This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for less than six months six months. This person is looking in academic, archives, and special libraries, at entry level. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
I worked as a graduate assistant in my school’s library the entire time I was working on my MLIS (2 years). Since then I have been volunteering in a special library (3 months).
This job hunter is in a suburban area in the Midwestern US and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
- An interesting institution or collection to work with
- Positive, comfortable work environment
Where do you look for open positions?
ALA Joblist, ArchivesGig, ARLISNAP, Job Opportunities pages on institution websites
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?
Before I start anything, I make sure to do research on the job, the institution, and the people who work there to make sure I’m can provide the most relevant information about myself. I’ll pull information from my “master” resume to create one that is specific to the job I’m applying for. I use a similar method when writing my cover letter; I sometimes reuse sections from previous cover letters that I wrote for a similar job, but I always make sure to customize it for each job opening. The whole process usually takes around 3-4 hours (spread out over a couple of days).
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
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
So many people apply for each open position, I’m sure they’re already getting a lot of excellent candidates. But they could make sure to set standards for hiring (i.e. candidates will only be considered if they have 2+ years of postgraduate experience), or highlighting specific attributes that they’re looking for in the job postings.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Communication! It really takes a toll to spend time and energy filling out so many job applications only to check your email everyday and not see anything until an email 3 months later saying that they’ve hired someone else (but feel free to peruse their jobs page for other opportunities!). I know that HR reps and hiring committees are really busy so it might not be realistic to expect regular communication.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Making connections. With most jobs being posted on the internet, HR reps and hiring committees receive hundreds of mostly-identical resumes and cover letters. Having someone within the institution to vouch for you, or making a connection with someone who might be on the hiring committee can help make sure you at least get an interview.
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!