Maria Lin completed the original survey on February 13, 2013. Her responses appeared earlier today as Hire for work ethic first, past achievement second.
How long has it been since you got your library degree?
About 7 Months.
How many years of library work experience do you have?
That depends on how you define it. I’ve worked in libraries for about 3 years. I was a student page in my school libraries for 5. And I’ve interned and volunteered at at various libraries for a total of about 1 year.
How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?
I’ve been employed in some capacity or another for about 18 years.
How old are you?
Your Job Hunt
How long did it take you before you found your job?
I started looking in earnest late 2012 and started work in Oct. of 2013, so about a year.
How many positions did you apply to?
Only 5! I screened myself out of most of the ones that came through, primarily because I was employed in another field, and did not want to “settle” for something that would pay less and not be what I wanted to do.
How many interviews did you go on?
What was your work situation while you were job hunting?
I was employed part time by the university’s Web Ops. department, and doing freelance cataloging work for a book dealer, among other odd jobs.
Were you volunteering anywhere?
At the time I was hired I was not.
Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?
I travelled for one interview and was compensated.
Did you decline any offers?
What’s your new job?
I’m the assistant to a rare book dealer.
Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?
It’s full time and permanent.
Did you relocate? If so, who paid?
I did relocate. The employer paid.
How did you find the listing for your job?
There was no listing. It was all networking and good timing.
Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?
There was no official job posting, so the qualifications were not set out clearly. My boss knew me from a rare book related event, saw my work ethic/personality first hand, and decided to offer me the job.
What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?
I sent in a resume, was given a description of what the job would entail, and after a little bit of negotiating via email was hired.
How did you prepare for the interview(s)?
This was entirely a job by networking. I got it because I was prepared 100% of the time to show myself off as someone you’d be comfortable giving responsibility to. I was on staff for the local book fair and worked hard there, which my boss saw, and if I had not been willing to drive to the next city over to attend a yearly conference I’m not sure I would have been offered the job.
Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?
My boss was faculty at a seminar I attended, so I spent a week under his tutelage.
Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?
Yes. It’s a bit of an odd mix, because in terms of the subject matter I’m far behind the rest of my coworkers in terms of knowledge and experience, but I was hired because I have a lot of skills (mainly tech based) that the others did not.
Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?
Slightly lower than what I was aiming for, but better than where I was.
What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?
Getting past the slush pile of applications as a new graduate is daunting. I managed to circumvent the process completely, which is not entirely possible for people aiming for more institutional, standard jobs.
What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?
It was a combination of being in the right place at the right time, and having cultivated just the right background (a lot of tech experience, rare book studies, language skills) to fit into what was needed.
State of the Job Market
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?
The ones that always get me are offering 9/hr part time and then list duties that describe a full time archives directorship.
What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?
I was asked about my favorite book and got to go on a bit with that. During a Web Ops interview I was asked about a favorite site, design wise, which was also fun to think about.
I was once asked what question I wish I had been asked. I answered, and then realized that I couldn’t actually answer that question.
Any good horror stories for us?
Nope, my interviews have been decent.
Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?
I don’t know what would be positive about it. It’s not fun to be stressing out over money.
Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?
If anything my experience has confirmed to me that luck is a major element in the equation, if not the primary element, but I might add that having strong skills on the periphery of lib sci (language, technical, etc…) can also improve your chances.
Anything else you want to tell us?
I think my experience has been non-standard, but there is something to be said about being non-standard.
If you took the Job Hunter’s Survey some time in the last year and are interested in doing a follow-up, even anonymously, please contact me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail.