Be willing to work your way up from the bottom

Hunting guide Mr. Brown with wild turkeys near Green Swamp, FloridaThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for six months to a year. This person is looking in academic, libraries at the following levels: department head, senior librarian.

This job hunter is in a city/town in the Western US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

In no particular order:

  • Working environment (do coworkers get along; support each other)
  • Does the university support the library (Currently, my institution is testing the theory behind the statement “you cannot have a great university without a great library.” They are reducing the library to a footnote on campus.
  • Salary

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, HigherED

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 don’t change my CV from job to job. I think it encompasses everything I’ve done and everything I’m about. I do have a skeleton of a cover letter I use but only for the structure. I flesh it out based on the specific position. I like to not waste anytime. If I see a job I am interested in, I apply that day.

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?

√ 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
√ Being taken out to meal
√ 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?

Look outside of your own institution/library. Too many individuals are promoted within and you can lose that outside perspective and fresh ideas.

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

Be upfront about the salary (or at least the range). Do not require 3 letters of recommendation or my transcripts. I have over 10 years experience in academic libraries, been published, presented at conferences, those experiences should speak for themselves. Degree verification and reference check can occur prior to or after an interview and the employer can ask questions versus a bland reference letter.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Be prepared for the interviews. Write up answers to possible questions and study them. Play the interview through your head. Be willing to work your way up from the bottom; its the only way you are going to get the valuable experience and skills to move up to the next level.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey!

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, Western US

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