This post originally appeared on April 21, 2013. A year two follow up will post shortly.
Raymond Wang volunteers at both the East Los Angeles College library and the Pacifica Radio Archive. He is proud of his work with students, both in his current position as a part-time tutor, where he has helped three students go from struggling to getting an A or B, and in his previous work at the Prince George County Public Schools (DC suburb), where 95% of students are on free or reduced lunch and his 7th grade Algebra class achieved an 80% student pass rate on their Maryland High School Assessment Test. Mr. Wang has been looking for a new position for more than 18 months, in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the entry level. Here is how he describes his experience with internships/volunteering:
Pacifica Radio Archives Feb 2013
East Los Angeles Community college Jan 2013- Present
Santa Barbara Public Library Aug 2012-Dec 2012
Duke Univ Perkins Library Jan 2010-May 2010
Mr. Wang was previously a college radio DJ at WXYC Chapel Hill and KVRX Austin, and he plays violin, keyboard and laptop. In his free time he collaborates with friends to make music. He has a featured article and a poem on the APALA segment “What’s Your Normal?” Mr Wang is in an urban area in the Western US, 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?
ALA, Libgig, email listserv (CALIX, INFOLIT)
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 review the job description very thoroughly
Contemplate for hours to see if I meet the job description
If I decide I do, then I tailor my resume to the posting
Write a cover letter that showcases my experiences and skills to explain why you should hire me.
Send it to friends for edits (usually several iterations)
Contact references via email to make sure they are OK with me using them
Provide my references.
Fill out the application attach resume, cover letter and references.
Usually a week or 20 hrs for a library fellows position, depends on the job.
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
√ Other: Let me know how I can improve my application
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?
Provide a clear and succinct job description.
Be honest and realistic with regards to qualifications, experiences and job duties
Librarians are not clowns, we shouldn’t have to wear 20 different hats and juggle 5 batons or more. We didn’t go to school to work for Ringling Bros.
Show some respect,support and encouragement towards potential job seekers, don’t treat them like just another number. Always follow up, communicate, explain why and take the time as we have taken the time to fill out your application.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
They need to make the online application more user friendly with less hoops.
Make it more personal.
Answer questions about the position with detail and honesty
Be thorough and not ambiguous
Most of all be respectful and understanding that there are people who have been unemployed for 2 or more years without income, experience and accumulated a lot of debt.
This should be a profession that cares and has empathy not a profession that reinforces “a dog eat dog world.”
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
AND MOST OF ALL TIMING!
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
Thank you for taking the time to create this survey. Also, I hope this will let the politicians and higher ups know how difficult it is to get a job. Library Fellowships need to be more flexible on the terms of graduation dates! There are also needs to be more of them.
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!