an economically sustainable position

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F12-3This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic, Public, School and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level , Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, and Paraprofessional. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I am no longer a new grad (graduated 2008 and have 2 years full time librarian experience) but before I graduated I completed four librarian internships, substituted for a librarian on leave, and worked for three years as a library paraprofessional.

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

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

1. A financially healthy institution and an economically sustainable position (i.e. low risk of being laid off due to budget issues). I graduated in 2008 and have already been threatened with layoff and/or laid off from two library positions due to budget cuts and last-hired procedures.

2. An innovative, motivated staff and healthy, non-dysfunctional work environment, with a major focus on community outreach and service

3. Professional development opportunities and mentorship

Where do you look for open positions?

Local government websites

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?

1-2 hours for a typical civil service application with no essays (but every librarian position I’ve applied to since 2009 has added essays to the application)

For applications requiring essays and cover letters, 1-2 days

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?

√ Mail

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

–Dispense with application quotas (ex. “Our deadline is X, but we will only accept the first 30 applications received.”) Using such quotas excludes many qualified candidates and creates a maddening guessing game for everyone applying. If you are going to use quotas, at least update your website to indicate when the quota has been filled so candidates don’t waste their time applying after that.

–Post on multiple websites and listservs, especially those with a relevant focus (ex. post Youth Services openings on PUBYAC)

–Streamline the application process by:

–Providing online applications.

–Have staff test the applications before they go live to make sure there are no glitches, such as PDF fields that allow only X number of characters so applicants’ responses get cut off. (I have filled out many applications that don’t allow enough space for school or library names).

–Use software like NeoGov that allows applicants to use or import information from saved applications. It’s a waste of applicants’ time to make them copy and paste their work history, etc. over and over and over.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Having a prior positive working relationship with the staff responsible for hiring

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

Thank you for your work on this topic, and for all your work helping applicants through the job seeking process. It’s a brutal job market out there and it makes me feel better to know I am not alone. I look forward to hearing about others’ experiences.

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, Urban area, Western US

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