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There is a “Black Hole” of Information After One Drops a Resume

This interview originally appeared on March 11, 2013. Then we followed up with Ms. Moran on December 9, 2013. This year’s follow up will post shortly.
Cristy MoranThis interview is with job hunter Cristy Moran, who graduated from the University of South Florida (MLIS, 2012).  She is currently a Temporary Reference Librarian at Nova Southeastern University’s Alvin Sherman Research, Information, and Technology Center in Broward County, FL. Despite being hired within the last two months, and she continues to avidly seek permanent professional work, as she has for the last year to 18 months. Ms. Moran is looking in academic, public, school, and special libraries, for entry level positions.  Here is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

Library work: MLIS supervised fieldwork internship at a state university library working reference and creating online instructional materials correlated with their digital collections (3 months), continued volunteering in the Reference Department of the library where I did my internship at the same capacity (4 months), and currently working as a temporary reference librarian PT at a private university joint-use (public and academic) library (2 months).

Ms. Moran is in an urban area in the Southern US, and is willing to move anywhere. She is currently editing her first novel for self-publishing, teaching herself how to knit, and blogging on Public Libraries Online. For more details of her work and professional interests, visit her e-Portfolio.

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

1. Full time, 2. Adequate pay (at least above $36k/ year where I live but is negotiable depending on the cost of living where an opening or job offer is located), 3. Benefits

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA JobLIST, professional listservs (I am a member of ALA, NMRT, and my graduate school’s LIS student group.), Florida Library Jobs (I live in Florida), my former graduate advisor and other library professional contacts, Facebook groups for librarians looking for work, GovJobs online, USAjobs online, individual institutional jobsites (i.e. University of Miami, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, Miami Dade College, Broward College, etc. job sites), Employ Florida website – everywhere and anywhere I can find librarian job listings.

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 have pre-created resumes and CVs for different libraries (academic, public, private) and have a series of cover letter templates ready to go for different kinds of positions (entry-level, Librarian I, instructional positions, administrative/non-librarian positions, paraprofessional positions, programming librarian positions, diversity, age ranges, etc.) and a pdf of my official MLIS transcript in a USB I carry with me always. If I find a job I’m interested in, I can easily send an application package via email – if that’s what they want – within the first few minutes.

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

√ No

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 with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

I think new librarians with varying professional backgrounds should be allowed to apply even if they don’t meet a specific requirement of length of time working in PAID positions in libraries post-MLIS. Many of us have extensive professional resumes outside of libraries that we can bring into the field and, often, we are not considered for even application review because we haven’t been working in a library as a paid permanent employee for over 2 years. (Many of us have had to take unpaid internships, temporary positions, and volunteer opportunities in libraries in a professional, paraprofessional, etc. position because of lack of opportunities for employment.)

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

There should be more communication. Employers should confirm receipt of resume, let candidates know whether one qualifies to move onto the resume review position or does not, provide information as to the length of time it will take for the committee to review applications or move further along the hiring process, etc. There is a “black hole” of information after one drops a resume. (Trust me, I’ve applied to over 200 librarian positions in 2012 alone.)

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

The secret to getting hired is – I find – being at the right place at the right time. The temp job I have now I found because of the network I created where I did my internship and, later, volunteered. The position I’m up for in another institution had been open for a while and hadn’t been filled so the library contacted my graduate advisor for any suitable candidates she might know – that is how I applied for it (I didn’t meet the minimum experience requirement but after some communication with the head librarian, was asked to apply.) I find that it’s not the effort that the job-seeker puts out but what appears on the resume in black and white…and the only way to get a job otherwise is to “know people who know people” in the industry with a specific need they need to fill immediately.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I think this is a great survey. I’ve been actively pursuing my professional library career for some time and find that the job seeker is often not considered for feedback and information. A lot of emphasis is placed on what the job seeker “can do” or “shouldn’t do” but, in many ways, the job seeker can do everything “right” and still be overlooked for jobs or blocked out of the hiring process. Hopefully – regardless of whether or not I get placed in a job immediately – I can benefit from the work you’re doing and so will other librarians and librarian-wannabes!

