Monthly Archives: June 2014

I have been very disturbed by the quality of pre-professional reference and instruction experience new graduates have described

School children singing, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC)This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference/Instruction Librarians; subject liaisons

This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a city/town in the Midwestern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

4

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Budgeting/Accounting
√ Collection Management
√ Web Design/Usability
√ Research Methods
√ Reference
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)
√ Field Work/Internships
√ Other: Statistics

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

New graduates seem to lack practical experience, especially in public services reference; I have been very disturbed by the quality of pre-professional reference and instruction experience new graduates have described when they have applied for our reference jobs. In addition, if new graduates have practical experience in academic libraries, they have not learned how to articulate how practical experience in one library might relate to another. MLS/MLIS holders in general appear to lack training in budgeting and accounting.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

The reference interview; information literacy lesson planning (with actual experience teaching an instructional session); library programming for a specific patron population; creation of learning objects; cultural competence and demonstrated ability to work with diverse populations.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (on-campus program)

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

University of Wisconsin-Madison; San Jose State University

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Hustle. Get practical experience in the kind of library where you see yourself working when you finish your degree. Don’t stop at a 4-5 month practicum. Volunteer or work hourly if you can’t get a graduate assistantship in a library. My colleagues and I value the learning involved in the MLS/MLIS; however, it’s meaningless if new graduates haven’t applied their learning from school in a workplace setting.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

It’s hard to apply for a job only to find out that there is no health insurance for the first three months or that the pay rate is less than $30,000 annually

A hunter and his dog quail hunting De Funiak Springs, FloridaThis 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 libraries, archives, library vendor/service providers, public libraries, special libraries, and corporate libraries at the following levels: Entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory.

This job hunter is in a Suburban area in the Midwestern US and is not willing to move.

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

Remote status (work from home), challenge, health insurance

Where do you look for open positions?

Everywhere! I look at the ALA Joblist, on professional listservs, Monster.com, Careerbulider.com, etc.

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?

I spend at least an hour on preparing an application. I prepare my resume specifically for that job, answer all the questions, edit everything, and turn everything in.

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
√ Other: When they hire 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)?

√ Other: Finding out more about the job

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

They should state how much they pay and what their benefits are. It’s hard to apply for a job only to find out that there is no health insurance for the first three months or that the pay rate is less than $30,000 annually.

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

They should be honest and state the relevant info up front.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Honestly, determination, and hard work.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Suburban area

Your behavior during class time and team work is more crucial than you know

Timestamp: 8/9/2013 16:08:40

Digital ID 434250. Girls in classroom, Traveling Library at Public School Playground July 1910.. Hine, Lewis Wickes Photographer. 1910This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference librarians, Acquisitions managers, Branch supervisors,Outreach librarians

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in a city/town in the Western US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Project Management
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Services to Special Populations
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Most of the time it’s management experience but that has to be learned and earned. Experience is the best way to get it.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

They have to learn about the collection and the patrons through experience although backgrounds in collection development and community needs analysis certainly do help. A management course is helpful but until you’ve managed, it’s all just book-learning. Management presents unique and ambiguous learning opportunities every day. You get better with practice – or you learn that management is not for you. Also, soft skills are so hard to teach but they are so necessary. Team work in school with a strong emphasis on peer evaluation and feedback – as well as an instructor who is tuned into the strengths and weaknesses of teams/ team members is one of the only opportunities to teach soft skills in an MLS curriculum. I don’t think it’s an easy task at all.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Other presentation
√ Professional organization involvement

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

It’s the people not the schools. Good candidates go to so-so schools and bad candidates sometimes graduate from good ones. If a school is accredited, that’s good enough. I look at the candidate. Having gone to library school very recently I can say unequivocally that it’s about what the student puts into the work far more than it’s about the overall quality of the school. Even good schools sometimes have a bad instructor or two…

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

No. See the above.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Treat assignments like they are job tasks. Imagine you are being paid by taxpayers and evaluated by them and your supervisor.

Act like an adult when you are in class. Don’t talk while the teacher is talking. Don’t mess around on Facebook with your iPad.

Your behavior during class time and team work is more crucial than you know. It’s not just practice. If you let your team down or do shoddy or late work, that word gets out. People won’t hire you. Trust me, the library world is very small.

Do you have any other comments, for library schools or students, or about the survey?

To library schools: Take your students’ feedback about instructors seriously, even when it is angry. School is a large investment of many resources. Bad instructors need to reform or go.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 50-100 staff members, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Knowing people. Dumb luck.

