Put yourself in the best possible position to get hired

This post originally appeared on March 18, 2014. A follow up with Ms. Luetkenhaus will be posted in just a few moments.
Holly LuetkenhausHolly Leutkenhaus is an Instruction Librarian at Washington State University . She is a new librarian, having started her first professional position in January.She has an MA (English) and an MLS. Having been hired during her last semester in library school, she says,

It does not escape me that I am lucky to have landed a job (and a great one at that) so quickly. I was able to move immediately from my graduate degree into my position. I credit the assistantship I had while in my MLS program (and the wonderful librarians I worked with), as well as my teaching background, for my ability to find a professional position so quickly.

Prior to her move into libraries. Ms. Leutkenhaus spent 3 years as an adjunct college composition instructor. She says,

I love teaching, and I know that my background as a composition instructor heavily influenced the University’s decision to hire me. I was the right fit at the right time: they wanted someone to help strengthen the libraries’ relationship with and support of the Composition Program, and I wanted to be that person, with my background having grounded in me a passion for working with writing instructors and first-year college students.

Ms. Leutkenhaus took the Job Hunter’s Survey on January 27, 2014. At the time, she was currently employed, had been hired within the last two months, and had been looking for a new position for less than six months, in academic libraries at the entry level. Here is how she described her experience with internships/volunteering:

I was lucky as a grad student to have an assistant with great opportunities, and didn’t need to seek out additional forms of experience.


While job hunting, Ms. Luetkenhaus was in a rural area in the MidWestern US and was willing to move anywhere. You can find her on LinkedIn and on Twitter @hjl85

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

1. fits my career goals and interests
2. pays a reasonable salary (hey, I’ve got MLS loans to pay off)
3. college-wide support for the library

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist
HigherEd Jobs
Info Lit (ALA) listserv

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 would spend about 2-3 hours prepping each one, sometimes more, sometimes less. It depended on what the job ad was requiring. For example, for a position that included a significant amount of teaching, writing a teaching philosophy would take considerably longer.

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
√ 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?

√ Email

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: seeing how employees interact with one another, and how library administration interacts with employees

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

Be honest about what you’re looking for. If you really would prefer someone with a specific type of skill or experience, say it.

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

Be more communicative. There are some jobs I applied for over 6 months ago and still haven’t heard anything.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being honest with yourself about what you want from a job. It shows in your application and your interview if you are truly passionate about doing the job. Also, put yourself in the best possible position to get hired. Meaning, understand what you truly are and are not qualified to do. I knew with what I wanted to do, I would need more than just an MLS, so I put in the extra two years for a second Master’s to make myself that much more competitive. Not everyone has the time or money to commit to that, I know, and then it’s even more important to be honest with yourself about what you are qualified to do, and if there’s a way to start smaller and work up.

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

This website was so valuable to me when I was job hunting. Not only the question archive, but hearing other peoples’ stories. They were a great way to become familiar with amazingly varied views on the profession and job hunting.

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Rural area

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.