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,

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!

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

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