Tag Archives: archivist

Researcher’s Corner, Now with More Access to Data!: The New Archivist’s Job Search

I’m reposting this piece by Shannon Lausch, which originally ran on September 27, 2012, because there is new access to her project’s data. If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, Shannon’s presentation, Rebecca Goldman’s presentation, and the survey and anonymized responses are all available here:

http://digitalcommons.lasalle.edu/libraryconf/4/


I am so excited to be able to present this guest post by Shannon Lausch, in which she reports on her very current research, conducted in partnership with Rebecca Goldman, into what it’s like to job hunt as a newly graduated archivist. I heard about their work via the SNAP listserv.  If you’re a new archivist, you should check it out.  I’ve been very impressed with both the discussions and level of collegiality that can be found there.

Shannon’s analysis is fascinating – there are both expected and surprising results.  Please leave a comment to let us know what you think!


Introduction

At the 2012 annual conference of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), Rebecca Goldman and I were panelists for a session called “The Thin Line between Supply and Demand: The Pesky Business of Archival Education.” Like many areas in the library and information science field, the competition for archives-related jobs is fierce, and this panel addressed the high number of job applicants versus the low number of positions available.

For our presentations, Rebecca and I conducted a survey of those who completed a graduate program with an emphasis in archives within the past five years. Rebecca was interested in job and life satisfaction as well as alternatives to the archives profession, while I focused on the job search itself. Specifically, I wanted to provide answers to the many questions new graduates may find themselves asking, such as the following: how long is the average job search?  Is relocation usually necessary? What kinds of jobs are applicants ultimately finding?

Survey Methods

We sent out the survey to SAA’s Archives and Archivists listserv and Students and New Archives Professionals listserv. It was also advertised on the ArchivesNext blog and on Twitter. We received 248 responses.

Designing the survey was challenging, and we had to make some difficult choices of how to phrase questions and what options to include. We were also careful in distinguishing between those who found a position after graduation and those who are currently searching for a job. Among those who are currently searching for a job, we included those who found a job after graduation but are looking for a new position and those who have yet to find a job after graduation.

Our Findings

I would like to highlight what I found to be the most interesting findings in the job search section of our survey.

Some graduates do find full-time positions, but a significant number report finding temporary or part-time work for their first position after graduation

One of the first job-related questions we asked in the survey was the basic “have you found any kind of employment post-graduation”: 73.2 percent reported finding a position after graduating, 15.6 percent said that they continued to work in a position that they had before graduating, and 6.7 percent stated that they did not find employment of any kind. Of the 4.5 percent who stated that none of the options applied to them, common answers included finding employment before graduating or having paid internships.

In the next question, we asked those who were employed to describe the type of position of their first job. 49.8 percent said that they were employed as professional archivists; the next highest, at 14.4 percent, stated that they were employed in a related field, and a total of 15.8 percent were employed in a paraprofessional position. 6.2 percent were employed in an unrelated field.

We then further inquired about the status of their first position. 48.3 percent reported holding full-time and permanent positions. The next highest at 31.7 percent reported having a full-time position that was on a temporary or term basis or based on a contract or project.  Part-time positions accounted for 19 percent of employment.

The job search may not be as arduous for everyone

After hearing so many anecdotes of people applying to a hundred or more jobs for over a year before finally landing their first position, I expected our results would illustrate a similar story. I was wrong.

In searching for their first position post-graduation, 31.2 percent reported it took 1 to 3 months to find a job, and for another 31.2 percent, it took 4 to 6 months. 8.7 percent reported that it took more than a year to find a job.

Before finding their first position, the majority, at 48.9 percent, applied between 1 and 20 positions, and 21.3 percent applied between 21 and 40 positions. Four percent applied to 100 or more positions.

If we were to do this survey again, I would further break-down the 1-20 segment to have a better understanding on the average number of positions graduates apply for, since I did not expect it to be our top answer.

Getting an interview is a huge deal

Next, let’s take a look at interviews. For those employed, out of 165, 131 reported receiving just one interview. If we include everyone currently looking for a job, these numbers have a little more variety. Still, the most frequent responses were zero or one.

I was surprised that so many successful candidates received only one interview. It illustrates that there may be nothing sorely deficient with job seekers who have spent a long time searching. They just needed a lucky break. But I’m also wondering what happened to those who were competing against the people who only had one interview and got the job. Surely, there should be more people out there with at least two interviews.

I would also like point out that if we were to do this survey again, we would consider distinguishing between preliminary phone interviews and final interviews as we’re not certain how our applicants decided to count interviews.

Relocation is a common reality for job finders

Finally, we also asked about willingness to relocate. Another common story for job seekers to hear is that you must be willing to relocate, and I was curious about how willingness to relocate relates to finding a job.