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

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The Web is Made of Links, or I Know Where You Came From

WordPress provides a list of referrers, as part of its Blog Stats page. I love looking at how people get here.  I think, “People are talking about the blog on the internets!” It’s very exciting.  It’s also great to see what they are saying, both when it’s an opinion about the blog, and when the blog is presented as part of the context of someone’s job hunting experience. So here is a post about some of my referrers, in the spirit of both vanity and reciprocity. This is part one, because this post is long enough already, and I’m not even close to being finished with the list.

The majority of traffic to this blog comes through search engines, closely followed by the anonymous gates of Twitter and Facebook.

Following that, I Need A Library Job has sent a lot of you here, as has LinkedIn – in particular this post in the group Librarians in the Job Market.

Hack Library School, in addition to collaborating on our Library School Career Center Series, has mentioned us in several great posts about library employment:

Tips for Your Job or Internship Application

Avoiding the lull after the storm – Reflections on the ending of library school and the job hunt

Congratulations! Now Get a Job

LISNews helped me gather participants for a surveys here and here, and Ask A Manager also helped me get off the ground by introducing me here.

American Libraries Live has linked to posts on a few occasions, for example here and here, as has the ALA_JobLIST newsletter.

LISCareer was kind enough to publish a piece I wrote a few months after starting Hiring Librarians, and I also posted an excerpt from their book, which they talk about on their site.  Both links send people here weekly if not daily.

One thing I think it totally awesome is that Librarian Hire Fashion was inspired by this blog, and Jill’s linking and discussion sends readers here regularly as well.

Tumblr sends fewer people here than Facebook and Twitter, but one thing I prefer is that I can more often see the specific thing that has driven traffic.  Sometimes I can see a link where a specific profile has shared or reblogged a post, such as Library Journal, but other times people are just browsing a tag, such as mlis, library job, librarian, librarians, or library school, and so those Tumblr tag pages show up as links in as well. Reddit is another online community which allows for specific links.  There are three such conversations herehere, and here.  LiveJournal has also sent many of you here.  Sometimes I can see the specific link (as part of the advice on applying for jobs here) and sometimes I can’t.  Pinterest has also sent people here via pins such as this one and this one.

Fairly soon after this blog first started, mental_floss’ Miss Kathleen linked here, and that post sent quite a few of you over.

Being in the blogroll on the History of News Libraries site is a traffic driver, particularly I think when people have gone there to look at job postings.

American Libraries’ article on Toughing It Out in a Tight Job Market thrilled me not only because I got to see the blog’s name in print, but because the online version of the article sent some of you here.  And, you know, good advice and all that.

Michael Adrian, whose profile pic makes Ottawa look FREEZING cold, blogged twice about Hiring Librarians, here and here.

New Jersey Librarians may have arrived here after reading about it on the NJ-SLA Jobs Blog.

Library School career pages and blogs also link here: Wayne State, Drexel iSchool, University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Hiring Librarians is also on the Resources page of Library JobLine.  Another LIS Career site, Library Jobs in California, wrote a post about us.

The sites of contributing Hiring Librarians, namely Sue Hill’s Recruitment Agency and The Library Career Center send some of you here.

The BeerBrarian (one of my favorite types of Brarian), linked here in his post about the search to fill a position at his library, and then was kind enough to do a survey interview.

Kate Tkacik linked here in a Library Journal BackTalk article about how tough the job search is for recent grads.  Don’t I know it!

One blog about a successful job search that sends people here is Robin Camille Davis

Some people have linked in when talking about upcoming presentations, such as Alexandra Carter and John Dupuis at Confessions of a Science Librarian

For a great paisley photo, and some thoughtful analysis, take a look at The Interview and You, on LLOPS

Probably the most random link in is from a community called Makeup Alley. Or maybe not that random, given that they’re linking to the interview outfit survey, and I’m sure there are plenty of Makeup-wearing librarians.  They talk about Hiring Librarians on Ravelry too, but I buy into the knitting librarian stereotype, so that one doesn’t seem so out of left field. And LibraryThing seems very appropriate.

