I would love to see something for people with other backgrounds trying to get an entry-level or paraprofessional position

hunting in the cascadesThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not 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 six months to a year. This person is looking in public libraries at the following levels: Entry level; paraprofessional.

This job hunter is in a city/town in the Southern US and is not willing to move.

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

(1) Part-time hours that allow me to pick my child up from school
(2) Potential to move into full-time in the future
(3) Short commute

Where do you look for open positions?

Local libraries’ individual websites
Local newspaper
State library association website

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 just started job hunting after several years as a SAHM, so for the first one it took me several hours over a weekend to look up all my previous employment history , put together a resume, and write a decent cover letter.

In the future, hopefully it would only take 15-30 minutes to tweak my resume and cover letter to tailor them to each position. I hate filling out the on-line applications, though. They are so tedious!

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
√ Other: I would love to know why I wasn’t selected, esp. if I didn’t even get an interview

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: Phone for good news, e-mail for routine or 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

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

Be clear & truthful about job requirements! For example, if fluent Spanish is required, please say so in the posting, BEFORE I spend an hour filling out your online application.
Say what the pay range is.
Be open-minded, people with non-library backgrounds may still have the skills needed, and may add something new to the mix.

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

Give feedback. At the very least let the applicant know their application has been received and let them know when & if they are no longer being considered. Let them know why they didn’t make the cut, or what they could do to improve their chances in the future.

Also, if you already have someone picked out, don’t post the job and let dozens of people get their hopes up & waste their time applying.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Honestly, I think it is all about knowing somebody to get your foot in the door. I think many times they already have someone in mind before they post the job.

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

I know you are geared towards people with an MLS degree looking for librarian positions, but I would love to see something for people with other backgrounds trying to get an entry-level or paraprofessional position.

For example, I have a BS in biology with an area in education & and MS in microbiology. I worked several years in laboratory research, then quit to raise my kids. In the meantime I briefly had my own small cake business, coached track, and have volunteered in the school. I would like to go back to work part-time, and after much thought I have decided a library clerk would be the perfect job. But, how do I convince them to hire me for a position I am seemingly over-educated (advanced degree) but underqualified (no library and limited customer service experience), and that this is really the job I want & will stay at? Is it wrong to omit my MS degree from my resume/application, since it is completely irrelevant to the job I want?

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!

1 Comment

Filed under Job hunter's survey, Southern US

One response to “I would love to see something for people with other backgrounds trying to get an entry-level or paraprofessional position

  1. Is there a university or college in your town or anywhere nearby? If so, you may want to try looking for jobs there. Your advanced education could be an asset to them!


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