Remove “3 to 5 years of experience” from the requirements for entry level positions.

Hunting with Texas Jim Mitchell and friends in the Florida EvergladesThis 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 less than six months. This person is looking in academic, archives, library vendors/service providers, and public libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, supervisory, branch manager. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:

Soon-to-be MLIS graduate with 5 years of paraprofessional public library experience in a variety of part time roles in shelving, circulation, reference and another 5 years of full time work in program coordination, event planning, and administration.

This job hunter is in a city/town in Canada and is willing to move, but only to large urban areas in Canada.

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

Salary, location (in a large urban center in Canada), and management role or chance to advance into management role.

Where do you look for open positions?

LinkedIn, Canadian library association sites (FLA, LAA, CLA, OLA), library school websites (Toronto, Western, UBC), INALJ,

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?

Around 3 to 5 hours on each application. I tailor the cover letter and resume to the job ad and based on some preliminary research on the organization (mission, news stories, etc).

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Other: I may exaggerate some of my previous roles but my extensive experience means I’ve likely done comparable work in the past that I can draw from

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

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?

Remove “3 to 5 years of experience” from the requirements for entry level positions. It baffles me when I see this in entry level LIS jobs. Everyone knows experience is preferred but new grads need to get their foot in the door somehow and often end up in these positions anyways. Also I have 3 to 5 years of experience, just not in a librarian position so I always say that I have this experience. Other candidates may not look at it that way and may not apply.

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

Provide salary ranges to candidates. I won’t apply for a position with a salary lower than my current one. I was offered positions for two different jobs which I turned down because the salary not listed in the job ad and I was offered less than I was expecting. It was a waste of time in my opinion, though I enjoyed getting additional interview experience.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Networking. Nearly everyone I know who has a librarian position has gotten it through networking with the organization. Either knowing someone who works there who gave advice, volunteering with the company, or coming to drop off their application in person and meeting HR staff when they do so. The in-person touch is undeniably important to being hired, in my opinion. I do apply for jobs online but, if it is possible, I think dropping off an application in person while looking very professional (i.e. wearing a suit) is a successful trick.

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 Canada, Job hunter's survey

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