Hunter and Daughter before Sunset Waiting for a Deer...National Archives at College Park via Flickr commonsThis 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 is looking in academic libraries, archives, and public libraries at the entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I completed two internships while a student and have held multiple volunteer positions.

This job hunter is in an Urban area in the Northeastern US and is willing to move anywhere.

Where do you look for open positions?

professional listservs, ALA Joblist, lisjobs.com, libraryjobpostings.org

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

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

Be specific as to who and what they want in the job description

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

Notify rejected applicants

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing people. Dumb luck.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Urban area

the ability to turn chance encounters with students and faculty into something more substantial.

Westmoreland School House Number 9, New HampshireThis anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

reference and bibliographic instruction librarians

This librarian works at a library with 100-200 staff members in a city/town in the Midwestern US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ Depends on the school/Depends on the candidate

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Project Management
√ Reference
√ Information Behavior
√ Outreach
√ Instruction
√ Soft Skills (e.g. Communication, Interpersonal Relations)

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Not commonly lacking. It’s more personality-based. I value initiative: the ability to see what needs to be done or fixed, and take appropriate steps. Also the ability to turn chance encounters with students and faculty into something more substantial.

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Dealing with the public at the reference desk and in instruction classrooms; dealing with co-workers inside and outside the unit; understanding local practices or hierarchies or at least knowing such things exist

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum
√ Teaching assistant/Other instructional experience

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

Indiana University’s main campus at Bloomington has lots of opportunities for students to get experience.

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Get experience!! Theory is great and necessary, but can’t substitute for actually doing the work.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 100-200 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

Other schools who do not rely entirely in online coursework

Public Schools Athletic League (LOC)This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Reference librarians and subject liaisons

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an urban area in the Western US.

Do library schools teach candidates the job skills you are looking for in potential hires?

√ No

Should library students focus on learning theory or gaining practical skills? (Where 1 means Theory, 5 means practice, and 3 means both equally)

3

What coursework do you think all (or most) MLS/MLIS holders should take, regardless of focus?

√ Cataloging
√ Library Management
√ Collection Management
√ Metadata
√ Research Methods
√ Reference

Do you find that there are skills that are commonly lacking in MLS/MLIS holders? If so, which ones?

Search strategies and skills in helping users find information

When deciding who to hire out of a pool of candidates, do you value skills gained through coursework and skills gained through practice differently?

√ Yes–I value skills gained through a student job more highly

Which skills (or types of skills) do you expect a new hire to learn on the job (as opposed to at library school)?

Software can be learned on the job. Instruction skills can be learned on the job, but candidates must give a simulated instruction as part of the hiring process.

Which of the following experiences should library students have upon graduating?

√ Library work experience
√ Internship or practicum

Which library schools give candidates an edge (you prefer candidates from these schools)?

University of Texas at Austin and other schools who do not rely entirely in online coursework.

Are there any library schools whose alumni you would be reluctant to hire?

University of North Texas

What advice do you have for students who want to make the most of their time in library school?

Do a practicum or volunteer in a library.

This survey was coauthored by Brianna Marshallfrom Hack Library School. Interested in progressive blogging, by, for, and about library students? Check it out!

Special Note: From December 6, 2013 to October 24, 2014, the ALA will accept comments on the Draft revised Standards for Accreditation of Master’s Programs in Library and Information Studies. More information about the process of changing these standards is here. If you have opinions about what people should be learning in library school, here’s a way that you can influence change.

Do you hire librarians? Tell us, “What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School?”: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibschoolsurvey

Leave a comment

Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Urban area, Western US, What Should Potential Hires Learn in Library School

I prefer to mail in application packets, but will email them if it is an accepted method.

Ptarmagin HunterThis 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 more than 18 months. This person is looking in public libraries and private or charter school libraries at the entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

I did a Practicum during my final semester in school. I volunteered at a local library for 7 months, and was hired there last month as a part-time Library Page. I am hoping this will be a step toward being hired as a Librarian.

This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Midwestern US and is not willing to move.

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

A position in the area I specialized in during my schooling.
A location within 30 minutes from where I live.
A position with competitive salary and good benefits.

Where do you look for open positions?

University listserv, The Library Network, LinkedIn, local library/city 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?

I fill out the application first, if there is one required. Next, I make sure my resume is up-to-date and has all information pertinent to the position I’m applying for. Finally, I write my cover letter. I prefer to mail in application packets, but will email them if it is an accepted method.

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 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?

