This post originally appeared on March 24, 2013. A follow up with Ms. Parham will post in just a few moments.
Cathy Parham earned her MLIS in 1998 from University of Alabama (ROLL TIDE)!! Most of her career has been spent in school libraries. She has experience in elementary, middle and high schools and three months experience in a public library as a Children’s Librarian. She is currently the Senior Librarian at Sheik Zayed Private Academy in Abu Dhabi, UAE. She has been job hunting for more than 18 months, in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, Special libraries, radio, television, and theater, at the following levels: Supervisory, Department Head, and Senior Librarian. Ms. Parham is in a city/town in the UAE, and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Where do you look for open positions?
Random online sites
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 usually look at the requirements and if I meet the requirements I try to align my resume to the requirements. I have already uploaded my documents on most sites I apply for jobs so I resubmit them (required documents) if it is required. It may take several days to submit the actual application/resume. I don’t spend more than an hour at a time on an application. It gets too intense if I spend more than an hour doing an application.
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?
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?
1. Don’t make the job description off putting. I am confident I can perform the tasks set forth for ANY librarian, however, when I read a job description I am often put off by the wording of the details and requirements. Why make it so wordy and complex? I am a school librarian and I perform EVERY duty required of any librarian from budgeting, management, teaching, cataloging, etc. However, when job searching, the descriptions don’t use simple terms, they use terms to put off job hunters. They describe the same jobs duties I perform but they put it in more technical terms.
2. Be honest about the availability of the job opening; if the job is already promised to your sister’s cousin’s husband’s friend just tell me. Stop wasting my time, especially if I never had a chance in the beginning.
3. Be fair in your salary offer. I DESERVE to be paid just like you.
4. Would it be too difficult to tell me why I didn’t get the job other than the standard “you were not qualified”, especially when I am qualified?
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
Stop hiring people they know and actually hire someone who is qualified for the job. Stop wasting applicant’s time. If you have someone in mind why lead us on? Why even post the announcement? If you have to post the announcement by law, shouldn’t you have to hire the right applicant by law? Instead of someone you know or someone who knows someone?
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
Knowing someone who can put in a good word for you. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Unfortunately.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I would like to know how to write my resume to reflect my experience. I desperately want to move into another area of this field, but can’t seem to get out of the ‘black hole’ of education. Could someone provide some type of example of a resume when moving from one area to another? Has anyone else moved from schools to special/public libraries?
I think the questions on the survey are very well thought out and to the point.
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!