“As a trans person, I hate that institutions ask me how I will contribute to their diversity efforts.”

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?

√ Six months to a year 

Why are you job hunting?  

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

√ My current job is temporary

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

Where do you look for open positions?  

Archives Gig, ALA Joblist, INALJ, LinkedIn, CLIR/DLF job board, VRA listserv, HigherEd Jobs, LibGig, various other listservs

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

√ Archives

√ Library vendor/service provider 

√ Special library

√ Other: Museum

What part of the world are you in?

√ Other: Midwestern US for the first 5 months of searching, currently Southwestern US

What’s your region like? 

√ Urban area

√ Suburban area 

Are you willing/able to move for employment? 

√ Yes, to a specific list of places

√ Yes, as long as at least some of my moving costs are covered 

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

Salary that is comfortable to live relative to the area, responsibilities that I’m interested in and have background in, good workplace culture

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

16 (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

√ Other: Respecting trans identity

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?

High turnover, no benefits, sloppy or not detailed job description  

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

5-7 hours

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

Background research on the position and institution, tailor my cover letter and resume to the position as I draft, select relevant references, review draft and edit cover letter and resume, submit application packet.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: Email at first, email and/or phone as it moves forward

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?

2-4 months

How do you prepare for interviews?

Conduct background research on the requirements of the position and look into what the institution and its members have done lately, get a feel for the community they serve and the types of work done there, prepare for any questions that have been given in advance (which I love), look into the organizational chart, and review my application packet and all my relevant experience. 

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

As a trans person, I hate that institutions ask me how I will contribute to their diversity efforts. I don’t mind answering a simple diversity question, because it is important for all people to keep DEI efforts in mind, but I don’t appreciate being asked to write paragraphs or answer extensively on how I will contribute to diversity right off the bat. The employer has yet to prove to me that they are a welcoming and supportive institution. 

During your current search, have you had any of the following experiences:

  • Submitted an application and got no response  √ Happened more than once 
  • Had an interview and never heard back  √ Not Applicable
  • Interviewed for a job where an internal candidate was eventually chosen √ I don’t know 
  • Asked for an accommodation for a disability  √ Not Applicable
  • Withdrawn an application before the offer stage  √ Happened once 
  • Turned down an offer √ Not Applicable

If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?

Withdrew my application from an institution whose search committee was unprofessional and borderline rude during my first video interview. Having private chat conversations with each other that I could clearly see their facial expressions/reactions to as I was trying to answer their questions. Search committee seemed very cliquey and I didn’t want to be a new employee in that environment.  

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:

See above – this search committee was extremely cold and unwelcoming right off the bat with me and I could see two members of the committee messaging each other, laughing, and otherwise making facial expressions during my video interview as I was answering questions. Whether they were talking about me or not, I don’t know, but it doesn’t really matter. They didn’t respect my time or effort and it was very unprofessional. Doing a virtual interview isn’t an excuse for this behavior – I doubt they would have done that if I were sitting in a room right in front of them, and a virtual interviewee should be given the same respect. 

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

Always list the salary range. A minimum salary is a good start but a range is better, especially for applicants who have more experience than the basic qualifications being asked for. 

Provide some or all of the main interview questions ahead of time. This is very helpful for neurodivergent people and folks in general who need time to formulate thoughts, especially in a high-anxiety situation such as an interview with several people. 

Be as timely as possible with next steps and be communicative during the process. If something is pushed back, let the applicants know. 

During a first interview, give some time for introductions, both of the committee and the applicant. I’ve had interviews where I’ve been thrown into a list of questions immediately without even saying my name first.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m maintaining

√ I’m somewhat depressed 

√ I’m running out of money 

√ I feel alone in my search  

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)?

√ Less than six months before graduating with my MLIS/other LIS degree, but still before I graduated 

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? 

√ Contract

√ Temporary/Limited Term 

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

My school only gave us access to the career center for 6 months after graduation. Before that, I utilized them for resume reviews.  

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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