I cross-tabbed our data of whether job finders had to relocate and what their position was. For professional archives positions, 58.9 percent had to relocate for their position; for related professionals, 13.3 percent relocated; and 14.4 percent relocated for hybrid position.

So what about those who did not relocate but still found a position? 46.8 percent found a job as an archivist professional and 17 percent as an archives paraprofessional. But for those who did not relocate and still found a position, 29.8 percent already had the job before receiving their degree.

Final thoughts

It is a tough and strange market in the archives world, one where you may go from hearing nothing for months to landing a full-time professional position after receiving an interview from just one institution. Or you may have to face the uncertainties of the job market again and again, finding multiple temporary project positions. Having a strong network of those who can help you in making sure your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills are in top form is critical for making sure when opportunity strikes, you’re ready.


Shannon Lausch graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a master’s degree in library and information science in May 2011. While studying for her master’s degree, she worked as a graduate assistant at the University Archives; completed a practicum with the Champaign County Historical Archives; and held an internship with the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum for her graduate school’s “Alternative Spring Break” program.

She is now an archivist for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, working at the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture. Her job search lasted seven months.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Archives, Guest Posts, library research, MLIS Students, Researcher's Corner

Opportunity to Grow/Ability to Be Creative/Friendly Atmosphere

Jennifer CrutchfieldThis interview is with job hunter Jennifer Crutchfield, a 2008 alumnus of Simmons college. She is currently a Reference/ Instructional Librarian and Archivist at Manchester Community College, CT, where she enjoys very friendly co-workers.  She is a member of SAA, NEA, and ALA, and is looking for part-time or full-time archivist work. Ms. Crutchfield has been hunting for more than 18 months, looking in Academic libraries, Archives, and Special libraries for positions requiring at least two years of experience. This is what she has to say about volunteering:

I volunteer a lot. I’ve loved every place I’ve volunteered with. They all really appreciate you. But at some point you realize that you have to make some money. It doesn’t mean you have to stop volunteering, it just means you realize how hard it is to get a paying job in this field.

She is currently in a suburban area, in the Northeastern US and is willing to move within the Northeast.

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

Opportunity to grow.
Ability to be creative.
Friendly atmosphere.

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, CT Library jobs, Archives Gig. Random web searches.

Do you expect to see salary range listed in a job ad?

√ Yes, and it’s a red flag when it’s not

What’s your routine for preparing an application packet? How much time do you spend on it?

I spend about an hour or so on preparing my application. It may take longer if it is an online application where you need to fill in a lot of information. The cover letter takes the longest for me because I try to tailor it to each job.

Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?

√ Other: Maybe a little. I write this because sometimes you are capable of doing a certain task, but may not have had to do it in your current position.

When would you like employers to contact you?

√ To acknowledge my application
√ To tell me if I have or have not been selected to move on to the interview stage
√ To follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Email

Which events during the interview/visit are most important to your assessment of the position (i.e. deciding if you want the job)?

√ Tour of facility
√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?

I think they should have an open mind. Just because someone has 20 years experience doesn’t mean they are the best for the job.

What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?

Contact us no matter what!

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

It is who you know as well as what you know. Many jobs I have applied for left me thinking “Why didn’t I get this job?” When I ask for some of the reasons why I didn’t get the position, many times it comes down to the position being filled by an internal applicant or someone who has the qualifications and is recommended by the employee who is leaving the position. This is just my experience.

This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one?  Check it out!

Leave a comment

Filed under Academic, Archives, Job hunter's survey, Northeastern US, Special, Suburban area

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Archives Gig

This week we’re showcasing a resource for the archivists out there.  I don’t know much about archives and archivists, so I’m glad to be able to learn more with Meredith Lowe, and her awesome resource: Archives Gig.

Archives Gig

What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

I curate postings of careers, jobs, and internships in the world of archives & records management, and post them to Archives Gig.

When was it started?  Why was it started?

Archives Gig was created on February 5, 2010.  As part of my job, I was contributing to the student job listserv at the University of Wisconsin – Madison SLIS.  I thought that I could benefit a broader group of people by making a public website, so that’s what drove the creation of the site.  I really enjoy looking at all of the opportunities out there, too, so running AG is a fun hobby.

Who runs it?

Just me!  I have a MA in Library and Information Studies, with a concentration in archives, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  My training largely informs my decisions about which jobs I post.  I currently work in Continuing Education Services at UW-Madison SLIS, so I coordinate continuing education and training for librarians and information professionals.  Check out our offerings at http://www.slis.wisc.edu/continueed.htm.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

I’m not a “career expert.”  I just post jobs that fall within the purview of the site.

Who is your target audience?

