Plenty of positions on the sites are not looking for new librarians, and it’s been one of the best sources for openings

Picnic lunch on a hunting party, Queensland, ca. 1912This 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 less than six months . This person is looking in academic libraries, library vendors/service providers, public, school, and special libraries, at the following levels: supervisory, department head, senior librarian, branch manager, director/dean.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the Western US, and is not willing to move.

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

Interesting work
Appropriate to my experience
Not too far from home

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist
library listservs
Library school listings (even though I have over 30 years experience, plenty of positions on the sites are not looking for new librarians, and it’s been one of the best sources for openings)
Listing on state library association sites

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 check out the library’s institution’s Web sites, especially to read any kind of strategic plan.
If I can, I visit the library.
If I know people who work there or have worked there, I will talk to them.
I write the cover letter to the position, making it very specific.
The letter and resume probably take a couple of hours. If an application is required as well, that can take longer. Our local community colleges require a transcript, which took a very long time, since my library school is out of state, my degree was a long time ago, and it didn’t arrive the first time.

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 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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
√ Other: Being able to ask people honestly what they like/don’t like about the library.

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

Advertise widely. Offer very competitive salaries/benefits. Have a good reputation about working there.

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

Do their best to make the candidate feel comfortable rather than on the hot seat. It would be helpful to me to have the questions ahead of time. I have really been caught off-guard and unable to respond in some interviews.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Some of it is just dumb luck and being in the right place at the right time. For a new librarian, it’s being willing to take a less prestigious job or a less appealing location just to get that first experience that will lead to better jobs. Be self-confident; I’ve been told I interview well, and though I’m shy, I think it’s because I’m confident in my ability. Get out and meet librarians. Go to workshops and conferences where networking is available (this is one of the problems with online conferences/webinars, since there’s no networking opportunities). You never know who might know someone who knows someone. I let everyone I know that I am looking for a job and asked them to let me know if they knew one would be opening up.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey!

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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