“We all have to say MANY TIMES to ourselves that a failed application or interview is not a referendum on our worth as a human being. The variables are legion and arbitrary.”

Hunting Season, 1918
Hunting Season, 1918

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?

√ Less than six months 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ I’m unemployed 

√ Looking for more money 

√ Because I reassessed my priorities after COVID 

Where do you look for open positions?  

Google Job Search, LinkedIn

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Requiring at least two years of experience 

√ Department Head

√ Senior Librarian 

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

√ Academic library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Mid-Atlantic US  

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area

√ Suburban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ No 

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

A match to my skill set, appropriate salary, respect 

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


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 

√ Prioritizing EDI work 

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?

Reputation, lack of current staff diversity

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

3-4 days

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

Update CV, research institution, complete application forms, talk to colleagues about institution, carefully re-read posting, compose cover letter, communicate with my references.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Phone for good news, email for bad news 

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

It takes forever. I have zero expectations.

How do you prepare for interviews?

I spend a lot of time reading about the institution and talking to my network about people we know who work there. I’ll check out the campus’ subreddit and look closely at library program efforts and projects of related departments (tutoring/writing center) 

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

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

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

Be transparent about time frames. Experienced librarians have performed searches, we know how it goes, so please don’t use optimistic time frames, be honest.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m somewhat depressed

√ I feel supported in my search 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

Diligence and a parallel non LIS job search 

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?

Job hunting is terrible. We all have to say MANY TIMES to ourselves that a failed application or interview is not a referendum on our worth as a human being. The variables are legion and arbitrary.

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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