I find a lot of the photos I use here on the Flickr Commons.  For a while, I was writing a comment on the photo to tell the owning institution where I’d used it and say thank you.  Those comments link back in sometimes, which was only part of my purpose in commenting.

This blog has been used as a citation at least twice, once by Alyssa Vincent on In the Library with the Lead Pipe, and once by Raymond Wang in an APALA article.

People using Scoop.It sometimes like to scoop Hiring Librarians articles, namely Africa Hands at the LIS Career Information resource,  Library Collaboration, Professional Development of Librarians, K-12 School Libraries, and The Information Professional.

I’ve gotten to interview several candidates for library association boards, and they’ve often linked to the interview on their campaign sites.  For example: Courtney Young, Gina Millsap.

Sally Pewhairangi has linked into the site more than once on her blog Finding Heroes.  I really like it when she links in, because then she includes my Twitter account when she tweets a list of “library heroes.”

I love the title of this wiki: Help for Librarians.  They link in here.

Ok, will talk about more later.

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There is a “Black Hole” of Information After One Drops a Resume

Cristy MoranThis interview is with job hunter Cristy Moran, who graduated from the University of South Florida (MLIS, 2012).  She is currently a Temporary Reference Librarian at Nova Southeastern University’s Alvin Sherman Research, Information, and Technology Center in Broward County, FL. Despite being hired within the last two months, and she continues to avidly seek permanent professional work, as she has for the last year to 18 months. Ms. Moran is looking in academic, public, school, and special libraries, for entry level positions.  Here is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

Library work: MLIS supervised fieldwork internship at a state university library working reference and creating online instructional materials correlated with their digital collections (3 months), continued volunteering in the Reference Department of the library where I did my internship at the same capacity (4 months), and currently working as a temporary reference librarian PT at a private university joint-use (public and academic) library (2 months).

Ms. Moran is in an urban area in the Southern US, and is willing to move anywhere. She is currently editing her first novel for self-publishing, teaching herself how to knit, and blogging on Public Libraries Online. For more details of her work and professional interests, visit her e-Portfolio.

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

1. Full time, 2. Adequate pay (at least above $36k/ year where I live but is negotiable depending on the cost of living where an opening or job offer is located), 3. Benefits

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA JobLIST, professional listservs (I am a member of ALA, NMRT, and my graduate school’s LIS student group.), Florida Library Jobs (I live in Florida), my former graduate advisor and other library professional contacts, Facebook groups for librarians looking for work, GovJobs online, USAjobs online, individual institutional jobsites (i.e. University of Miami, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, Miami Dade College, Broward College, etc. job sites), Employ Florida website – everywhere and anywhere I can find librarian job listings.

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 have pre-created resumes and CVs for different libraries (academic, public, private) and have a series of cover letter templates ready to go for different kinds of positions (entry-level, Librarian I, instructional positions, administrative/non-librarian positions, paraprofessional positions, programming librarian positions, diversity, age ranges, etc.) and a pdf of my official MLIS transcript in a USB I carry with me always. If I find a job I’m interested in, I can easily send an application package via email – if that’s what they want – within the first few minutes.

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

√ No

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 with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

I think new librarians with varying professional backgrounds should be allowed to apply even if they don’t meet a specific requirement of length of time working in PAID positions in libraries post-MLIS. Many of us have extensive professional resumes outside of libraries that we can bring into the field and, often, we are not considered for even application review because we haven’t been working in a library as a paid permanent employee for over 2 years. (Many of us have had to take unpaid internships, temporary positions, and volunteer opportunities in libraries in a professional, paraprofessional, etc. position because of lack of opportunities for employment.)

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

There should be more communication. Employers should confirm receipt of resume, let candidates know whether one qualifies to move onto the resume review position or does not, provide information as to the length of time it will take for the committee to review applications or move further along the hiring process, etc. There is a “black hole” of information after one drops a resume. (Trust me, I’ve applied to over 200 librarian positions in 2012 alone.)

