This is how the system is designed. It’s heartless and cruel. You are not a bad job prospect.

Goose hunting in Klamath County, Oregon, OSU Special Collections via Flickr Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Six months to a year 

Why are you job hunting?  

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

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

√ My current job is awful/toxic

√ I’ve been threatened at my job or had to deal with hostility/danger/scary behavior from the public or coworkers 

√ I need more flexibility in my schedule (to care for dependents or otherwise)

√ Because I reassessed my priorities after COVID 

Where do you look for open positions?  

INALJ, Linkedin, Twitter, TLA JobList, Libgig

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Requiring at least two years of experience 

√ Senior Librarian 

√ Clerk/Library Assistant 

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

√ Academic library 

√ Library vendor/service provider

√ Public library

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southwestern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, within my state 

√ Yes, as long as at least some of my moving costs are covered 

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

Better pay, good benefits, more stability, to get away from coworkers I neither trust nor feel comfortable being around.

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

I estimate six jobs, so far. The last time I tried looking it was almost 2 dozen, before I gave up and stopped. It was too self-harmful.

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 

√ Having a good reputation 

√ Funding professional development

√ Prioritizing EDI work

√ Prioritizing work-life balance

√ Other: Disclosing accurate salary

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?

Describing an environment as a family, lack of good upward mobility for staff, lack of living wages for library staff.

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

2-3 hours

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

Resume then reference contacts then cover letter. I need to spend the most time on the letter.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: I’d prefer any communication honestly. Many do not bother to at all, or leave it to me to log back in to their job site to see I’ve been rejected.

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 

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

I honestly have no clear idea — sometimes I hear back within 3 months, others it’s been closer to a year. I’d like for them to provide an ideal timeline, and then notify if something is taking longer than normal.

How do you prepare for interviews?

Reading up on the workplace, studying where it is. 

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  √ Happened more than once 
  • 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 √ Happened once

If you’ve turned down an offer (or offers), why?

The offer was the chance to apply to a job, and the listing did not include salary or relocation costs.  

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

Employers have so many transparency issues it’s mind blowing. It feels purposefully designed to maximize anxiety and make people question their self-worth, to the point of desperation. Somehow, a workforce entirely of people devoted to information is god awful at providing it.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m maintaining 

√ I’m frustrated 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

I go for long periods without looking at all. I also tell myself that I can simply leave this profession and start over since my student loans are forgiven.

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?

That it isn’t just them who faces this. This is how the system is designed. It’s heartless and cruel. You are not a bad job prospect.

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 job search?

√ After 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  

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

No. They asked me for money. 🙂

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

The amount of entry level positions that want intern experiences is awful. Part time students who work while they attend school often can’t GET internships, so we’re left with another hurdle in front of us.


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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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