“Job hunting doesn’t have to be like this, it was made to be like this because people decided to make it this way”

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ More than 18 months 

Why are you job hunting?  

√ I’m employed outside of the field and I’d like to be in it 

√ I want to work with a different population 

√ My current job is boring 

√ I’ve been threatened at my job or had to deal with hostility/danger/scary behavior from the public or coworkers

√ I’m worried I will be laid off/let go/fired from my current position 

Where do you look for open positions?  

Indeed, LinkedIn, ALA JobList, regional library organization job lists 

What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level 

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

√ Academic library 

√ Library vendor/service provider

√ Public library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Midwestern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area

√ Suburban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, anywhere 

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

Livable wage, short commute, an inclusive workplace. 

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

2500 estimated in almost 4 years. Maybe more at this point as I stopped tracking last Spring.

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 

√ Funding professional development 

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?

The way they approach the interview process. Ghosting, terrible questions, and using outdated terminology in talking about policies.  

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

1-2 hours

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

I use the same resume and adjust the cover letter these days. I used to take the time to tailor them for every position, but it was just a waste of time. 

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?

I usually get a rejection letter in about 6 to 12 weeks for every job I apply to, and that’s if they bother to tell you. 

How do you prepare for interviews?

I used to do a lot of research, but now I don’t care. They all ask the same behavioralist-based corporate HR questions that encourage you to lie. 

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

Uncreative and vague questions with no bearing on the job. 

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 the majority of the time or always 
  • 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  √ Happened the majority of the time or always 
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Happened the majority of the time or always 
  • Turned down an offer √ Happened once 

If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?

Yes, I was continually ghosted by the same library and realized I was constantly being brought in as a “dummy candidate” for them to interview so they could select an internal candidate. 

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

Yes, it was mid-pandemic, and they wanted me to move within a month from Ohio to North Carolina in the winter. It proved impossible to sell my house, move in such a short time frame safely, and find a place to live in North Carolina.

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

I asked once for an accommodation for a pre-interview rubric because I’m autistic and seem to wander or be strange to many people unfamiliar with my disability. When I asked for one a day later, my interview was canceled, and they stated they “found a more qualified candidate.” 

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:

I once had a hiring manager ask, “Don’t you think being socially retarded is going to be a problem for you in this field?” I just got up and walked out. 

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

Stop ghosting people and constantly inflating job requirements. I have two masters, a dual bachelor’s, and software programming experience, but that is not enough for most jobs. 

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m despondent

√ 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 sometimes just sit and cry in front of my computer and hope my wife doesn’t hear me when it happens.

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?

Job hunting doesn’t have to be like this, it was made to be like this because people decided to make it this way. Cover letters, resumes, and all that other stuff take hours and the person who made it worked incredibly hard to do so just for you. The least you can do is take a few minutes to give that person feedback and let them know how to do better next time if they are rejected. Stop treating candidates like they are disposable. 

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

Some more specific questions about what field you are coming from or how many years of previous experience you had would probably be helpful in getting a more rounded picture. 

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?

√ Hasn’t happened yet – I’m still looking 

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

√ N/A – hasn’t happened yet 

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


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

I have passively given up and feel like I wasted years of my life on this pursuit. 

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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