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

The secret to getting hired is – I find – being at the right place at the right time. The temp job I have now I found because of the network I created where I did my internship and, later, volunteered. The position I’m up for in another institution had been open for a while and hadn’t been filled so the library contacted my graduate advisor for any suitable candidates she might know – that is how I applied for it (I didn’t meet the minimum experience requirement but after some communication with the head librarian, was asked to apply.) I find that it’s not the effort that the job-seeker puts out but what appears on the resume in black and white…and the only way to get a job otherwise is to “know people who know people” in the industry with a specific need they need to fill immediately.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

I think this is a great survey. I’ve been actively pursuing my professional library career for some time and find that the job seeker is often not considered for feedback and information. A lot of emphasis is placed on what the job seeker “can do” or “shouldn’t do” but, in many ways, the job seeker can do everything “right” and still be overlooked for jobs or blocked out of the hiring process. Hopefully – regardless of whether or not I get placed in a job immediately – I can benefit from the work you’re doing and so will other librarians and librarian-wannabes!

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

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I Literally Cut-and-Pasted QR Codes That Corresponded to the Appropriate Position in my Digital Resume

This interview is with Brittany Turner, who is the Records Manager/Special Projects Librarian with the Shreve Memorial Library and also works as a consultant focusing primarily in the area of cultural heritage protection. Previously, Brittany worked as Project Coordinator for “To Preserve and Protect: Security Solutions for New York’s Historical Records” at the New York State Archives and Village Clerk for the Village of New Paltz, NY. Brittany received her Master’s in Public Administration through the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany, and her MLIS in 2012 from the University of Alabama (Online Cohort).

Ms. Turner has been hired within the last two months, but prior to that was job hunting for a year to 18 months, looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, School libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, Senior Librarian, Branch Manager, and Director/Dean. She is in a city/town in the Southern US, and was willing to move:

within specific regions which may be expanded for the right position.

Ms. Turner is active in a number of professional organizations, including the SAA Security Roundtable and RBMS Security Committee. She is also the 2011 recipient of the Donald Peterson Student Scholarship award.

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

Professional, challenging work. Salary that corresponds to my qualifications. Generous benefits.

Where do you look for open positions?

EVERYWHERE. LinkedIn, Facebook, Professional Organizations and Associations, USA Jobs, Craigslist, [INSERTREGION]helpwanted.com, Monster, JobFox, Individual Organizations, ReWork, State Employment Websites, etc. The most helpful resource I’ve found is INALJ.

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

√ Other: Yes, I expect to, and no, it’s rarely there.

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

It depends on the position. When I’m applying through an automated site like USAJobs, it takes about 3-4 hours to set up the initial application. After that, depending on the length of the questionnaire, it’s about 15 to 20 minutes on average. That being said, the chance of getting a Federal job right now without Veteran’s preference is slim-to-none, so I know those are unlikely prospects and the quick prep time means everyone else can send many blanket applications, too.

For specific opportunities through other outlets, it varies. Although almost all Universities seem to be using the same database framework, the huge majority are not accessing a centralized applicant database. Filling out that tedious, time consuming form over and over usually has me reassessing how much I’m interested in the job halfway through, and I finish those applications about 50-75% of the time. Sure, the University is able to screen applicants automatically that way, but they may also be missing out on highly qualified candidates who don’t really want to deal with the BS for the millionth time.

In the case of an email application, I’ll spend a few minutes customizing one of my “stock” cover letters, attach one of my stock resumes/CVs, and add any additional resources that might be useful or required. I’ll rarely create something new to support an application, and I think my use of an eportfolio helps provide additional resources and samples if the employer is looking to see examples of deliverables.

I am shocked at the number of employers who still require paper applications and will only apply for these positions if it’s an excellent opportunity, despite my major concerns regarding the bigger implications of the use of paper applications. It’d definitely be a specific question I ask during any interview, since it really reflects on the health and philosophy of the organization as a whole.

