Being a unicorn

Library in United States National Museum BuildingThis 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 Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, and Special libraries, Medical/Health, Federal Government at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This new grad/entry level applicant has internship/volunteering experience:

I am graduating in May 2015, but I have worked for 6 years in a senior support role. Through recent downsizing at my company, I am now operating as the solo librarian on staff for a corporate special library. I worked in my university library as an undergraduate assistant for 4 years supporting circulation and interlibrary loan.

This job hunter is in an urban area, in the Mid-Atlantic US and is  not willing to move.

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

Good rapport with colleagues, engaging work with opportunities to continue learning, and reasonable salary and commute

Where do you look for open positions?, ALA Joblist, SLA Career Center, SLA listservs, LinkedIn, LibGigs, individual university employment pages

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Only for certain kinds of employers

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

Time spent on application packet preparation depends on the type of job (academic vs federal vs corporate). At this point I have a very detailed resume that I customize to fit the job, and I have a very basic template for cover letters so I don’t spend time repeatedly typing in my contact information. The main content of my cover letters are written fresh for each position. On average I’d say I spend a minimum of two to three hours on an application submission, at most many hours over several 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
√ Other: I understand that there are time constraints on how much follow up potential employers can offer, but as the potential new hire there is no such things as too much communication.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: I prefer a mix of phone and email. Email for scheduling interviews, phone for other 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
√ Other: A high priority for me is getting a sense of how I would fit in with the existing staff dynamics. I’d want the most time possible to be spent with department members and talking through the particulars of the job.

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

Be upfront about the job duties and clarify which items are absolutely necessary and which things are a preference or wish list item. Whenever possible include a salary; if the number seems low, emphasize some of the other benefits your institution offers. Be realistic about the amount of experience required for entry level positions.

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

Be as transparent as possible with anticipated hiring timelines. Communicate as much as possible with potential candidates.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Being a unicorn: Having the right balance of personality, skills, and connections at the right time and location.

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!


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Filed under Job hunter's survey, Urban area

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