Author Archives: Emily@HiringLibrarians

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Samantha Winn

samantha winnWe last heard from Samantha Winn on September 3, 2014, in the post It is difficult to give a useful answer to overly theoretical questions.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

In October 2014, I joined Virginia Tech as an assistant professor in the University Libraries. As a member of the Special Collections department, I work with architectural records and the cultural heritage of historically marginalized communities. I interact frequently with peers in the library, faculty across many disciplines, and donors. My institution is very supportive of professional development and service.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

This position has probably strengthened my former attitudes, if anything. I am more confident about what I am looking for in a job and what I expect from a search committee.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

I improved so much as a job candidate from my first application to my last – my resume and cover letter were more refined, I had more confidence answering interview questions, and I was able to really define my career priorities and expectations. This realization was a huge boost to my morale and it helped me to recalibrate my efforts in the final stretch of my search. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from each application and interview, even if you’re not happy with the outcome. Don’t underestimate the value of personal cheerleaders – in addition to practice interviewers and application copyeditors, I benefited so much from the personal feedback and encouragement of my trusted peers. Also, don’t stop applying until you have a job offer. It’s easy to withdraw an application, not so easy to build up momentum again once you’ve stopped (especially if you had your heart set on a particular position that didn’t pan out).

Anything else you want to share with us?

The decision process is such a mystery that you may never find out why you were or were not hired somewhere. Put in the effort on your application, do your research before the interview, and present yourself with integrity. Once you’ve done that, it’s all out of your hands. Good luck, everyone!

 

Samantha will try to keep an eye out for any questions you post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Cristy Moran (year three)

Cristy Moran

 

Cristy Moran took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 4, 2013.

Her responses appeared as There is a “Black Hole” of Information After One Drops a Resume.

We followed up with her on December 9, 2013 and again on November 14, 2014.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

At the start of 2015, I was midway through my second year as a FT library paraprofessional at Miami Dade College, Medical Campus. Simultaneously, positions opened up at two of the four Broward College campuses just north of Miami where I live. I applied to both positions and interviewed for both. In the end, I scored what I believe is the right one for me. In July 2015, I started at Broward College, North Campus. I am finally in the position I’ve been seeking: faculty librarian.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I continue to think the job application process is incredibly difficult, nuanced, and dense. Who knows why I didn’t make it past the first interview at the same college in a very similar position at a different campus! I also continue to believe working hard and being industrious at any job helps you build relationships and skills that will inform the next job you get. Asserting your value in your current situation – whatever it may be – will prepare you for new opportunities and makes you marketable.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Diversify your skills. Keep an open mind both about the job descriptions you’re applying to and how you’ll present those diverse skills on both your resume and your interviews. Library positions are wildly nuanced, as is the industry. Consequently, the skills we develop and our professional experiences are highly transferrable outside the industry as well.

Anything else you want to share with us?

It’s easy to box ourselves into a chosen profession because that’s what our job is. And I mean this for any job in any field. The most successful I’ve been at any job I’ve had is when I’ve thought back to seemingly unrelated past experiences and considered them in context of my current responsibilities – or the job description of a position that I want. I’d like to encourage library job seekers to make those connections as well.

Cristy is willing to answer questions you post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Alexandra Patterson

 
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Alexandra Patterson took the Job Hunter’s survey on May 6, 2014.  Her responses appeared  as HR can tell when you just want a job instead of wanting THAT job.  We followed up with her search on December 4, 2014.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am still in the same position I was in last year, Research Librarian at Mercersburg Academy.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I am a little more optimistic about the library job market than I was last year. I think that the market is really picking up!

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Try to find a reason why you want THAT particular job. It’s not enough to love libraries and want a job. You have to prove that you want to work in that library for a particular reason.

Alexandra is willing to answer questions that you post in the comments.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Anonymous Z

We last heard from this job hunter on February 21, 2015.  His answers appeared as Where you start is not always where you end up.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I just received a promotion to a management position at the library system. I will start soon after the holidays. I wanted a position in an academic or a law library. Since those positions are scarce and highly competitive, to applied to any opening that looked interesting. I interviewed for a few positions, even one or two that I was not sure I wanted. A few weeks after graduating, I accepted a half time position at a local public library. I thought it would be good experience and some paycheck while I prepare for the summer hiring season. I enjoyed the position so I applied for an open full time position when it became available a month later. The full time position included some supervisory responsibility over the pages. That meant that I found myself on the other end of the interview process when I started interviewing people for support staff positions.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

Being flexible and positive worked for me. I was able to find a job very quickly and I have been successful thus far. I fully understand that this does not apply to everyone. Many job seekers cannot be as flexible as I was. It is important to set realistic goals for the job market you are trying to break into and take a long term view of how you want your career to progress.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

The best thing that you can do, regardless of where you are in your job search, is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. This might seem obvious but I have lost track of how many people either forgo things like volunteering, working on job related special projects or networking at conferences or fail to communicate to potential employers how this things make you more hirable.