I’ll also complete paper applications if I’m trying to make a point. The position I recently accepted had a paper application; it was worth the hassle, but one of the first things I hope to do is assist with the transition to a web-based application systems. The only other paper application I’ve completed in recent memory was done so in an attempt to highlight how ridiculous the practice was, as the position was with a large library system that frankly should’ve known better. I printed the application. Then, in the miniscule blank spaces where I was supposed to indicate my responsibilities, accomplishments, etc. (essentially, resume), I literally cut-and-pasted QR codes that corresponded to the appropriate position in my digital resume. I didn’t get the job, and I didn’t expect to, but hopefully the employer got the point. Any medium-to-large library or library system that truly believes paper applications are appropriate is majorly limiting their pool of potential candidates, and not in a good way. It’s a major red flag.

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

√ No

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
√ Meeting with HR to talk about benefits/salary

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

Web-based applications that do not require applicants to fill out the same generic database for the zillionth time. Please just allow upload of resume or CV in lieu of filling out the fields. Actively recruiting candidates who meet their needs rather than sending out an announcement and hoping for the best. Working directly with professional organizations and academic programs to identify strong matches. Sharing the announcement beyond their own website.

Inclusion of accurate, likely salary and benefit information in the announcement (not just “commensurate with experience” or “$10,000 to $100,000 per year, DOE” or “generous benefits package”) is a must. Candidates understand that there will always be some flexibility, but at least help them help you. While it’s true that seasoned professionals will be able to weed out some unlikely prospects by evaluating the position descriptions alone, in a difficult job market many will be looking to expand their search beyond positions that show upward momentum. When you’re transparent about your budget, it increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to attract candidates with an even richer skill set than that required in your job description. Although intentionally withholding salary information may be ethical, it isn’t really helping you or your candidates. We don’t want to waste your time by applying for a position that we could never possibly accept; please don’t waste our time by asking highly qualified candidates to apply for a position that’s advertised as professional yet pays minimum wage. Be upfront – if your position description and stated salary range aren’t generating the volume or quality of applications you hoped for, it’s likely a problem with you and not the applicants.

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

Open, honest communications. Each employer understandably expects a customized application package, regardless of the fact that many applicants are screening and/or applying for literally hundreds of positions every week, . Please take the time to offer the same level of customization in return; if another candidate “better met [your] needs,” explain why. This may not be feasible for every applicant, but it should be within reach for interviewed candidates at a minimum. I know, some HR attorney is balking, but not only is it a matter of courtesy, it may also help to provide guidance to job seekers looking to improve their skills, enhancing the overall quality of applicants within the profession and making it more likely that candidates will reapply to your organization with a stronger package in the future. The excuse that each employer receives billions of applications and they can’t possibly take the time to provide an individual response to each one is bogus. No one works harder than someone who is unemployed and struggling to find meaningful work. Applicants can do it, and so should you (within reason; obviously no one expects you to tell John Doe that he wasn’t hired because he clearly hadn’t bathed in three weeks).

Similarly, and this is a little one, please respond to the applicant via the medium they used to apply. If you require paper applications, you need to send a paper response. If you require email applications, send an email response. Either way, though, at least send a response in some form! It would also be helpful if your announcement and/or application confirmation included contact information for whatever staff member is responsible for monitoring the progress of your search. Sometimes, an applicant may be faced with an offer but hasn’t yet heard back from their dream job; since so many employers don’t acknowledge us at all, you may have lost your dream employer to another organization simply because they had no way to verify whether you’d selected another candidate or even started interviews yet. It also ensures that the clever few who figure out the who’s who of your organization are contacting the appropriate person in HR rather than supervisors or search committee members.

If you’re contacting an applicant for the first time, please do so via email and not phone. If an applicant has applied for hundreds of positions, no matter how special you are or how special you think you should be, they probably won’t be able to remember your organization let alone the details of the position off the top of their heads. Don’t set applicants up to make a sub-par first impression this way. Contact them via email, and reference not only your organization but also the specific position, linking to the announcement if possible. Not only have we applied for lots and lots of vacancies, but we probably also applied to multiple openings within your own organization. Be as specific as possible to make our work a little easier. The last thing a job seeker wants to do after being contacted for an interview is to root through hundreds of near-identical emails and announcements to figure out which one it’s for.

