Elise Lafosse began her career as a law librarian, working in in law firm libraries from 1985 to 1997. She then discovered the field of prospect research (where a prospect researcher identifies and provides biographical, professional and financial information on potential donors to an organization by searching various online databases and websites on the Internet) and worked in that field from 1997 until May 2014, when her position was eliminated. She has since been job hunting in academic and public libraries at the entry level, and updating her library skills by taking courses at the CT State Library, Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and Cotton Gloves Research. She also volunteers at the Auerbach Art Library at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, helping to catalog a bequest of art books and art catalogues to the library. Ms. Lafosse is in an urban area in the Northeastern US and is not willing to move.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Good hard-working people.
Comfortable happy environment.
Opportunity to learn new skills.
Where do you look for open positions?
Connecticut Library Consortium Job List
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?
I read the job announcement carefully, highlight key points. I write a cover letter that addresses the key points.
Recently, I have adopted a new way of writing cover letters where I create a table containing two columns and multiple rows. The left column is titled Requirements, and it is where I list the requirements from the job announcement in a separate row. The second column is titled Skills and lists my skills and experience that fit the requirement on that row.
Then I fill out the application. If the application is a non-editable Adobe PDF, I use the Foxit PDF Reader which allows you to download the application and use the typewriter feature to type the applications.
Then either I email or mail the cover letter, resume, written references and application.
Then I sometimes follow up in a few weeks to find out the status of my application. Sometimes that process is frustrating. I followed up yesterday re a position, the woman was nice and said she would find out, and then I never heard back. I decided to leave it for now. Maybe I will follow up in a week or so.
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
√ To inform me when 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?
I think employers need to be more flexible regarding absolute must skills. I have been trying to get a position in a public library, however frequently they demand that the applicant know a particular ILS. Personally, I think I have the skills to learn a new ILS very quickly. I keep trying to convince them of that in my cover letter. So far, no go. I think employers might be ruling out good people simply because they do not have one particular skill.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
I think employers should
1. Always inform the applicant that she or he did not get the job, instead of leaving the applicant hanging out there.
2. Always thank the applicant for coming in to interview, even if that person was not selected for the position.
I interviewed with three people for a position, then never got a thank you or even a notice that I was not hired. I found it incredibly rude, especially since I had sent a thank you letter to each interviewer. I am glad I am not working at an institution where people are so inconsiderate.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Being a strong interviewer. I am working on getting stronger in that arena.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I have an MLS which I received in 1988. For the past several years, I have been working as a development researcher. When I lost my job recently, I decided I wanted to return to librarianship. I am having trouble finding a job in a library, entry level or other, because I don’t know the ILS or just have been out of the field for awhile. Before I became a development researcher, I was a reference law librarian. I really do not want to return to law libraries and would prefer to find a job in a public library.
For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.
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!