Archivists, records managers, and students.  I post jobs at all levels, from internships to directors.  Anyone who is interested in the current archives/RM career landscape would certainly find a lot of information here.

What’s the best way to use your site?  Should users consult it daily?  Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

I generally post daily on weekdays, and I exclusively post job announcements.  It’s in a blog format, so the most recent post goes up top. If you’re actively job hunting, check in at least weekly (or set yourself up to receive Twitter or Facebook alerts).  If you’re just casually interested in what’s out there right now, consult AG at your leisure.

Each job posting gets tagged with keywords that you can use to narrow your search. If you look at the main page (http://archivesgig.livejournal.com), the tags are listed down the left side of the screen.  The quick and dirty trick to searching: I always tag the state/geographical region of every job’s location, whether it’s permanent or temporary, and what kind of institution it’s in. For example, if I tag something as “status: internship”, and if you click that tag in the list, every entry that received that tag will come up (the most recent will be at the top of the page). If you’re looking for all jobs in a certain state (let’s say Iowa), go to the tag list on the left side of the page and look for “State: Iowa.” One caveat: the “skills” tags are NOT comprehensive. I often get a little more detailed with the tags, and specify particular skill sets that a job demands – but that’s basically if I have time to do so!

Does your site provide:

√  Job Listings

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?

√  Twitter: @archivesgig
√  Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/archivesgig
√  Other:  RSS feed: http://archivesgig.livejournal.com/data/rss

Do you charge for anything on your site?

Free! It’s completely free for anyone to search.  If someone wants me to post a job, that’s also free.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

I’m always thrilled to hear from someone who found their job through Archives Gig.  It’s my mission to make job hunting in this tight market just a little easier.  I have heard from several archivists who found their jobs through AG, which makes my day every time.

meredith loweAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

This is especially directed toward the newly graduated job seekers: Be Flexible.  If you can’t find your dream job in your ideal location, try and look for other positions (or other places) that you’re qualified to do, and that will give you some professional experience.  You’ll certainly learn something new, and you may find a job in a different area of the profession is a great fit.

1 Comment

Filed under Archives, Job Hunters Web Guide

Researcher’s Corner: The New Archivist’s Job Search

Note – added 2/26/2013 – If you’re interested in learning more about this project, Shannon’s presentation, Rebecca Goldman’s presentation, and the survey and anonymized responses are all available here:

http://digitalcommons.lasalle.edu/libraryconf/4/


I am so excited to be able to present this guest post by Shannon Lausch, in which she reports on her very current research, conducted in partnership with Rebecca Goldman, into what it’s like to job hunt as a newly graduated archivist. I heard about their work via the SNAP listserv.  If you’re a new archivist, you should check it out.  I’ve been very impressed with both the discussions and level of collegiality that can be found there.

Shannon’s analysis is fascinating – there are both expected and surprising results.  Please leave a comment to let us know what you think!


Introduction

At the 2012 annual conference of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), Rebecca Goldman and I were panelists for a session called “The Thin Line between Supply and Demand: The Pesky Business of Archival Education.” Like many areas in the library and information science field, the competition for archives-related jobs is fierce, and this panel addressed the high number of job applicants versus the low number of positions available.

For our presentations, Rebecca and I conducted a survey of those who completed a graduate program with an emphasis in archives within the past five years. Rebecca was interested in job and life satisfaction as well as alternatives to the archives profession, while I focused on the job search itself. Specifically, I wanted to provide answers to the many questions new graduates may find themselves asking, such as the following: how long is the average job search?  Is relocation usually necessary? What kinds of jobs are applicants ultimately finding?

Survey Methods

We sent out the survey to SAA’s Archives and Archivists listserv and Students and New Archives Professionals listserv. It was also advertised on the ArchivesNext blog and on Twitter. We received 248 responses.

Designing the survey was challenging, and we had to make some difficult choices of how to phrase questions and what options to include. We were also careful in distinguishing between those who found a position after graduation and those who are currently searching for a job. Among those who are currently searching for a job, we included those who found a job after graduation but are looking for a new position and those who have yet to find a job after graduation.

Our Findings

I would like to highlight what I found to be the most interesting findings in the job search section of our survey.

Some graduates do find full-time positions, but a significant number report finding temporary or part-time work for their first position after graduation

One of the first job-related questions we asked in the survey was the basic “have you found any kind of employment post-graduation”: 73.2 percent reported finding a position after graduating, 15.6 percent said that they continued to work in a position that they had before graduating, and 6.7 percent stated that they did not find employment of any kind. Of the 4.5 percent who stated that none of the options applied to them, common answers included finding employment before graduating or having paid internships.

