘Frankenstein’ jobs, where you try to merge what had been several jobs into one person to save money.

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

Respond to all applications in a timely manner.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Frankly, I think its where you went to school, who you know, how old you are, and if you can help the school meet any of its non-work related demographic needs that really determine who gets hired.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Only that it is so frustrating to try and get a job when eveyr one wants someone with experience. I recently competed for a job that paid below scale and for which I had both experience and education but didn’t get it. I’ll never know why but I feel that my age and the fact that I worked for the DC public schools play a part. I also think that having gotten my degree from SJSU, getting decent letters of recommendation has proven to be a real problem.

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!


Filed under Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, Other Organization or Library Type, Public, School, Special, Suburban area

4 responses to “Stop Creating ‘Frankenstein’ Jobs

  1. Reblogged this on thetwentiesacademic and commented:
    I found this article to be quite useful. Not just for my aspirations in marketing and library & information science, but for college graduates in general. It also addresses the issues that occur with internships, that are very relevant to many college students.


  2. Emilie

    I think that in order to gain experience, one might need to take a side job so you’re able to get an internship. Not everyone can do this. But 30 minutes for a job application seems incredibly short for me! I usually get noticed when I apply for jobs, and I don’t think it is only because of internships (I’m about to start one but have never had one previously in the LIS field), but because I volunteer at libraries, even just for a few hours a month – it helps! And taking the time to craft a really specific cover letter and resume for the job you’re applying for makes a big difference.


  3. MedLibrarian

    Unfortunately, I think this is the reality of a tight market. We can afford to demand experience from applicants and we can’t afford to have separate positions for every type of skill we need. I understand the frustration about the paying-to-work-for-free practica/internships, but again, this is the reality. The reward for those types of internships is not money; it is the contacts you make and the experience you get out of them.


  4. Also SJSU student

    I have to agree with the above posters – I’m also “paying” for an internship in that I’m paying tuition but the contacts plus the experience are worth it. I suggest volunteering regularly – not only for the skills but again for the contacts. You can also get references just from volunteer work – 2 of mine are from volunteer gigs.

    You sound a bit burned out from the job hunt which is understandable. Perhaps try to reflect on what it is that you are passionate about in libraries and find a way to reconnect to that aspect or find a project you can work on in the meantime that gets you excited.


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