“I’ve heard that academic libraries move at a glacial pace.”

User Snowyowls on zh.wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Please note: this is an anonymous response to an online survey; I do not have any way of contacting the respondent or verifying responses. Their answers may reflect good, bad, or middling job searching practices. I invite you to take what’s useful and leave the rest.

Your Demographics and Search Parameters

How long have you been job hunting?

√ Less than six months 

Why are you job hunting?  

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

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

√ Looking for more money

√ Looking for a promotion/more responsibility 

√ My current job is awful/toxic 

Where do you look for open positions?  


What position level are you looking for?  

√ Entry level 

√ Clerk/Library Assistant 

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

√ Academic library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Northeastern US 

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ No 

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

Gain experience, provide training, excellent pay 

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

√ 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?

I won’t apply for part-time jobs. 

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

Several hours 

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

Write a personalized cover letter and make tweaks to my resume to align more specifically to job requirements 

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email 

When would you like potential employers to contact you? 

√ To acknowledge my application 

√ 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’ve heard that academic libraries move at a glacial pace. Between submitting my application and being invited to interview was 2 weeks. Another week for interviews and then probably another week for them to make a decision? 

How do you prepare for interviews?

Re-read job ad, look at website and org chart, prepare interview questions to ask, read any materials I can get my hands on (student demographics, college mission, strategic priorities or reports, etc). 

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?


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  √ Not Applicable
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability  √ Not Applicable
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Not Applicable
  • Turned down an offer √ Not Applicable

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

Be more transparent about if your application was rejected. Don’t waste our time. 

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic 

What are your job search self-care strategies?

Don’t overwork myself. I am also working full 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?

It’s tough out there! Try and market yourself as best you can. Even if you haven’t worked in a library, you probably have skills that are useful! 

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?)

Graduating December 2023

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?

√ 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)? 

None at all

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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