This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has 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 academic, archives, Historical societies and museums, public, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
1. Internship – Created an exhibit and two, year-long social media campaigns to publicize an archives’ oral history collection. Helped implement a renewed social media program.
2. Internship – Consolidated five former Girl Scout archives into one new archives – appraised, accessioned, minimal processing, some preservation, created several databases of material, digitized photographs and documents, supervised two other interns, created an archives/history webpage, created a Flickr page for digital collections, organized an outreach activity, consolidated and created a database for library of GS books.
3. Internship – Conducted an oral history, transcribed interviews, prepared interviewee’s personal papers for inclusion in local repository (along with audio and transcripts of oral history).
4. Volunteer – Tag, transcribe, and otherwise assign metadata to 4 separate crowdsourcing projects.
5. Volunteer – Helped with a children’s summer reading program for several years.
This job hunter is in an city/town in the Northeastern US and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
1. I want to do something I’m interested in!
2. I want to work with people I like and feel comfortable around.
3. I want to be able to pay my bills.
Where do you look for open positions?
ALA Joblist, SAA’s job site (although I wish they would improve it), ArchivesGig, listservs, and INALJ, mostly.
Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?
√ Other: I would like to, but it seems to be pretty hit or miss. Because I’ve never had a salaried position, I’m not really sure what price range to look for (or propose, if they require that on the application)
What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?
I read the posting several times; underline/highlight/make note of key words, phrases, and requirements; go to the library’s/archives’ site and look around (esp. their staff page, mission/purpose statement, etc.); look around the larger institution’s site (if there is one – like a university site for a university archives), esp. their mission/purpose statement and about page; look up the library/archives/institution online (Wiki and other sites with possible outside perspectives on the job site); customize my resume/cv to fit the application’s and job site’s language; customize my cover letter the same way; revise and revise again; submit and hope for the best! Usually this takes me an hour or two, maybe more for jobs I really really want.
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
√ Other: Any kind of contact is so much better than the agony of no contact!!
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
√ Other: I’ve never gotten an on-site interview for a professional position, so these are just what I think would be most important to me.
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
Get the word out in as many places as possible.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Contact their applicants in a timely manner!!
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
I honestly can’t figure that one out, except for maybe it depends on who you know. Oh – and having endless years of “professional” experience. I have lots of experience, but because it was done while I was a student it doesn’t seem to count. And all of the entry level positions (including unpaid internships) I see are requiring anywhere from 3 to 5 to 7 years of post-MLS experience.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
Thanks very much for doing this survey and having two amazing services for job hunters (Hiring Librarians and INALJ)! It really helps to have these two sites around. Job hunting is one of the most frustrating, drawn-out experiences I’ve ever had to deal with, and my continued failures really make me question my worth. Getting advice (and seeing new and interesting jobs to apply for) helps me get back on track and focus on staying positive!
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!