“I’m currently working as an independent archivist with my own freelance business.”

Headshot of Alexandra Cook, who has curly red hair and a big smile

Alexandra Cook has a bachelor’s from Hood College, and an MLIS from the University of Maryland. Her past experiences include working in local historical societies and state archives, as well as performing freelance archival work. Some of her areas of interest include: digital curation, community archives, human rights archives, and archival consulting. 

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ A year to 18 months 

Why are you job hunting?  

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

√ I’m unemployed 

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

√ My current job is temporary

√ My current job provides insufficient or no benefits (Healthcare or beyond) 

√ 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?  

SAA, ArchivesGig, ALA JobLIST, Google

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level

√ Requiring at least two years of experience 

√ Clerk/Library Assistant 

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

√ Academic library

√ Archives

√ Library vendor/service provider

√ Public library

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Mid-Atlantic US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area

√ Suburban area

√ Rural area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ No 

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

Remote/hybrid, located close by, good benefits and salary 

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 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?

If it doesn’t say that remote/hybrid options are available 

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

It depends, but it can take me at least a day, or a week at most

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

I usually work on my resume and cover letter simultaneously

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ To acknowledge my application

√ 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?

It might be unrealistic on my end, but I like to have an idea of where I stand after about 5 to 6 weeks after sending my application in. 

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   √ Happened the majority of the time or always 
  • 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?

√ I’m somewhat depressed 

√ I’m frustrated 

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?

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

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

√ Contract 

√ Other: I’m currently working as an independent archivist with my own freelance business. This current project started as my field study requirement before graduating, and I’ve continued on since.

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

I found my current project through my program’s email list. I haven’t really reached out to my university since then, but I have been receiving job notices through the listserv. 

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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