I had no idea. I was just doing my job.

DarlaDarla Garcia 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. She is looking in Academic and Public libraries, at the following levels: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, and Senior Librarian. Ms. Garcia is in an urban area, in the Western US, and is not willing to move. When asked to share something she was proud of, Ms. Garcia shared this story:

While working as an academic librarian in a small college, I hired a student worker on his second day of school and he remained employed in the library the duration of his time there. At graduation, he was one of two valedictorians and had to give a speech. He spoke of his courses and how much he gained from them and thanked his instructors. Then he said that the person he learned the most from, however, was me! He talked about his job in the library and what a gift it was to be surrounded by so many resources, but that the best gift was benefitting from my knowledge and ability to locate information. He spoke of how I was able to help him in any subject and that I was always willing to read over his papers and help edit and offer critiques. He said that in addition to learning so much about his chosen field that supplemented what he learned in class, he also learned how to be an excellent employee and felt that I contributed greatly to helping him feel prepared for the work force. I was so touched by this and it warmed my heart to learn that I’d had this kind of impact on him. I had no idea. I was just doing my job.

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

1. Location – within a one hour’s drive of where I currently live
2. Opportunities to learn and grow/support of professional development
3. Progressive, with regard to culture, programming, approach to user experience and problem solving, etc.

Where do you look for open positions?

Professional listserv, ALA Joblist, indeed.com, individual library 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?

I spend a lot of time on this, beginning with researching the library/organization and learning about the culture there, what they value, what they are like and what type of person might be the best fit for them. When possible, I visit the site and take notes. Then I customize my CV/resume and begin writing my cover letter. After I write it, I like to set it aside for a day and come back to it for editing and revision. I used to take close to a week from start to finish, but have seen positions withdrawn well before the advertised close date, so I’ve been trying to get it submitted within about five days. It’s hard when an ad states that the application submissions process will close when sufficient candidates have been identified because I know what the job market is like for librarians right now and I don’t want to miss an opportunity to be considered – especially if I miss it due to being extra diligent about my application packet being as polished as possible!

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 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

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)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

I suspect that they are getting the best candidates already. But here is what I think they should be doing: Post positions in the places MLIS job seekers are most likely to see them, be very clear in the job description, as well as with desired skills and qualifications, list a salary range and benefits.

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

Communicate with job seekers better. Let candidates who are not being considered know that. At the first interview, give the candidate an idea of the timeline for the hiring process. Additionally, I would love to know how many candidates are in the running at each stage. For the positions I’ve interviewed for and haven’t gotten, I wish I knew why.

I have known of many times that positions are posted, even though there is not really an opening. Typically, this seems to be the case when someone has already been selected for the position, but the company is *required* to post it. I wish that companies did not require this, as conscientious job seekers spend hours crafting their application materials and it’s discouraging to later learn, after spending so much time on the application process and waiting/hoping to hear back, that there was never an available position in the first place.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Oh how I wish I knew.

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

Thank you for doing this. It’s reassuring to know that I am not alone in this frustrating position.

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!

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Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Public, Urban area, Western US

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