the two librarians behind the counter just laughed at me (that one left me crying in my car)

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not 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, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I volunteer at my childrens’ school library. A school library is the last place I want to work and ironically was the only place I could find to take me on as a volunteer. I went to every public library in the area and each one told me they do not use volunteers, or they only accept high school students. At one I was told “There just ain’t nothing to do,” and at another the two librarians behind the counter just laughed at me (that one left me crying in my car).

This job hunter is in an urban area in the Southern US and is not willing to move anywhere.

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

–Experience (though I’ve read that prospective employers do not like to hear that, but it’s true. I want to get my foot in the door, I want to be immersed in the field I chose to spend my tuition on…I want experience!!)
–A fair salary.
–Employers and coworkers willing to give a fast-learning and motivated newbie a chance.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, indeed, USAjobs, ALA job list, college and university websites, local government sites, etc.

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?

It has gotten to be pretty routine now, but I try to play up certain strengths as per the job description in the application, resume and cover letter. It is a fairly constant process.

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

√ Other: No, but I am getting to the point that I might have to just to get a chance. I don’t feel good about that.

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?

√ 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

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

Be honest about what they want in their descriptions. I have applied for so many “entry level,” “new grads welcome,” “no experience necessary” jobs just to have my application denied due to lack of experience.

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

Communication. Let us know if you are interested, or not interested. Email is fine!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I have no idea! To be honest, I’m about ready to give up and either go back to school (which I really don’t want to do since I spent [wasted?] my whole GI Bill on my MLIS) or just swallow my pride and find a cashier or sales job somewhere. Do I need to know someone? Do I need to lie about my experience? It has been an extremely disheartening experience.

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

It’s hard to get experience when I can’t get the experience! It’s been two years, 63 applications, three rejection emails, and two interviews. Every day in which I hear absolutely nothing back (good or bad news), I’m a little more discouraged. I have also encountered a lot of rudeness and hostility in my job search. I don’t know if it is because I don’t have the practical experience that other grads have, or if it is because the job market is tough and I’m just another person competing in their field. Maybe both. I left military service to go to college to pursue my dream job and I think now that I made a huge mistake.

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!

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!


Filed under Academic, Archives, Entry Level, Job hunter's survey, MLIS Students, Public, School, Southern US, Special, Urban area

3 responses to “the two librarians behind the counter just laughed at me (that one left me crying in my car)

  1. Black ' n Write Reviewer

    I hope this person finds something. I do not understand why the school she is volunteering in doesn’t find the resources to give her something more permanent. Even a part-time job is better than nothing! They obviously need somebody in the library or else they wouldn’t let her be there in the first place.

  2. Katie H

    I’m sorry that you’ve had such challenging and rough experiences in your job search. I think some of it is due to the ultra-competitive nature of the market and luck. Fingers crossed that things get better for you.

  3. Pauline

    “Be honest about what they want in their descriptions. I have applied for so many “entry level,” “new grads welcome,” “no experience necessary” jobs just to have my application denied due to lack of experience.”

    I hope things turn around for you, job hunter! I feel your frustration and am sending you good vibes!

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