Recognize that this is a relationship. Sure, you have a lot at stake in selecting a new employee, but so does the employee. That relationship needs to be mutually beneficial, adaptable to change, and able to embrace compromise. If one party is giving significantly more, while the other is taking significantly more, guess what? That’s an unhealthy, potentially abusive relationship. Don’t set the stage for major problems later on. Treat your prospective employees with the respect, understanding, and flexibility they deserve, and you’ll benefit from the same in the future.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Be thorough and be fast. Churn applications out as quickly as you can. Develop tough skin. Be willing and immediately prepared to relocate. Make friends with your browser’s auto-fill. Use INALJ. Avoid all the boring “attention to detail” buzzwords and catchphrases, especially if your resume is loaded with typos and inconsistencies (which it shouldn’t be). Don’t lie or embellish; do highlight concrete, specific examples and accomplishments. Take the time needed to come up with one or two stellar stock cover letters, then make minor modifications to sell yourself for the specific position or organization.

Perhaps most importantly, be willing to work for (slightly) less than you’re worth, but recognize that you are exploring a new relationship. Look for extra benefits in the type of work you’ll be doing rather than compensation, but maintain some healthy skepticism. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. When your sacrifices start to significantly outweigh your benefits, it’s time to walk away. Don’t allow yourself to be blinded by your need for a job right now – you can take a miserable, low-pay, no-benefit, dead-end job anywhere, so avoid doing so in your chosen profession, especially if that decision is being made out of desperation. If the employer is asking too much of you without giving enough back, not only will you find yourself miserable and unemployed again in the future, but you may also have inadvertently marred your professional reputation moving forward. Work the register at a store to pay bills (customer service skills!), volunteer or intern to keep your skills fresh and networks growing (variety and versatility!), and keep applying for those professional positions until you’ve found the right one.

Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?

Thank you for doing this survey. I’ll be sharing it with others. Let me know if there’s any way I can help!

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

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: METRO Job Bank/Career Resources

This week I’m talking with Ellen Mehling, who is not only the Director at the Westchester Graduate Program (Palmer School of Library and Information Science) but is also the manager of the Job Bank, and a career development consultant for the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO).  If you subscribe to NEWLIB-L, or read INALJ articles, or just generally keep your eyes open for library career advice, you’ve probably read something she’s written, or seen links that she’s shared.  She was kind enough to answer my questions about METRO’s Job Bank and Career Resources sites.

METRO Career Resources and Job Bank

What is your website all about? Please give us your elevator speech!

METRO’s JobBank/Career Resources site  provides job postings, and job search and career information for job seekers and employers. In addition to the Job Bank, we’re also regularly publishing articles with tips, information about local professional organizations, and other useful information for new professionals and those in career transition.

When was it started? Why was it started?

The Job Bank was started 10 years ago as the “Job Magnet”, as a way to connect employers and job seekers in the field of library and information science, in the New York area.

Who runs it?

The Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO), a non-profit organization working to develop and maintain essential library services throughout New York City and Westchester County (those who use the Job Bank and Career Resources include many outside of those areas, though).

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

I’ve been an advisor on job hunting and career development for various groups including librarians/information professionals and library school students, for about eight years. I started in a former job, advising members of the general public and special populations who were seeking employment, and before long was being asked to teach workshops on the job search to other library professionals. I’ve trained other librarians on assisting job hunting patrons, and have taught classes/workshops, moderated or spoken on panel discussions and conducted mock interviews and more, at METRO and other venues. I write regularly on job hunting/career topics for various sites, including METRO’s. I’ve served on hiring committees and have been a successful applicant myself in recent years, so I’ve seen and experienced first-hand what works and what doesn’t. I also work for LIU as Director of the Westchester Program and Director of Internships for the Palmer School of Library and Information Science, where I advise all students and alumni on the job search and career development and write a career Q&A for the blog.

Who is your target audience?

Information professionals of all stripes and library school/iSchool students in the greater NYC area.

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?

Job seekers can read the postings and post their own resumes; employers can post positions and see the resumes. Anyone can read the articles and the lists of resources. There is also an RSS feed (http://metro.org/jobs/feed) for the positions that appear on the Job Bank.