Anything else you want to share with us?

One thing I did underestimate last year is the importance of a good reputation in the library community. Even if you are still in library school. Your classmate today could easily be that coworker that helps you or even a part of the hiring committee. I have seen this work for and against job seekers.

This job hunter will answer questions you post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Anonymous 4

 

This person took the Job Hunter’s survey on December 28, 2012. Her responses appeared as I make sure that I qualify first and foremost.  We then followed up with her on November 26, 2014. 

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I’m currently working full time in an archive (YEA!!), however I am currently job hunting again because the position is not really what I expected, or what I really interviewed for in fact. Not to mention it’s further away from home than I really wanted. So I’m back at it, looking for postings a little closer to the West Coast.

My work situation, while it would be great for a new grad entering the profession, is not for me because I am more experienced than this job needs, so I’m really bored. Not to mention there is a lot of issues from previous issues within the system and its really frustrating.

This past year was a huge change for me as I moved 1200 miles for a job to a new place, so a lot of growth on my part. However, it made me realize even more that I’d rather be on the West coast, so I’m looking to head back that way.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I realize even more what I want in a job is about the only real change. I guess I’m more optimistic now that I’ve had the full time experience.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Just keep swimming! Also have your cover letters edited by someone other than yourself. I know it seems like you should be able to do it yourself but as I was reminded of at an interview this past weekend, it’s okay not to be great at everything and getting (and asking) for help is okay!

Anything else you want to share with us?

If you can, job seekers, be willing to relocate! Other than that, no.

This respondent is willing to answer any questions you might care to post in the comments section.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Cher Armstrong

 

We last heard from Cher Armstrong on January 5, 2015.  Her post appeared as Positive environment for patrons and library employees.

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am the a full-time librarian in the Reference department at a library serving a diverse population of approximately 30,000 people. My official job title is the New Adult/Digital Services Librarian. My town has a very large senior population due to the many 55+ communities. We also have many special-needs patrons such as those who were recently incarcerated and the homeless population. I was part-time at the beginning of the year but got promoted to full-time in July.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

My attitude has translated from idealistic to far more realistic in relation to working at a library. I have discovered that while I have a plethora of ideas, librarians have to cope with and adapt to factors such as budget, understaffing and the culture of the individual library. What works for one library might not work or might even be infeasible in another library.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

I would look for ways to get experience related to the library job you want in any way you can. Aspiring public librarians, for example, need to be able to show they will be able to interact with a wide population and help them procure what they need. Customer service skills are very useful; skills from fields such as retail can easily translate over to library service. If you have no library experience, be ready to showcase how the skillsets you’ve acquired in other places can be beneficial to a library.

Questions for Cher?  She is willing to answer them, just post in the comments.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Elise Lafosse

 

elise lafosseWe last heard from Elise Lafosse on September 10, 2014 in the post: I have the skills to learn a new ILS very quickly.  

Where are you now? What’s your work situation like, and what path did you take this last year?

I am at Otis Library in Norwich, CT which is about an hour commute each way from my home. I only work 12 hours a week. Sometimes I step in to help a few extra hours if needed. I still keep looking for other positions as a librarian in a public library or a cataloger. So far I have not had any luck. So my current situation is not ideal. I am still looking for a position closer to home.

Looking at last year’s answers, have any of your attitudes changed?

I still love working in public libraries and still am committed to finding a position in a public library with more hours and closer to home. However it has been very discouraging recently. I applied to about three positions in the past month, none of which called me for an interview. I wonder if it is because of my age which is 54 years old.

What’s your best advice for job hunters?

Be persistent. Volunteer your skills as well as this can help you get in the door. I think I may have gotten a cataloging contract over the summer partly because I volunteer as a cataloger at the library for the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art where I also give tours.

Anything else you want to share with us?

Well currently I feel quite discouraged based on the results of my job search last month. So right now I am taking a break. Perhaps things will begin to look up in the new year.

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