As of January 13, Elaine Conway is a librarian at Anne Arundel County Public Libraries, where she enjoys a supportive team environment and room to grow. She originally took the survey on December 24, 2013 and at that time had been looking for a new position for less than six months, in academic and public libraries, at the entry level. Here is her experience with internships/volunteering:
One year of internship at an urban public library, focusing on administrative tasks and programming which became an Interim position as the Programming Coordinator and one semester internship in instruction at a large academic library I was also working as a library clerk in the time between positions.
Ms. Conway was in a city/town in the Northeastern US was willing to move on the East Coast. A recent hire, she shares a little insight:
As mentioned in a previous post, tons of people told me that finding a job was a numbers game– but I found that it was only those jobs that I was qualified for and felt passionate about that I got interviews. Networking doesn’t always have to be at conferences– you can meet librarians at other types of events, like Maker events, or education and literacy events. I maintained my portfolio through much of my time in school, and then in the workplace. My current employer said that everyone in the office looked at it before I came in.
You can find her digital portfolio at: http://esconway89.wordpress.com/
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Good work environment/team
Opportunity to be creative, and heard
Location– ability to commit at least 3 years to the area
Where do you look for open positions?
Specific locations that I am interested in (county organizations, college websites, etc);
State Library Job Lists on the East Coast (Delaware Library Association, Maryland Library Association, Virginia Library Association, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, etc)– I find that more opening level positions hit these joblists than ALA or INALJ;
Jobs that people have sent to me or suggested;
Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?
√ Other: I think it reflects on the employer, and gives you an idea of their financial situation, and how set in stone their rules/regulations are. I use this information to make a decision about whether to apply, but it is not a dealbreaker.
What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?
If I’m serious, I spend more time looking at the library website to decide whether to apply than on the actual application. As far as my routine, it depends on the posting, and the types of materials required. I try to balance how much information the employer wants to wade through, and tailor my cover letter directly to the ad, citing specific work experience. I also try to mirror the language of the posting or website in my writing, pulling directly from the posting as much as possible, and amending my qualifications as needed. This can take anywhere from 2-6 hours. My preliminary research factors in to my time, increasing it by perhaps a day. The most important thing I do is I always save the posting, and information/articles I find, the tailored resume, and tailored cover letter. If someone calls me, I want to know what they know.
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 acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ 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: Questions at the end of the interview, time to chat about the position’s goals and applications
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
Employers should post in a variety of locations, be clear about expectations of the work, and adjust the postings to the work specifically, rather than just basing it off of other postings.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Applying to positions you can feel passionate about
Maintaining the tone of the website and posting
Being yourself, friendly, and inviting
When they ask if you have any questions, have some prepared– you’re interviewing them too
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I just wanted to thank you for all of these surveys. I think your help is part of why I found and got my position. It was a big part of my research, and getting these emails in my box kept me motivated.
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!