This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is 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 a year to 18 months. This person is looking in academic and public libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
While I was fortunate to get my current position before I finished graduate school, it unfortunately resulted in me not being able to participate in any sort of practicum (in that I found out I got this job and was moving merely days after I had applied for a practicum). At work I have participated in our library volunteer program both by coordinating projects that employees volunteer for in community libraries and volunteering for several of those projects a year. One of my goals this month is to turn in an application to volunteer more regularly at one of my local libraries.
This job hunter is in an urban area in the Midwestern US and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Room for professional growth, a salary that I can pay my living and educational expenses with and location.
Where do you look for open positions?
INALJ.com, various professional organization websites and I’m on a job hunting listserv that my school has.
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?
It depends on the position. Usually 2-5 hours depending on if there’s an online application that I need to fill out. I usually tweak my resume and write a new cover letter for each position that I apply for.
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?
√ Phone for good news, email for 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)?
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
I think that they should be honest and reasonable with the requirements. An entry level position should not require several years of experience and fluency in several foreign languages. Additionally, they should really take into account experience that is related but not specifically in a library. I have an MLIS but was considered unqualified for an entry-level librarian position because I don’t have a lot of actual library experience. I currently work for a company that compiles journal articles into databases that libraries subscribe to. Even though the experience is applicable, it doesn’t seem to be valued in a library.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Let’s get rid of the paper application. As far as I know, nobody wants to have to write in tiny tiny print to fill out all the relevant information and nobody wants to use a magnifying glass in order to read everything in those applications. Librarianship is very much about technology and I feel that having a paper application reflects badly on the libraries that still require it.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Unfortunately it truly seems to be about who you know.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
No. I think that this was a well-written survey. Thank you!
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!