Where I can use my skills and my brains

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 More than 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, and Special libraries, at the following level: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I earned my MLIS from a distance program. I had a 40-hour a week job, a spouse and two dogs, so all of my free time was going to library school. As a result, an internship was logistically impossible, especially with my school’s requirements. And I regret not being able to do one every time I apply for another position.

I was unemployed for two years previous to being hired in my current para- position and I was able to volunteer for an LGBTA library. It was fantastic for reference experience.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the Western US, and is:

picky, but wholeheartedly willing to move if the area fits my requirements.

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

1. A professional-level position where I can use my skills and my brains to help the institution and its patrons.
2. Intellectual stimulation.
3. Location. I know this limits my options, but I’m openly-gay and can’t conceive of working somewhere I’d have to be in the closet (even if in the community vs. at work.)

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ.com, floridalibraryjobs.org, EmployFlorida, HigherEdjobs.com, The Chronicle of Higher Education, ALA joblist, Simmons’ Jobline, the MA Board of Library Commissioners website, PNLA.org, and a few other region-specific sites.

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 generally look at the job ad, try to get a feel for what they want and then I chart out specific answers to the required & preferred KSA’s. I use those experiences to write the cover letter and modify my resume. I’ve done this in as quickly as a day, but if it’s a “premium” job for me I’ll take longer. My average is three days.

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?

√ Email

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
√ Being able to present

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

I generally look at the job ad, try to get a feel for what they want and then I chart out specific answers to the required & preferred KSA’s. I use those experiences to write the cover letter and modify my resume. I’ve done this in as quickly as a day, but if it’s a “premium” job for me I’ll take longer. My average is three days.

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

Quit making future librarians fill out the standard hiring form. We’re professionals and I think a resume/ cv and a cover letter should be sufficient for the first round. I’ll be more than happy to fill out the form if I know I’m a second-round candidate.

Also, communication is critical. I know that academic libraries hire at a geologic pace, but if I’m a second-round candidate, getting back to me at all is simply a matter of courtesy, even if I haven’t been hired. If it’s going to be a few months before you can schedule the second-round candidates, let them know that up-front rather than force them to wait months without a word.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Patience, preparedness, a good working “chemistry” with your future boss and peers, and connections.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I think that this survey is fantastic, especially in the light of a very tough job market and hiring librarians who are out of touch with what job-hunters have to go through to even get a first interview.

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses.

Are you hunting for a new LIS job? Take the survey! http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibJOBHUNTERsurvey

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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