“During one interview it was SO AWKWARD because there were like six other people on the phone call but only one person was talking”

Woman with gun and hunting dogs Tallahassee, Florida by State Archive of Florida via Flickr Commons
Woman with gun and hunting dogs Tallahassee, Florida by State Archive of Florida via Flickr Commons

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Six months to a year 

Why are you job hunting?  

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

√ I’m unemployed 

√ My current job is temporary

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

√ My current job is boring 

Where do you look for open positions?  

ALA, ArchivesGig, Ex-Libris Listserv, LinkedIn, Indeed, GOogle Jobs, Museum sites i can’t remember which ones off the top of my head

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? 

√ Archives 

√ Other: Would take special collections

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, within my country

√ Yes, to a specific list of places 

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

Livable wage, Safety (I am trans), Transparency from the hiring institution about current goals/problem solving

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

72, I keep an excel sheet

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

√ Other: Transparency in communtication

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?

No DEI statements on the library AND institution websites (with transparent indications of actual effort to uphold these statements) (if not an independent library), job descriptions that clearly indicate this position does the work of 3-4 people, job requirements not typical of library degrees or specialty subjects (have seen many that expect web developer levels of web design lately)

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

30 min to 1 hour depending on job description

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

updating CV monthly, updating cover letter per position, any writing samples/finding aids

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ 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?

On my excel sheet I mark as “No response” after 60 days

How do you prepare for interviews?

Practice interview questions with my mentor or with peers, research the institution and their collection, review collections i’ve processed that would be relevant, research the area the institution is in to see if I would want to move there

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

So far haven’t had one, I’m sure i will eventually though.

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  √ I don’t know 
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability  √ Happened once  
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Not Applicable
  • Turned down an offer √ Not Applicable

If you’ve asked for an accommodation, what happened?

So far just on a phone interview, asked someone on speaker to move closer so I could hear them better. They were happy to do so.

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:

During one interview it was SO AWKWARD because there were like six other people on the phone call but only one person was talking and NO ONE was saying anything in between my answers. And when it got to my turn to ask questions I asked about their makerspace and the head of the makerspace (who had not spoken yet) sounds SO INCONVENIENCED to have to talk about his job when the position I was interviewing for WORKED DIRECTLY WITH HIM. Like my guy, tell me a little more directly you don’t wanna be there. *eyeroll*

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

post salaries or don’t post at all.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic

√ I’m maintaining 

√ I’m frustrated 

√ Not out of money yet, but worried 

√ I feel alone in my search 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

I have really great grad school friends and also co-workers where I temp that I talk to. I also will only work on apps 2-3 weeks each month and take a week off to regroup. I don’t apply on weekends, just on my lunch breaks.

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?

It’s really such a freaking crapshoot of timing. I’ve got three really good prospects rn but it’s all been timing related. Especially if you’re applying to university libraries/archives don’t get discouraged, the hiring processes come in waves each semester.

Do you have any comments for Emily (the survey author) or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

This has been a great and comprehensive survey!

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)?

√ After graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree 

In relation to your graduation, when did you find your first “professional” position?

√ Less than six months after graduating 

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

√ Temporary/Limited Term

√ Other: Am working as a pub serv day supervisor rn, so not a librarian but in a library

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

LOL no

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

if you’re in Massachussetts, utilize Bibliotemps!!!!

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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