“Having someone like a mentor to debrief with or talk about the interview process is crucial because they can answer any questions, even ones you may think are dumb.”

Crissandra George graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2019 where she received a Bachelor’s in Linguistics, Spanish, and a minor in Swahili. After graduating from the University of Mississippi, she decided to attain her Master’s in Linguistic Theory and Typology from the University of Kentucky in 2022 and will have completed an additional Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Kentucky in Spring 2023. After graduating this Spring, she will begin working as the Digital Collections Manager Librarian at Case Western Reserve University.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Other: Just finished job hunting- total time was around 6 months

Why are you job hunting?  

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

Where do you look for open positions?  

ALA Job List, LinkedIn, HigherEd Jobs, Chronicle of Higher Education Jobs, ARL jobs, Indeed

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level

√ Requiring at least two years of experience 

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

√ Academic library

√ Archives 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, to a specific list of places 

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

Salary that fits experience, tenure/promotion-track, mid-large academic library

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

10-12 approximately

What steps, actions, or attributes are most important for employers to take to sell you on the job?  

√ Pay well 

√ Having a good reputation 

√ Funding professional development 

Do you expect to see the salary range listed in a job ad?

√ No (even if I might think it *should* be) 

Other than not listing a salary range, are there other “red flags” that would prevent you from applying to a job?

too vague of a job descriptions, indicators of a toxic environment (wording and interactions within virtual in-person interviews)

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?

Adjustment of Cover Letter and CV  tailored to job description, research of the library’s mission/vision/values/etc, proofreading, ensuring all documents are completed including additional documents that may be asked

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?

2-6 months

How do you prepare for interviews?

research the institution, research the library, research all involved in the interview, take notes, prepare questions, review prepared questions, look into any background information that may be helpful and continue preparing for a few days if possible. 

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

“What would be a reason that people may not like you or work well with you?”

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  √ Happened 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  √ Happened once  
  • Turned down an offer √ Happened more than once  

If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?

I had two final in-person job interviews very close together, which made their time frames in the interview process very similar. One institution contacted me first with an offer and after some further discussion and negotiation, I had not heard yet from the other institution, so I gladly accepted the offer. Due to this, I had to withdraw my application at the other library that I had not heard back from. 

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

It was not financially viable at the time and little flexibility was given in the relocation time.

If you want to share a great, inspirational, funny,  horrific or other story about an experience you have had at any stage in the hiring process, please do so here:

For one of my job interviews, the library sent a driver to pick me up from the airport. As I was talking to the driver, he asked me about the job, location, and other information. During the drive to the hotel, he said “You want this job right?” I enthusiastically said “Yes!” and he said “Well you go in there and show them how much you want this job, but also show them why they want you too.” It really affirmed the idea that interviews go both ways, which before I always thought was a myth made up by employers haha! It was a very memorable moment that inspired me and gave me a lot of confidence. 

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

Transparency in the job description as much as possible. Additionally, communicate as much as possible throughout the process. Make sure the candidates know what to expect throughout all steps of the process. 

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

treat myself after interviews or applications

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?

Set yourself up as best you can with research and preparation. The rest is just being you. People hire people, so after you ensure that you have the qualifications, employers are only looking to see if they can work with you and can picture you as their colleague.  

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?)

May 2023

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

√ Six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree 

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? 

√ Full Time 

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

I definitely got support, guidance, help, and advice from my library school and the librarians in the library that I have an assistantship with. 

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

It is stressful and difficult applying for jobs within this field. The process is long, grueling, and ultimately feels like another job within itself. Also, there is such a wide range of expectations that vary even between libraries, so being prepared is key in my opinion. Additionally, having someone like a mentor to debrief with or talk about the interview process is crucial because they can answer any questions, even ones you may think are dumb. As graduates, we don’t know what we don’t know, so reach out and ask as many questions as you can. I remember asking a librarian before my in-person interviews “Am I allowed to bring a water bottle to these interviews?” (While also being in shock that the interviews are all-day).” I felt like this was such a dumb question along with other small things I asked, but she assured me they are not dumb because this employment process is not talked about in classes and there is no way we would know these things as students without asking. Finding someone to ask these questions can better ensure you are prepared and less anxious throughout this already stressful process. 

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