I want to tell you what I CAN do and figure out the rest as I go along!

Kestrel Ward (they/them) is an early-career librarian currently working as a staff member for a large R1 university library in Florida. Their current research is on LGBTQ materials in archives and using digital literacy to fight digital violence. 

You can find out more about them on their blog, https://onequeerlibrarian.wordpress.com.

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

√ I’m underemployed (not enough hours or overqualified for current position) 

√ Looking for more money 

√ Looking for remote/virtual work (or at least hybrid)

√ Other: My job is currently under attack by state government with a particular vendetta against my demographic

Where do you look for open positions?  

ALA Joblist, Twitter, Mastodon, LinkedIn, word of mouth

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Requiring at least two years of experience

√ Supervisory 

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

√ Academic library

√ Archives

√ Library vendor/service provider 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Rural area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ No 

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

Enough money to live on in my area as a single parent, remote, not beholden to the state of florida government

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

About a dozen maybe?

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 

√ Prioritizing EDI work

√ 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?


The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

Depends on how invested in getting the job I am. Anywhere from half an hour to a week.

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

Read the description and requirements carefully and compare to my CV, write a cover letter which covers as many of the requirements as possible that are not already covered by CV, if I have doubts ask around about the job.

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?

My viewpoint is skewed by my institution taking ages, so months are possible. 

How do you prepare for interviews?


What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

“What do you think will be most challenging about the job?” I don’t want to tell you about the parts of the job I can’t do! I want to tell you what I CAN do and figure out the rest as I go along!

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

  • Submitted an application and got no response  √ Not Applicable
  • Had an interview and never heard back  √ Not Applicable
  • Interviewed for a job where an internal candidate was eventually chosen  √ Happened more than once 
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability  √ Not Applicable
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Not Applicable
  • Turned down an offer √ Not Applicable

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ Not out of money yet, but worried

√ Other: Slightly frantic as the situation in my state worsens

What are your job search self-care strategies?

Distraction from worrying.

Do you have any advice or words of support you’d like to share with other job hunters, is there anything you’d like to say to employers, or is there anything else you’d like to say about job hunting?

I just want someone to hire me so I can stop being in a weird limbo and so I can stop panicking about my situation! Also, I wish employers would pay better. There’s only been a couple jobs I’ve applied for where the pay and benefits felt fair, and neither of them have hired me. 

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?)


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

√ Less than six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree, but still before I graduated 

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

√ I was actually hired before I graduated  

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

√ Other: In the same job I had since starting my LIS, which is a library assistant supervisory job at a major university library.

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

Not really. There are things my library school probably would do, but I live far from my school and trying to figure out what help is available is overwhelming.

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

So many places seem to want more experienced folks, finding a place as a recent grad feels very demoralizing.


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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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