Marcus Walker took the Job Hunter’s survey on May 28 2014. His responses appeared as Many of them also have library staff experience, and if there is anyone who should know how valuable that can be, it’s librarians.
How long has it been since you got your library degree?
It’s been a little more than a year since I completed the actual work that went into the degree.
How many years of library work experience do you have?
Including my time as an undergraduate library assistant, I have over nine years of experience. Without it, seven.
How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?
About three and a half.
How old are you?
I’m in my mid-30s.
Your Job Hunt
How long did it take you before you found your job?
It took about six months.
How many positions did you apply to?
How many interviews did you go on?
What was your work situation while you were job hunting?
I was still employed full-time where I was before.
Were you volunteering anywhere?
No, I wasn’t.
Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?
I didn’t have to travel for any interviews.
Did you decline any offers?
What’s your new job?
I’m the Digital Collections Librarian at the University of Louisville Law Library.
Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?
Did you relocate? If so, who paid?
Sure. My desk moved from the middle of the floor to the back.
How did you find the listing for your job?
I was told about the position being created, and I was encouraged to apply for it once it was.
Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?
It did meet the qualifications.
What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?
It was rather humorous, frankly. Since I was applying for a position at the same place I worked, I couldn’t use the references at the library, nor could I be there when the other applicants were.
How did you prepare for the interview(s)?
I looked at the digital collections at the main campus library and at other libraries, and I went over the accomplishments I made, just as I would if it were a job somewhere else. (Want to know something odd? I felt more stressed during that interview than the one I had to get the library assistant position, despite knowing exactly what they were expecting, as it was a position they had wanted to create before I started the first time.)
Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?
Yes. It’s the same library. 🙂
Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?
The job is appropriate for my skill set and experience. (It would have been without the degree, too.) And so far, it exceeds my expectations.
Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?
You know how you were told as a child that patience is a virtue? Well, so is prudence. 😉
What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?
I cringe at this, because I know what so many of my fellow new grads and colleagues are going through, but the biggest obstacle was waiting for the position I have to be approved. I applied to other jobs in the meantime, and while I thought my colleagues did like me enough to keep me around, not knowing when the position was coming made me feel just as stressed as if there was no position crawling through university bureaucracy.
What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?
Frankly, they knew me and my work. I was somewhat familiar with one of the applicants from school (as familiar as you can be with someone you take online courses with), and she was brilliant enough to make me worry.
State of the Job Market
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?
Can I change that a bit? I have seen two part-time job announcements that clearly are the same position advertised as different positions in order to keep from paying full-time benefits. Close are the part-time positions that are scheduled an hour (or even a half-hour) short of paying partial benefits. I get it, but, wow.
Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?
I’m sure you figured this out already, but this job hunt was about as positive of an experience as it could have been. And I still wouldn’t want to go through it again.
Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?
I wouldn’t change it, necessarily, but I would add a suggestion. While I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had a position created in the same library I worked, if I were someone that did not do good work and they did not want around, they could have just as easily given the position to someone else or not have bothered with the position at all. So my suggestion to anyone going to library school or going through library school is, if at all possible, find yourself a job in a library and let your work make a positive impression.
Anything else you want to tell us?
I was on the committee to hire my replacement for the library assistant position. There are a few things I can say, but one stands out, since it was one of my peeves as an applicant: The cover letter does make a difference. Let the committee know why your work experience fits the position, and you will likely outshine three-quarters of the applicants by doing that alone.