“I graduated during the pandemic so that was an added layer to the entire process.”

Jordan Meyerl is an archival professional currently working as an Archives Cataloguer at Historic New England and as a remote Project Archivist with the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Institute. She is passionate about promoting the efforts of smaller and community-based cultural and historic institutions and promoting equitable access to and representation in their collections. She is currently in the process of searching for full-time archival opportunities.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Less than six months 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ Looking for more money

√ Looking for a promotion/more responsibility 

√ My current job is temporary 

Where do you look for open positions?  

ArchivesGig, ALA JobLIST, Simmons Jobline, USA Jobs, Chronicle of Higher Education – Vitae

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Requiring at least two years of experience

√ Supervisory 

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

√ Academic library

√ Archives 

√ Special library

√ Other: historic society, historic preservation institution, other cultural heritage  institutions

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Suburban 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?

Matches my future goals, at an institution type that I am interested in, salary

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

30-40

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

√ Introducing me to staff

√ Having a good reputation 

√ Funding professional development

√ Prioritizing EDI work

√ 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?

When the responsibilities for the job seem so extensive they seem to represent multiple jobs. While a lot of work in our field is varied and involves crossover, there still have to be limits on what responsibilities each person is assigned. No breakdown of importance of responsibilities. I think it is important for a company to have an understanding of how the responsibilities will divide the time of an employee.

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

15-30 minutes

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

I read the job listing. I then go to the template cover letter I have and make adjustments to it based on the job requirements, skillset, etc. I carefully craft it to ensure that it appropriately represents the job in question. I then review required documents, see if I need to make any others and do so as needed, and then I apply using the collected items.

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?

I have a list of questions that I review. I have a document titled Accomplishment Cheat Sheet that lists my accomplishments. I then copy the job listing requirements and expectations and assign accomplishments/responsibilities I have previously completed to the various responsibilities. I find it helps me to identify the ways in which I have met these qualifications by listing specific examples I can refer to during the interview. This also prevents me from pausing for too long as I attempt to think of an answer.

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

Provide an example of a time you failed and how you handled that situation. While I recognize it is an important question, I always hate when discussing failure and find it can stress me out and throw me off. What is your greatest weakness? Again, having to identify a flaw can make me nervous and throw me off. With both of these questions, I have a few examples written out so I can pick and choose which makes the most sense based on the job description and the way the interview is going.

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  √ Not Applicable
  • Interviewed for a job where an internal candidate was eventually chosen  √ Happened more than once 
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability  √ I don’t know  
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Happened more than once 
  • Turned down an offer √ Happened once 

If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?

I withdrew an application after realizing the distance to the job would not be sustainable when combined with my existing part-time position.

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

I turned down an offer once due to a health crisis.

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

They should be more communicative. They should be more open about the process and where they are in the process.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m maintaining

√ I’m somewhat depressed 

√ I’m running out of money 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

My job search self-care strategies are centered on balance. While my job search is important, I also cannot let it take over my life. I make sure I am not applying for too many each week, applying for jobs everyday, or checking the job boards everyday. It is necessary to maintain an appropriate balance between job hunting and relaxing. I also select certain days a week to look at the job boards and apply. That way, even when I see a job post via listservs, I simply save them to be looked at more thoroughly at a later time.

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?

Don’t be afraid to pursue part-time and contingent jobs, especially just out of school. They’re a great way to build experience and set yourself up for the next step. Just also recognize the manner in which this could cost you more due to travel costs, no benefits, lower hourly wages, etc.

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?)

2020

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? 

√ Part Time

√ Contract 

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

N/A

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

I graduated during the pandemic so that was an added layer to the entire process. There were less jobs than ever and I ended up having to look outside the types of jobs/fields I actually wanted. I was worried this would lead me away from my intended job path, so I had to actively plan what my next steps would be and carefully identify how seemingly unrelated tasks had actually properly prepared me for a “traditional” archival job.

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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