√ Other: Email or phone

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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I wish I knew!

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Suburban area

reduce the superfluous information in advertisements

PhC42.Bx17.Hunting.F13This 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 libraries, at the following levels: senior librarian.

This job hunter is in a city/town in the Midwestern US and is not willing or able to move anywhere.

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

Location
Dynamic job responsibilities
Evidence of position’s autonomy in relation to overall library planning and work.

Where do you look for open positions?

Listservs

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?

Update vita
Evaluate my “fit” for the position and provide this information in resume
20 hours

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

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)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

Be upfront with job expectations; reduce the superfluous information in advertisements

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

Be honest

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Knowing the right person at the hiring institution;
Presenting your own experiences in the context of what is needed in the new job (selling yourself)

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

Further Questions: How might a candidate overcome a bad first impression?

This week we asked people who hire librarians:

How might a candidate overcome a bad first impression? Job searching advice always says to be early, prepare for the unexpected, and research everything ahead of time, but social faux pas can still happen. Can a candidate still advance in the process or land the job if they make a mistake, particularly in an in person interview? Why or why not? Bonus points if you have any related stories, personally or from your libraries.

Laurie Phillips

I think it’s hard to overcome a bad first impression but not impossible. I’ve had people be late, but then recover. We had a candidate years ago who said, during her tour of the library before dinner (the night before her all day interview), something to the effect that undergraduates are stupid. Well, we’re primarily an undergraduate institution so that was decidedly a wrong answer. I thought to myself, “well, she’s not getting the job.” If she had realized her mistake and addressed it later, it might have changed our minds about her. But she didn’t. We have dinner with the candidate the night before the interview day and we hope that they can relax and talk to us. New Orleans is a tough city to have dinner with a committee if you’re not a foodie – lots of things on the menu that you might not be familiar with. If the person looks like a deer in the headlights, it’s hard for us to interact. If they’re not afraid to ask questions, or just go with the flow, we’ll get off on the right foot. Honestly, we have an evening and a full day with the candidate, so there are a lot of venues and opportunities for the candidate to shine or to overcome initial nervousness.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

 

Jason GrubbThe best way to overcome a bad first impression is to make a good first impression. There is no room for error. I’ve been on multiple selection committees. It is almost impossible to forget a social faux pas. It sometimes becomes the defining point of the entire interview and all that can be remembered even when the candidate stood out in so many other positive ways. It’s human nature I suppose that we can forgive, but not forget even when we try. We were interviewing an amazing candidate that arrived chewing gum. She eventually removed the gum after the first question, but the damage was done. The gum became the focus of the post interview deliberations instead of her terrific answers to the interview questions. If you catch yourself doing something stupid during the interview don’t ignore it. Point it out, explain it off as nerves and hope that the other candidates do something far worse.

– Jason Grubb, Director, Sweetwater County Library System

 

It is extremely difficult to recover from a bad first impression. Also, if you plan to apply for another position at the same institution and you made a bad impression the first time, even though the search committee is only supposed to review candidates based on their application materials, if they remember you it may impact your chances at getting the next job.

It also depends on the other candidates and how they performed at the on site interview, it is possible your faux pas is not as bad as you thought or the other candidate said or did something much, much worse. If it is something out of our control (such as you are out of town for an interview, you are traveling with only one suit and the waiter at breakfast spills an entire pot of coffee and maple syrup on you) you can try to use humor to diffuse the situation or simply just explain to the search committee what happened and hope for the best.

The only bonus item I can think of from personal experience is we had a candidate make some racial slurs during her presentation. She did not get the job, it was several years ago, and people still bring it up.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas Libraries

 

Celia RabinowitzWe actually had a case here of inviting a librarian for an interview who never showed up and never contacted us to tell us what happened. I was not the director at the time so I don’t know how that was resolved, but I do remember waiting to hear from the person and the committee eventually deciding that she was not going to arrive. This is was before cell phones or laptops so communication was not as easy as it is now.

I think a lot about answering this question rides on the kind of bad impression. Did a candidate make a joke that wasn’t funny? Was it really offensive? Were they overly finicky at dinner? Provide more details about their life than they should have? Most of those go into that amorphous “fit” category. How much can be chalked up to nerves or fatigue and how much is a harbinger of things to come? There is a fine line between quirky and creepy. Did almost everyone who had an opportunity to meet the candidate express some concerns or did the person make one big whopping mistake? Even though the in-person interview experience is short, I think it is possible to try to envision the candidates in your library. Will you and your colleagues feel comfortable? Do you think the candidate will? Will people come to trust and respect that person? It is heard to make a decision especially when there is more that went right than went wrong you might overlook the bad impression (assuming that it wasn’t formed because of something the person did or said that is outside the bounds of acceptable behavior).