Does your site provide:

√  Job Listings     √ Articles/literature     √ Links

√  Advice on:

√ Cover Letters    √ Resumes   √ Interviewing    √ Networking
√ Other: Advice for students and new professionals

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

√ Twitter: @tweetMETRO
√ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/METRO-librarians-archivists-information-professionals-1131967/about
√  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/METRO-Metropolitan-New-York-Library-Council/20722206359
√ Newsletter: The METRO Monthly and ProfDev news are each delivered once a month. Anyone can subscribe via the homepage 
√ Other: Networking opportunities  including Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The general listserv (METRO-l) is open to all; many positions are posted on the listserv in addition to the ones posted on the Job Bank by employers. More ways to connect: http://metro.org/connect/.

Metro job bank

Do you charge for anything on your site?

There is no fee to access the job postings, read the articles/resource lists, or join the listserv.

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

The job market is improving, but it is still tight. While the ways in which people find job openings, apply for jobs, and connect have changed, the classic strategies for finding a job are still the most effective: get the skills and experience that employers want, cultivate and guard your reputation as a positive, effective professional, and network, network, network.

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Library Job Postings on the Internet

This week on the Job Hunter’s Web Guide we’ll take a look at a site that’s 17 years old!  If the site was a high school student, it would be driving and getting ready to graduate.  I’m excited to present Sarah Johnson’s excellent site, Library Job Postings on the Internet.

Lib Post on the Internet

What is your website all about? Please give us your elevator speech!

Library Job Postings is a meta-index that links to library employment sites – over 400 of them in all, from around the world. Included are state and regional library joblines, recruitment and temporary placement firms, library school job bulletins, association sites, and so forth.

When was it started? Why was it started?

I started it in May 1995, when I was working as a student assistant at the University of Michigan’s library science library. There weren’t any other sites like it out there, and this was a time when library job ads first started appearing on mailing lists and on the web. I used it to find my first librarian job, and many of the people from my graduating class found it and started using it, too.

Who runs it?

Just me – Sarah Johnson. It’s been online for over 17 years. I’m now a reference & electronic resources librarian at Booth Library, Eastern Illinois University, which is my 2nd job after library school.

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

While I don’t have formal training in career services, I’ve used my experience running the site to write articles, book chapters, and even a book about library careers. I used to host a related service that posted library job ads (rather than just linking to them) and had a number of productive conversations with employers about the qualifications they sought in the librarians they hired, so I was able to advise librarians on that score. At work, I’ve chaired and served on many search committees, so I’ve had the chance to see the hiring process from the opposite side. I enjoy going through submitted resumes and seeing what individual librarians might be able to contribute to open positions. I’ve also evaluated many librarians’ resumes for NMRT’s resume review service.

Who is your target audience?

Anyone seeking to find a job in a library or in the information field in general.

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?

Many of the sites I link to are updated daily, like the ALA JobLIST and the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s listings. Anyone actively looking for a job is going to want to be paying close attention to what’s out there, so a daily browse through relevant sites may be useful to them. Other sites are updated less frequently. What I’d recommend is that people make note of the most useful sites for their job search and visit those sites on a regular basis. Not everything’s going to be relevant for everyone, especially for users targeting a specific geographic area, but I’d recommend going through all types of sites that might fit, from job listings put out by individual libraries through sites with a wider focus.

Does your site provide:

Job Listings    Links    √ Other: Descriptions of what each site can offer, who the sponsor is, and how often it’s updated.

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

n/a

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No, the site is free of charge.

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

Although most don’t go into detail about their experiences, I’ve received many notes over the years from librarians who found a job through the site — so I know it’s worked!

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

Job seekers don’t need me to tell them that it’s a tough market these days. There’s a lot of competition for the most desirable positions and in the most desirable areas of the country, but the same advice holds true regardless of where your site’s readers may be applying. I’d strongly recommend that librarians have someone (such as a mentor, colleague, or ALA New Members Round Table reviewer) look over their resume and cover letter in detail — to make sure they’re tailored closely to the job in question and are free of errors. Also, while they’re using the web to locate job ads, they should also use it to research the library where they’re applying in order to learn more about the organization. It demonstrates interest in the job, and the more they know in advance, the more closely they’ll be able to tailor their applications — and the better questions they’ll be able to ask at the interview.

