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.
This 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?
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?
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!