In the next question, we asked those who were employed to describe the type of position of their first job. 49.8 percent said that they were employed as professional archivists; the next highest, at 14.4 percent, stated that they were employed in a related field, and a total of 15.8 percent were employed in a paraprofessional position. 6.2 percent were employed in an unrelated field.

We then further inquired about the status of their first position. 48.3 percent reported holding full-time and permanent positions. The next highest at 31.7 percent reported having a full-time position that was on a temporary or term basis or based on a contract or project.  Part-time positions accounted for 19 percent of employment.

The job search may not be as arduous for everyone

After hearing so many anecdotes of people applying to a hundred or more jobs for over a year before finally landing their first position, I expected our results would illustrate a similar story. I was wrong.

In searching for their first position post-graduation, 31.2 percent reported it took 1 to 3 months to find a job, and for another 31.2 percent, it took 4 to 6 months. 8.7 percent reported that it took more than a year to find a job.

Before finding their first position, the majority, at 48.9 percent, applied between 1 and 20 positions, and 21.3 percent applied between 21 and 40 positions. Four percent applied to 100 or more positions.

If we were to do this survey again, I would further break-down the 1-20 segment to have a better understanding on the average number of positions graduates apply for, since I did not expect it to be our top answer.

Getting an interview is a huge deal

Next, let’s take a look at interviews. For those employed, out of 165, 131 reported receiving just one interview. If we include everyone currently looking for a job, these numbers have a little more variety. Still, the most frequent responses were zero or one.

I was surprised that so many successful candidates received only one interview. It illustrates that there may be nothing sorely deficient with job seekers who have spent a long time searching. They just needed a lucky break. But I’m also wondering what happened to those who were competing against the people who only had one interview and got the job. Surely, there should be more people out there with at least two interviews.

I would also like point out that if we were to do this survey again, we would consider distinguishing between preliminary phone interviews and final interviews as we’re not certain how our applicants decided to count interviews.

Relocation is a common reality for job finders

Finally, we also asked about willingness to relocate. Another common story for job seekers to hear is that you must be willing to relocate, and I was curious about how willingness to relocate relates to finding a job.

I cross-tabbed our data of whether job finders had to relocate and what their position was. For professional archives positions, 58.9 percent had to relocate for their position; for related professionals, 13.3 percent relocated; and 14.4 percent relocated for hybrid position.

So what about those who did not relocate but still found a position? 46.8 percent found a job as an archivist professional and 17 percent as an archives paraprofessional. But for those who did not relocate and still found a position, 29.8 percent already had the job before receiving their degree.

Final thoughts

It is a tough and strange market in the archives world, one where you may go from hearing nothing for months to landing a full-time professional position after receiving an interview from just one institution. Or you may have to face the uncertainties of the job market again and again, finding multiple temporary project positions. Having a strong network of those who can help you in making sure your resume, cover letter, and interviewing skills are in top form is critical for making sure when opportunity strikes, you’re ready.


Shannon Lausch graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a master’s degree in library and information science in May 2011. While studying for her master’s degree, she worked as a graduate assistant at the University Archives; completed a practicum with the Champaign County Historical Archives; and held an internship with the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum for her graduate school’s “Alternative Spring Break” program.

She is now an archivist for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, working at the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture. Her job search lasted seven months.

11 Comments

Filed under Archives, Guest Posts, library research, MLIS Students, Researcher's Corner

We Are Looking for People with Electronic Records Management Experience So We Can Continue to Bury Our Heads in the Sand about It

Archival Trainees and Orientation Group, 1968This anonymous interview is with someone who has been a hiring manager and a member of hiring committees at an Academic library with 50-100 staff members. One of the questions on the survey is “Are you a librarian?” We all know this can be a bit of a loaded question. Many people feel strongly that only someone those with MLS/MLIS degrees can be librarians, even though someone might have decades of experience working in a library and performing librarian duties. Conversely, people with MLIS/MLS degrees may work in positions outside a library or without “librarian” in the title. So I have provided the answer choices: “yes,” “no,” and “it’s complicated” (thanks, Facebook). That’s the long way of explaining that this is our first “it’s complicated” respondent! This person ultimately reveals that s/he is an archivist.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Required skills,
smart,
good personality

…(in that order)

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

A poorly written cover letter or if the person strikes me as a wallflower.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

Non-relevant work experience–i.e. barista at Starbuck’s; non-relevant interests.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

Technical skills (though lots do put this, but not everyone).

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Other: One for entry-level; one to two for anything else.

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ Other: Submit cover letter and resume as one PDF, as an application packet.

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Smart, sense of humor, confident, and humble.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

They get very nervous during their presentation, which makes us nervous.

Has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

No.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

I am an archivist.  We are looking for people with electronic records management experience so we can continue to bury our heads in the sand about it.

4 Comments

Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Archives, Original Survey