Tag Archives: Job Hunt

Would Rather Have Someone Who is Collaborative

OP_82 US Cavalry Hunting for Illicit Stills in SC 1870This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for Less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries and Public libraries at the following levels: Entry level. This new grad/entry level applicant has the following internship/volunteering experience: I’ve had three internships (one currently ongoing), and volunteered at the Bitch Magazine library for a year. This job hunter is in an urban area in Midwestern US and isn’t willing to move.

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

1) Support for professional development
2) A commute under 60 minutes one-way
3) A collaborative staff

Where do you look for open positions?

Greater Chicago Midwest HERC
INALJ
RAILS Job Board
Indeed

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

No (even if I might think it *should* be)

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

I tend to spend a couple of days. I try to have at least two people look over my cover letter and resume (one being a former library employer). If there’s an online form, I keep all of that information in an Excel doc so that I can just copy and paste.

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

Yes

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?

List the salary!

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

Communicate more–I get that it’s difficult to tell someone that they haven’t moved on to the next interview step in a multi-interview process (esp. if their first choices back out and they decide to interview you in a pinch), but it is extremely painful to be told that you were going to hear two weeks ago about the next step and then hear nothing.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Your personality being the right fit for the workplace. With the recession, I think there’s a lot of focus on the idea that libraries can hire the best people–with “best” meaning most degrees, most technical skills, etc. However, my experience has been that the recession has allowed libraries to be more choosy in terms of picking the right personality for their workplace. Yeah, it’s great to get someone in with reference experience who also loves messing with Drupal in their free time, but I think they would rather have someone who is collaborative and willing to learn than a person with a lot of skills and nothing interpersonal to offer. Not that the two are mutually exclusive! I just think that the hiring process has become far more based on person-to-person interactions and whether or not the hiring committee feels like you’d be a good fit long-term at their library.

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

Thanks for putting this together! And in case Emily or Naomi are reading this thank you both SO MUCH for what you do! INALJ is an amazingly comprehensive resource, and I always consult Hiring Librarians to get a feel of the hiring market out there.

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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Filed under Academic, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Public, Urban area

They Know What the Salary Is, so Why Keep it a Secret?

Picnic lunch on a hunting party, Queensland, ca. 1912This anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is currently employed (even if part-time or in an unrelated field), has not been hired within the last two months, and has been looking for a new position for A year to 18 months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Public libraries, and Special libraries, at the following levels: Entry level, Requiring at least two years of experience. This job hunter is in a city/town in the Midwestern US and is willing to move anywhere.

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

A chance to develop what I learned from library school and from previous experience working in libraries.
An environment of respect and mutual encouragement, not stuffy and formal.
A decent wage, appropriate to the cost of living in that geographic area.

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist, USAJobs, indeed.com, university listserv

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

Other:They could at least say what the minimum salary is. Of course they know what it is, so why keep it a secret? If I have to relocate for a job, it needs to be worth it. Why waste everyone’s time by not giving out this information?

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

I have a CV and a resume that I tweak for specific job postings. I have a saved document with references and their contact info. I have a cover letter template that helps me develop a letter that specifically addresses the duties listed in the job posting. I spend about 30-45 minutes, just to make sure I’ve covered everything and corrected any errors (punctuation, spelling, etc.) I also research the organization’s website.

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 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?

Phone for good news, email for bad news

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?

Include the salary in the job posting!!!!!!!!!!

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

Please don’t make applicants wait 4-5 months before they receive any type of communication regarding their applications.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Networking, or just plain luck.

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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Filed under Academic, Archives, City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Public, Special

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.

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

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.

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

The Ability to Understand That One’s Job is Not Done for Some Arcane Purpose

National Archives Staff, 1984This interview is with a librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of hiring committees for an archives with 10-50 staff members.
* This is our first archives interviewer! I added it to the list of choices for institution type a little later than the others, but I’m so happy to see it used. Also, is that correct above when I say “an archives”? That seems like a singular/plural conflict.

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

1. Sanity. (I am not kidding.  What I mean by this is a vast range of things from a common sense to the kind of emotional stability that ensures good workplace interactions. I.e. the ability to understand that one’s job is not done for some arcane purpose–for example, a cataloger doesn’t exist to apply cataloging rules to make cataloging records–but to assist in the broader institutional goals of acquiring and providing access to information)
2. Communication, written, oral, phone, email clarity and etiquette.
3. Technical ability. This includes not just catalog skills, per se, but signs of flexibility and evidence of the ability to learn new technical skills.

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

1) Application demonstrates that applicant did not read job posting carefully.
2) Self-contradictory resume/cover letter.  If “attention to detail” is accompanied by typos.  If “strong written communication skills” is accompanied by unclear cover letter.

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

Only overly long resumes are problematic.  Experience in other fields, unless the skills are obviously transferable, do not have to be enumerated.  If you worked as a receptionist, but you are not expected to answer phones regularly in the job for which you are applying, do not list this detail.  Just say you were a receptionist, where, and the dates. If, however, as a receptionist you organized the appointments of 5 physicians assistants and 3 MDs, then say you did that.  It shows organizational skills.

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

A list of “hard” skills is good– languages, software, acronyms of standards if they don’t appear elsewhere.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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

√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email

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

1) Have questions ready for us.  It shows you prepared and studied the job description.  No job description is full enough.  You must have some questions.  A good one is “can you describe what a workday would be like for this person” “How often do you have staff meetings?”  “How will the person you hire know if they are doing a good job?”
2) Take your time answering questions.  Don’t rush to fill a gap of silence.

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

Covering up for the fact that they padded their resume.  We can always tell.

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

Ugh!  Bulking up the numbers of applicants. You must _always_ send a cover letter that lets us know you are not an application robot and that explains you meet the minimum qualifications for the specific opening.  Since hiring went online, we now get automated applications from people who chose to apply to all openings in a job family or a salary grade. We get 50-75 applicants for each position.  In the past, we got maybe 15-20.  We spend hours sorting out people who don’t even meet the minimum qualifications.   Instead of having to become 3 out of 15, applicants now have to be 3 out of 50.  Without a cover letter that shows you are not a robot, I will not even read your resume.

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

Don’t “spin” on your resume.  Out-and-out lying is of course bad, but I see more deliberate mis-characterization than lying.  For example, if your cataloging experience was not with MARC in an ILS, say so.  Don’t say “catalog” in your skills and “MARC” in your standards.  Say “catalog into a local database”.  Say “used MARC in library school.”  Don’t make me think you regularly did MARC cataloging in an ILS by selectively leaving out critical details.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Archives, Original Survey