If you’ve got questions for Sarah about Library Job Postings on the Internet, please go ahead and put’em in the comments section.

If you run a job or career website for librarians (and archivists and info professionals etc. etc.), and you want to share it here, get in touch with me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thanks for reading!

*Edited 4/27/2012 to fix typo

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: The Library Career Centre

The website profiled here is run by a person who hires librarians, a regular contributor to Friday’s Further Questions posts.  I’m always impressed by her thoughtful, nuanced answers.  I’m pleased to present The Library Career Centre, run by Nicola Franklin.

Library Career Centre

What is your website all about? Please give us your elevator speech!

The Library Career Centre offers recruitment and career coaching services for library and information professionals. The website is centered around a blog, where I post new articles several times a month. The site also includes pages detailing services for candidates/jobseekers and for clients/employers, information on positions clients have asked me to source people for, information about me and contact details.

Posts generally fall into one of three categories:

  • ideas and tips to help with job hunting (CV/resumes, interviewing, etc);
  • discussion, comment and opinion on library issues (use of volunteers, role of library associations, etc);
  • advice and guides to commonly needed skills (marketing, planning, presentations, etc).

When was it started? Why was it started?

The site began in August 2011, immediately prior to the founding of The Library Career Centre Ltd in September 2011. I decided to centre the site around a blog so that it wasn’t just another static ’brochure-ware’ website, but would offer useful and current content.

Who runs it?

Nicola Franklin, who has worked in the recruitment sector for twenty years and has been supporting library and information professionals with their career development for over fifteen years. Nicola has worked at several different firms that specialise in this area over that time in the UK, including Informed Business Services, PFJ and Sue Hill Recruitment, and now runs The Library Career Centre from a base in California, USA.

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

In addition to twenty years experience, I also hold a Diploma in Recruitment Practice from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and am a Fellow, and have also studied for an MBA at Henley Business School in the UK. I have written many articles for library trade journals (eg SLA ‘Information Outlook’, CILIP ‘Update’ and IRMS ‘Bulletin’) and also spoken at conferences such as BIALL, CILIP, IRMS and Internet Librarian International.

Who is your target audience?

Anyone who works with information – whether they are a librarian, information manager, knowledge manager, records manager, archivist, content manager… the list goes on!

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 about new blog posts on the site on Twitter and LinkedIn, so the best way to be alerted to new content is to follow me on one of those sites.

Does your site provide:

 Job Listings     √ Links    √ Coaching     √ The opportunity for interaction

√ Advice on:

√ Cover Letters    √ Resumes   √ Interviewing    √ Networking
√ Other: Marketing your library service, giving presentations, managing staff, strategic planning and other ‘transferable skills’. Also application forms and giving presentations as part of the interview process, and doing skills audits and working out your career goals.

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

√ Twitter: @NicolaFranklin
√ LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/nicolafranklin
√ Book(s): Librarian’s Professional Practice: What They Don’t Teach You on Your Library & Information Masters Course, ISBN 978 1480245624, (forthcoming).

Do you charge for anything on your site?

For candidates/job seekers, I post hints & tips, ideas, advice, etc, up on the site, and those are free content for anyone to use. I also provide for-pay services where I work on a one to one basis with someone (writing their resume, doing a skills audit, reviewing an application form, doing mock interviews, working on career goals, etc).

In terms of my recruitment services, I do not charge candidates/job seekers (I charge employers who engage me to find library staff for them).

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

The feedback page of the site includes comments and feedback from several people who have secured interviews after having resume or application form reviews, or who have found a new role through my services.

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

The best advice I can give is – be positive! Being enthusiastic (about your own skills, about the organisation you’re applying to and about the position itself) is the No 1 best way to make a hirer warm to you and to stand out from other applicants.

If you’ve got questions for Nicola about The Library Career Centre, please go ahead and put’em in the comments section.

If you run a job or career website for librarians (and archivists and info professionals etc. etc.), and you want to share it here, get in touch with me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thanks for reading!

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