We hired a librarian recently for a teaching and research support position whose teaching demonstration was the weakest part of her interview and she knew it. But we all were convinced that she had the most potential and did so well otherwise that we offered her the job. I think she was surprised when I called her. And she is a great part of our team.
– Celia Rabinowitz, Director of the Library, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

angelynn kingIt is always possible to recover from an error if you’re honest, self-aware, and in control of your emotions. Just acknowledge the mistake, take responsibility, and move on. The search committee members have all been on the other side of the table, so they know what it’s like to be nervous, and most of them will be understanding. (If they’re mean, you don’t want to work there, anyway.) Academic library job interviews frequently last a whole day or even longer, so it’s the overall impression that will stay with them, not any one thing the candidate said or did.

There’s a difference, though, between a misstep and a serious lack of judgment. Here are a few examples taken from real life…

Error (recoverable):

1. Getting someone’s name wrong
2. Blanking on a question
3. Arriving a little bit late
4. Being somewhat under- or over-dressed

Bad mistake (cause of concern):

1. Being rude to the support staff
2. Drinking too much
3. Saying bad things about your former or current employer/coworkers
4. Being obviously unfamiliar with the institution or area

Remember, everyone assumes that at the interview you are putting forward the best possible version of your professional self. If you can’t get through eight hours without saying or doing something unpleasant, they will not want to see how you react under day-to-day pressure.

-Angelynn King, Head Librarian, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

2 Comments

Filed under Academic, Archives, Further Questions, Public, School, Special

Don’t give up!

Harold Rougeux is currently employed in a part-time / temporary position at an academic library, and had been searching for a new position for eight months prior to being hired. His search included Academic libraries, Library vendor/service providers, Public libraries, and private industry at the following levels: entry level, branch manager, and requiring a moderate amount of experience. Regarding internships/volunteering, Harold says:

I volunteered for six months each with a local public library and in the archives at a local historical society. I resigned from those positions for a full-time position at a remote academic/public library in Alaska, and moved there to work while I finished my MLS online. It was a paraprofessional position, and if you can find one of those to get some experience and to show employers that you really want to work in this field, I feel that is superior to volunteering or an internship. I am also a volunteer assistant for the state of Alaska at INALJ. Anyone can participate at INALJ from anywhere with only a few free hours a week, even while searching for job leads, so I would suggest getting involved with that the next time a call for volunteers is put out.

Harold is in a city/town in the Southern US and is willing to move almost anywhere.

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

– Makes use of my skills and abilities.
– Opportunities for advancement and professional growth.
– An atmosphere in which I am valued as a professional.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, Indeed, Simply Hired, various state and regional library association job pages, http://www.inalj.com

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

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be). Salary is not my only motivation in pursuing a job. It is a consideration, but it is not the only consideration. Other factors such as location, fringe benefits, and a good work/life balance may make up for slightly lower salary, so it is not wise to screen a job out based only on that.

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

I was spending a lot of time applying before, approximately two to six hours a day. I prepare as much of the application as I can online (or in print on some applications), then copy the description from the posting and use that to guide me in highlighting as many matching qualifications as I have while I write the resume and cover letter. I almost never start and finish an application on the same day. I want my mind very sharp and fresh when deciding that something is ready to submit, so I give myself a second day to proofread and make adjustments.

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
√ 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

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

Advertise in the places where we are looking for postings.
Have a librarian or two paying attention to the postings your HR department is putting out to keep the expectations reasonable and realistic.

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

On the actual application – Keep it short and relevant.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

You meet the qualifications and the employer feels you will be a good fit. Also, persistence… Don’t give up! This is a hard field to find work in, but keep trying! Be willing to try something a little outside your comfort zone. If you’re looking for work in a certain area, add another fifty miles to the search radius. Be flexible!

When you interview and are not offered the job, try to follow up with someone from the search committee to figure out what you could improve for the next interview. In my case, one interviewer was extremely helpful, even though he had to schedule a time across time zones to call me. He was managing a department in a large academic library at a prestigious university, and I was honored to even have the chance to interview there to begin with. I really appreciated the advice and encouragement he gave me. You should always look for opportunities like that. Find the silver lining in every rejection letter and use it to come back stronger.

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

Thank you for all the work you do!

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

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, Southern US