Do I have a chance or am I wasting my time? I’d like to know

This post originally appeared on February 10, 2014.  A Year Two follow up will post shortly.

This job hunter originally took this survey on December 30, 2012. At the time, she had been hired within the last two months. She had been looking for a new position for six months to a year, in Academic, public, school, and special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how she described her experience with internships/volunteering:

I worked 4 years in a library in undergraduate. I worked full time in education and database editing/administration while doing my graduate work (not directly library related but I feel both had applicable skills). Since I worked full time so that I could afford to go to graduate school and basically survive I was unable to volunteer/intern directly at a library during that time. So I do find difficulty finding jobs which I find unfair because I have real world experience but because it wasn’t in a library directly I’m passed over many times.

This job hunter was in an urban area in the Midwestern US, and was not willing to move.

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

Something that will be long term
Something that fits my skills and interests
Something that allows for growth
Not a desk job (I prefer to be moving around, whether walking or helping people out)

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist
State/County websites
Library’s job boards
Metronet Jobline (specifically for MN library jobs)
Minnesota Council for Non Profits job board
Through networking contacts
School district job boards

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 always take the time to tailor my resume and cover letter so that I am sure to highlight what skills I have that match the prospective job and to make sure I include specific keywords that they list in the qualifications. I don’t set a specific time because some applications may take longer than others.

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

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

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

Be very specific about what they are looking for. Don’t be vague. If this is a temp or not full time job, make sure to include that. Don’t have silly expectations- if you’re filling an entry level job, make sure the job requirements are entry level. Also, include whether or not you would hire someone who is overqualified. If I have an MLIS and am applying for something that doesn’t require it- do I have a chance or am I wasting my time? I’d like to know.

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

Let us know what is going on! It’s nice to get acknowledgment of receipt of materials, but then a follow up email to let people know if they’re getting interviewed or not would be so nice to have. Some places take a very long time to even start interviewing, so if I didn’t make the cut it would be nice to know so I can keep looking.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

If I knew, I would already have my dream job! I guess it’s all about knowing someone (which isn’t always fair), being able to write a resume/cover letter that passes through HR filters. And a lot of luck. I wish I could say that the secret is having the skills, but anymore that isn’t enough.

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!

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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Urban area

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