This anonymous person took the Job Hunter’s survey on December 29, 2012. Her responses appeared as How about not discouraging people from out of state. We followed up with her last on February 3rd, 2014.
What’s your current work situation?
I’m employed full time.
Did you relocate for your job? If so, who paid?
No, I didn’t have to this time; it was a promotion.
How did you find the listing for your job?
The original position I had been hired for was found on OLIS, I believe. I no longer work as a librarian, however, as that job was phased out. I am now a financial manager.
Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?
I did meet all of the qualifications; I was lucky enough that my MS from Drexel University included analyst and technical systems work, not just Library Sciences. It vastly broadened the range of opportunities I had.
What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?
I applied for the position, then interviewed with the president of my company.
How did you prepare for the interview(s)?
I did not do anything out of the ordinary.
Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?
When I entered into my new position, I did, since I already worked for the company. When I was originally hired I did not know anyone.
Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?
I would say so. I didn’t originally picture myself in finance (hence the library degree), but I have always had a strong bent for numbers and a love of systems, which made the job perfect for me. I’m challenged every day and I am continually learning, which is wonderful. I like it even better than library work, I think – I deal with very smart people every day. My biggest challenge with librarianship was “the public” – I don’t have a lot of patience, so that was something with which I always struggled. I’m probably happier now than I would be working in a library.
Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?
It’s lower, but seeing the state some of my other friends are in (I have one friend who has three library jobs, all part time, who is barely making ends meet because no libraries will take chances on candidates without multiple years of experience), I’m grateful for what I make. I make enough to cover my student loans, car loan, my rent, and basic living expenses – that’s a lot better than most people my age these days.
What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?
Not knowing people. I think the biggest lie I was told when I was young was that doing well in school and getting a degree would mean companies would love to hire me. That just isn’t true these days – if you don’t know someone, you typically won’t get the job, no matter how smart you are. Most companies are just unwilling to take a risk on an employee that they have no background on.
What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?
Answering this regarding my promotion – my educational background, the experience I have, and the quality of work I produced at the previous position I had. My company “took a chance on me”, as they didn’t know me previously, tested me for about a year to see what I was like as an employee, and then raised me to a level comparable with my skillset and education after I proved I was capable of much more. In all honesty, I’m not even sure how I got hired originally. The company I work for, like most companies, has an overwhelming bias toward hiring people they already know.
Your Job Hunt
How long did it take to find your job?
The position to which I was originally hired took me 9 months to find. I went on dozens of interviews, but I wasn’t offered positions. When I inquired why, I was given one of two answers every time: I either was qualified, but the organization wanted someone with more experience, or that they were not accepting MS candidates. I felt trapped between a rock and a hard place – how could I get experience if I was never even given the opportunity?
How many positions did you apply to?
I went back through my personal documentation and saved resumes and counted to satisfy my own curiosity. It was literally hundreds of positions, all across the country. Hundreds. I suspect most places discarded my resume as soon as they found out I wasn’t local; a library director who acted as a mentor to me when I first started looking told me that whenever she received an applicant from out of state it was immediately disregarded – she didn’t take it seriously for whatever reason.
How many interviews did you go on?
What was your work situation while you were job hunting?
I was employed part time when I started looking for work, then I devoted myself full time to job hunting.
Were you volunteering anywhere?
I had volunteered for the ipl2 for a short time while looking and finishing my MS.
Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?
I travelled all over the place – sometimes the drives were so long that I had to stay overnight with family members that happened to live halfway between home and my interviews so that I didn’t fall asleep on the road. I was only compensated once.
Did you decline any offers?
I ended up declining one. I was finally offered two jobs at the same time after 9 months of nothing (go figure!); I declined the one with less pay. Though, in retrospect, I should not have – and this is some information I’d like to impart to anyone job hunting right now who may find themselves in this position. Sometimes the benefits that you can be offered far outweigh any monetary differences in compensation. Had I taken the other position, I would probably be in a better place financially right now, since the benefits were better and the location had a lower cost of living in a better area; all I saw, though, were the dollar signs in my eyes and my student loans looming over me like the Grim Reaper. I make far less now with worse benefits than I would have if I’d taken the other job. Make sure you take the time to sit down and work out all of that information if you find yourself in this position – I wish I had, but at the time I didn’t know any better.
State of the Job Market
Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?
Negative. Very negative. I’m really banking on my current job security (and hoping that I do have job security!!!) because the thought of having to look for another job makes me break out in a cold sweat.
Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?
Not at all. Knowing someone is the key. It’s harder for people like me – as a military dependent, I didn’t have roots anywhere and had no one to lean on to get me “in” to a company or organization. It makes things a lot easier if you know people. The job market is all about who you know, not what you know.
What’s your ideal work situation?
Full time, pays well, good benefits. At this point I don’t know that I’d go back to being a librarian unless I get my dream job someday of being a professor. The field just doesn’t pay enough to make it worthwhile for me.
Anything else you want to tell us?
Try looking out of country if you’re really stuck – Canada and Australia have booming library fields that I was about to shift my focus toward when I finally received a job offer. Expand your capabilities by taking advantage of Groupon deals to get certified in different tech fields if you’re good with systems and computers (like Security+, for example), so that you can get offers for other positions until your dream library job opens. The simple fact is that the field of librarianship isn’t a good one to be in at this point in time – look elsewhere and you may just find a better fit for yourself. I know I did.