Kari Bhagat took the Job Hunter’s survey on June 18, 2014. Her responses appeared as They weren’t honest in telling me that they wanted someone with more experience.
How long has it been since you got your library degree?
I actually don’t have my degree yet. I’m finishing my last class this semester, so I’ll finish around the time I start my new job.
How many years of library work experience do you have?
About 3.5 years
How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?
I have about 2.5 years of non-library experience
How old are you?
I’m almost 24!
Your Job Hunt
How long did it take you before you found your job?
Six months- but I started really early
How many positions did you apply to?
I don’t know the actual number but my guess is that it’s somewhere around 20-30
How many interviews did you go on?
I interviewed for six different positions, but some of those had multiple rounds of interviewing
What was your work situation while you were job hunting?
I was in school, working full time
Were you volunteering anywhere?
Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?
I did travel for one interview- I paid for it initially, and they paid me back when they didn’t offer me the job
Did you decline any offers?
No, but there were definitely a few that I would have
What’s your new job?
Information Architecture Librarian with a contractor for the EPA
Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?
Permanent full time job
Did you relocate? If so, who paid?
I did relocate. I paid for the relocation, but they bumped my salary a bit in consideration of this, since their company policy is to no offer relocation assistance.
How did you find the listing for your job?
I found it on the Special Libraries Association Careers site
Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?
I met all but two of the required qualifications
What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?
The application process becomes pretty streamlined once you get into a rhythm, especially when you’re applying to similar jobs. All in all, I was on 11 interviews, I think.
How did you prepare for the interview(s)?
I would always look over the job description and my cover letter and resumes, and try to think of any questions they might ask me, and how I might respond.
Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?
I did not.
Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?
Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?
It was higher, but part of that is the relocation bump that they added into my salary.
What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?
For me it was not having my degree yet. I just did my best to sell myself in the cover letter as being the best candidate for the job, and luckily a few people were willing to consider someone with one semester left of school.
What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?
I think I had a lot of the experience they were looking for
State of the Job Market
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?
I’ve seen jobs that said: Second masters required, doctoral degree preferred.
What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?
I don’t know if I have a favorite interview question. My least favorite questions are the vague questions, like “ Someone is being disruptive in the library- what do you do?” For me, the answer to that question depends on how they’re being disruptive; I need more details.
Any good horror stories for us?
No real horror stories, but during one video interview I had with several different offices at once, the manager told me to leave the interview mid-interview to go get water, it was super awkward.
Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?
I’d say negative overall, because aside from actually getting a new job, you have months of not hearing anything, and reading job descriptions that want you to have the expertise to do everything. And even when you apply for those jobs, knowing no one can do everything, knowing you weren’t even selected, because as unique and wonderful as you think you are, there clearly is someone out there with better experience on their resume/cover letter they they decided to interview over you.
Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?
It’s certainly a tough market out there. Get as much experience pre-graduation as you can. I think that’s one of the things that helped with me. Also, make the most out of every job. the job might not be doing much, but then offer to take on a new and exciting project in something that interests you, and make that your experience in that area. Use what may seem like a boring, dull, job (or maybe not so boring) at first, into an exciting job that’s now a jumping off point for something you care a lot about and want to continue to do after school.
Anything else you want to tell us?
Not really. Networking is always great, but I never end up getting my jobs that way.