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
√ 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?
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
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?
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?
√ 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.