Nicole Dante is an early career librarian currently in cataloging at an academic library in New Jersey. She has previous experience in circulation and interning at the Library of Congress Law Library. You can learn more about her experience or contact her via her Linkedin.
Your Demographics and Search Parameters
How long have you been job hunting?
√ A year to 18 months
Why are you job hunting?
√ I’m underemployed (not enough hours or overqualified for current position)
√ My current job is temporary
√ My current job provides insufficient or no benefits (Healthcare or beyond)
Where do you look for open positions?
INALJ, LinkedIn, Indeed, SLA, LISSA listserv, SCI job boards
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
√ Library vendor/service provider
√ Public library
√ Special library
√ Other: Law 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?
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
Remote availability (decided recently), benefits, close to family
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
√ 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?
Unclear expectations of the position
How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?
Less than 10 minutes, unless I have to restructure my entire cover letter, in which case over an hour.
What are the steps you follow to prepare an application packet?
Double check resume, proofread cover letter if necessary. Once attached, double check they’re the correct documents and send them off.
How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?
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?
Less than a month
How do you prepare for interviews?
Research the hiring entity and prepare my own questions
What are your most hated interview questions, and why?
Describing myself in one or two words or why I would be a good fit for a role. Often positions are often described in vague terms on paper so I have trouble describing why I would be good at it.
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 √ Happened more than once
- Asked for an accommodation for a disability √ Not Applicable
- Withdrawn an application before the offer stage √ Happened more than once
- Turned down an offer √ Happened more than once
If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?
The role wasn’t a good fit upon further research or my application was in for so long it would no longer work for me.
If you’ve turned down an offer (or offers), why?
I am currently working a temp job and turned down offers for interviews that came in after I got this job.
If you’ve asked for an accommodation, what happened?
I have not asked for accommodations as I assumed they would decrease my chances of getting an interview.
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:
Before I finished my degree, I had been contacted for an interview at a library an hour away from my house. I didn’t realize that’s what was happening though, as I hadn’t interviewed in the field at all and the director had just invited me in to “meet the staff.” I went for the first interview and everything went great, and so I came back in for the second one with the deputy director and was asked to pitch program ideas and froze for a full minute, tanking the interview. At the time I was mortified, but it was a good learning experience! The director also never followed up with me to tell me I didn’t get the job, which I thought was kind of rude.
What should employers do to make the hiring process better for job hunters?
Follow up with candidates! I don’t care if it’s to turn me down, I rarely hear back from anyone.
You and Your Well-Being
How are you doing, generally?
√ I’m somewhat depressed
√ I’m frustrated
√ I’m running out of money
√ Other: I’m genuinely thinking about leaving the field and starting a podcast
What are your job search self-care strategies?
My boyfriend stops me from going on LinkedIn on the weekends
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?
I’m so burnt out from job hunting to don’t know how much energy I would even have in a job once I got one.
Do you have any comments for Emily (the survey author) or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
I’m glad someone is asking questions about this! I doubt I’m alone in feeling this way. I’m excited to read others’ opinions!
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)?
√ More than six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree
In relation to your graduation, when did you find your first “professional” position?
√ Six months to a year after graduating
What kind of work was your first post-graduation professional position?
√ Temporary/Limited Term
Did you get support from your library school for your first job hunt (and/or any subsequent ones)?
There is support from my school but it hasn’t been the most helpful. There’s a job board and a LinkedIn group but I haven’t found a job through it.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about searching for or finding your first post-graduation position?
My biggest tip is to come up with programming ideas and keep a notebook of them! Public libraries will ask for them and I’ve done 3 presentations of programs in public library interviews. Always keep them on hand.