This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), and has been looking for a new position for a year a year to 18 months. This person is looking in academic libraries, library vendors/service providers, public libraries, and software companies, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
I volunteered at a public library for about 6 months. I worked as a library assistant for about 3 months at a public library (temp position). I did a semester long internship during Library school at a University Library.
This job hunter is in an urban area in the Western US.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
- Interesting work (Not just something that provides me with a paycheck. I want something that I find interesting and enjoy doing.)
Where do you look for open positions?
- ALA Joblist
- Google searches (In many cases I don’t even look for open positions. I just find a library or company that is interesting, then reach out to see if there is something I can do there.)
Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?
√ Only for certain kinds of employers
What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?
If I find a job ad:
- I read the job ad.
- Research the company.
- Look for reviews from current employees.
- If I find good information/nothing alarming, then I write a cover letter and modify my resume. This usually takes me 1-2 hours.
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
√ 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?
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: Being able to ask questions
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
I think they should avoid using application forms, and instead state specific application requirements or instructions such as submission of a cover letter and resume. Those that follow the instructions move on to the next round, those that don’t can be skipped over.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
They should explicitly list the characteristics they want and don’t want so that potential applicants can determine whether or not they’re a fit and should even apply.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
I think the secret to getting hired is finding the “human in” in the hiring process. By this I mean finding a way around an online form application. I have never had luck hearing back from a company when I submit an application through an online form. However, if I have the chance to write a cover letter and tailor my resume to the position, I usually find that I get contacted.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I currently work at a software company as a Researcher. Prior to this position I worked at another software company as a report writer/database specialist and taught myself how to program in a few languages. Though I didn’t work in a traditional librarian role, I do believe that my work experiences are directly related to the library field. I hope to transition to a more traditional library role in the future, so it will be interesting to see how my background is received.
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!