Once I applied for a job and heard back about scheduling an interview 13 minutes after my initial email!

Jenna Courtade is a current MS/LIS student at the University of Illinois. 

She is looking for positions in digital imaging labs or archives as she is passionate about preserving, and making accessible, important cultural and historical material. Jenna loves spending her free time baking, working on crafts, or developing the film she uses to photograph friends. 

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Less than six months 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ This is the next step after finishing library/archives/other LIS graduate degree 

√ My current job is temporary 

Where do you look for open positions?  

ArchivesGig, MuseWeekly newsletter, USA Jobs, other job boards.

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level

√ Requiring at least two years of experience

√ Supervisory 

What type(s) of organization are you looking in? 

√ Academic library

√ Archives 

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Rural area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, to a specific list of places 

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

Good fit for my career goals; Good pay; location I don’t mind.

How many jobs have you applied to during your current search? (Please indicate if it’s an estimate or exact)

Approximately 35

What steps, actions, or attributes are most important for employers to take to sell you on the job?  

√ Pay well

√ Having (and describing) excellent benefits

√ Introducing me to staff 

√ Prioritizing work-life balance 

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

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not 

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

A job title that has a “/” or other indication that it is probably two jobs squished into one.

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

It depends. On a job that I am not overly interested in, maybe 30 minutes. For a job that I am really interested in, I could spend a few hours.

What are the steps you follow to prepare an application packet?

I use my standard resume/CV, then tailor my standard cover letter. I have different standard cover letters depending on the type of position. If I really like the job, I will spend a longer time to add more to the standard cover letter. I also have a portfolio of my work that I include with some applications. Finally, I have a pre-assembled list of references incase the application asks for it.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ To acknowledge my application

√ To tell me if the search is at the interview stage, even if I have not been selected

√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me 

How long do you expect an organization’s application process to take, from the point you submit your documents to the point of either an offer or rejection?

I expect it to take a few months, ideally no more than 2 months.

How do you prepare for interviews?

I write myself questions based on the job requirements and qualifications. Then I practice with family and friends.

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

What is your biggest weakness. I don’t like the negative aspect of it.

During your current search, have you had any of the following experiences:

  • Submitted an application and got no response  √ Happened the majority of the time or always 
  • Had an interview and never heard back  √ I don’t know
  • Interviewed for a job where an internal candidate was eventually chosen  √ I don’t know
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability √ Not Applicable
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage √ Not Applicable
  • Turned down an offer √ Not Applicable

If you want to share a great, inspirational, funny,  horrific or other story about an experience you have had at any stage in the hiring process, please do so here:

Once I applied for a job and heard back about scheduling an interview 13 minutes after my initial email! That was so exciting.

What should employers do to make the hiring process better for job hunters?

Provide as much information on salary range as possible and always let people know if they were accepted or rejected. 

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic

√ I’m maintaining 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

I have not really established any. This makes me think that maybe I should. 

Do you have any comments for Emily (the survey author) or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Thank you for putting this together!

Job Hunting Post Graduate School 

If you have an MLIS or other graduate level degree in a LIS field, what year did you graduate? (Or what year do you anticipate graduating?)

May 2023

When did you start your first job search for a “professional” position (or other position that utilized your degree)?

√ More than six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree 

In relation to your graduation, when did you find your first “professional” position?

√ Hasn’t happened yet – I’m still looking 

What kind of work was your first post-graduation professional position? 

√ N/A – hasn’t happened yet 

Did you get support from your library school for your first job hunt (and/or any subsequent ones)?

Yes, there are resources I have used and could use if I wanted.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about searching for or finding your first post-graduation position?

I think it has been useful to start early, for practice, but I think that I have not heard back from many employers since I would not be able to start until many months out. 


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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey, Academic, Archives, Midwestern US, Rural area, Special

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