“when the description sounds suspiciously like a facilities management job”

Hollingsworth John and Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 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 

√ Looking for more money 

√ My current job is temporary 

Where do you look for open positions?  

LinkedIn, ArchivesGig

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 

√ Special library 

What part of the world are you in?

√ Southeastern 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?

A collection that’s interesting to me, fair pay, good colleagues

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 

√ Introducing me to staff 

√ Taking me out for a meal

√ Funding professional development 

√ 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 an entry-level job requires “five years of experience”; when the pay range is very low; when the description sounds suspiciously like a facilities management job; when the responsibilities sound like the job of 2-3 people, not 1, and the pay is not commensurate.

The Process

How much time do you spend preparing an application packet?

30-45 minutes

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

Read the job description thoroughly. Do basic research on company/organization, including Glassdoor search. Revise/update my resume to ensure the vocabulary reflects the vocabulary in the job description. Draft a cover letter. Make sure the formatting requirements are met. Complete application steps as laid out on job/HR portal.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ No preference 

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

√ Other: To provide feedback on interview.

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 to 5 months.

How do you prepare for interviews?

Company/organization research, a good night’s sleep, plenty of coffee and water.

What are your most hated interview questions, and why?

When employers ask you to describe scenarios you’ve experienced to address a particular problem. Seems they’re fishing for something very specific and they’re never terribly satisfied with the answer.

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  √ 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

If you have ever withdrawn an application, why?

Yes, in my previous career. I had a request for an interview but upon researching the company further I felt it was not a good fit for me.

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

Low pay and other red flags regarding quality of life, responsibilities, team members.

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 was turned down for an internship with a well-known organization, but the HR representative was so kind, communicative and positive that I couldn’t feel too badly about the experience. Interactions like these really stand out and give me encouragement not to give up in general or rule out the specific organization in the future.

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

More courtesy, more transparency, and more feedback.

You and Your Well-Being

How are you doing, generally?

√ I’m optimistic 

√ I’m frustrated

√ I’m energized 

√ Not out of money yet, but worried 

√ Other: I feel somewhat supported, but support often takes the form of generalized borderline cliches vs. specific constructive action.

What are your job search self-care strategies?

I don’t know what job search self-care would look like.

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?

I know my situation is not unique, but job searching can be very lonely and frustrating. Even up to and beyond the point of job offers, employers often come across as playing hardball vs. investing in a person they feel will contribute something of value to their organization. I know very well that HR exists to represent company interests and not individual contributors’ interests, but there needs to be some serious reform in how organizations deal with people, both prospective hires and employees of all levels.

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?)

Spring 2023

When did you start your first job search for a “professional” position (or other position that utilized your degree)?

√ 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)?

The career counseling in my program is very much geared toward young professionals who have never done a formal job search in any profession. I don’t find their services helpful. 

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Filed under 2023 Job Hunter's Survey

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