This post originally appeared on February 3, 2014. A follow up will be posted later today.
This anonymous person originally filled out the job hunter’s survey on December 29, 2012. At the time she was not currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), had not been hired within the last two months, and had been looking for a new position for six months to a year. She was looking in academic libraries, library vendors/service providers, public and special libraries, and IT firms, at the following levels: entry level and requiring at least two years of experience. Here is her experience with internships/volunteering:
I volunteered at a public library from Jan. 2012 to Apr. 2012, upon which point the library director liked my work so much that I was hired and worked through August. I also volunteered at the Internet Public Library (ipl2) as a reference librarian, trainer, writer, and Quality Assurance Editor.
This person was in a suburban area in the Northeastern US, and was willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Salary, location, and opportunity for learning/challenges
Where do you look for open positions?
ALA Joblist, INALJ, individual state library board postings, USAJobs
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?
I spend 15-30 minutes preparing for an application packet. I tailor my resume to highlight the skills I have that match the job advertisement and draft a cover letter, in addition to completing any application that is required.
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 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)?
√ Tour of facility
√ 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?
How about not discouraging people from out of state? I am continually frustrated because I am willing to relocate on my own, but most of the places I have applied throw out my resume because I’m not located in the job’s state to which I am applying. I also think you shouldn’t say “Must have  years of experience.” As librarians, we can’t get experience unless someone gives us a chance, and we can’t get a chance to get experience if you turn us away by telling us we don’t have enough!
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
PLEASE communicate with us! The worst is just being left hanging after 8 interviews, with the HR manager ignoring a nice follow-up email or call. Even if you feel bad that we didn’t get hired, please tell us so we can move forward.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
In this field, libarianship? Years of experience. I was valedictorian of my undergraduate college and graduated in the top of my class for my MLIS, but because I don’t have 5 years of experience under my belt, no library will take a chance on me. It’s maddening. I know I could do a far better job than many people with lengthy experience, but I haven’t been given a chance.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I think your questions were all very well drafted. I don’t have any criticisms. Thank you for giving those of us who are trying to find work in this economy a voice!
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!