Tag Archives: Library

Job Hunter Follow Up: JJ Pionke

JJ PionkeJJ Pionke took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 4, 2013.

It appeared on March 25, 2013 as Be Specific …and Be Honest.

Your Background

How long has it been since you got your library degree?

About a year and a half.

How many years of library work experience do you have?

1.5 years.

How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?

10 years.

How old are you? 

36

Your Job Hunt

How long did it take you before you found your job?

This is a complicated question. I actually did get a job very quickly out of grad school, did a year there, and then found a better fit job at the end of that year. For the first job, I searched for about 3 months. For the second job, about 2 months.

How many positions did you apply to?

The first job was about 50, my second job was 4.

How many interviews did you go on?

The first job was 4 including skype interviews. The second job was 3.

What was your work situation while you were job hunting?

The first time around I was still adjuncting at a community college and had moved in with Mom and Dad (Thank you!). The second time around, I was still employed while looking.

Were you volunteering anywhere?

No.

Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?

Yes, I traveled for all interviews that were face to face. Either the university paid outright or I was reimbursed.

Did you decline any offers?

No.

Your Job

What’s your new job?

I am an academic librarian at a large research institution.

Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?

Full time, permanent

Did you relocate? If so, who paid?

Yes, I did relocate and they paid.

How did you find the listing for your job?

ALA Joblist

Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?

Most and most. The parts that I didn’t have, I sold as a learning opportunity for me.

What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?

Academic hiring takes a long time, even when it is on the fast track. I sent in all my documentation then waited to hear. Most places do a Skype interview and then fly you out. My current position skipped the Skype and flew me out directly.

How did you prepare for the interview(s)?

Researched everything! I read up on the people that were on the interview team, the university, the library, the students. I wanted to be able to ask insightful questions and not ones that I could have easily found the answer to on Wikipedia.

Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?

Yes, we were grad students together. They were not on the hiring committee and in a completely different department. It was a good connection to have because it gave me some idea of the overall culture of the place.

Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?

Yes.

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?

Higher.

What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?

Selling myself/putting myself out there. It’s tough, especially when I am not used to singing my own praises but in the job hunt you have to acknowledge, in a concise and quick way, all the cool things you have done and why they are cool. It’s not easy. To overcome it, I wrote out multiple drafts of my cover letters, had friends read them, and had discussions about my skills with neutral parties in an effort to really own my accomplishments.

What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?

From what I know, my teaching skills were what got me hired among other things.

State of the Job Market

Any good horror stories for us?

Going out for a meal with some of the search committee and they spent the entire time talking to each other.

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

Mostly positive however, I have seen it as a way to reflect and learn about myself.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

I wouldn’t actually. For academic librarianship, it is about fit in large part because should you get tenure, you could be there for a very long time.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Make yourself stand out! After having been on a hiring committee, cover letters that didn’t just repeat what was in the resume and that stood out for some reason in a positive way were the cover letters that got a second look.

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Job Hunter Follow Up Year Two: Ta-Shiré Tribbett


Ta-Shiré Tribbett took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 31, 2013. Her responses appeared as A Positive Work Environment. We last followed up with her on December 16, 2013.

Your Job

What’s your current work situation?

I’ve just accepted a position as a Knowledge Solutions Analyst with an international law firm.

Is this job the same as you had when we followed up with you last year? If not, please describe briefly how you got this new job.

No. When you spoke with me last year I was a federal contractor, and this position is a direct hire. I was invited to apply by someone within the company who knew I had an MLS degree.

How your job different from what you thought you might do, when you first embarked on your job hunt?

When I started my graduate program, I assumed that I would work in an academic setting because that’s where I have the most experience. I kept my options open, because I know that this is a very tough job market. The Analyst position requires more technical experience as opposed to the soft skills I’m used to using.

Have you had a chance to participate in hiring any LIS workers? Any lessons or observations from the experience?

Yes. Most recently I was looking to hire an (unpaid) intern for my federal library . I really thought we’d be flooded with applications due to the number of people I see online that bemoan their lack of opportunities, are looking for experience, etc. We didn’t get a single application. It just reiterated something I’ve been noticing a lot which is there is a large group of students that think their degree will be all it takes to get a job-which is wholly untrue. You need experience, even for part-time library work. I wouldn’t hire a person for a paid position who has never done practical library experience, period. Most people will never have the opportunity to set foot in a federal library, so why wouldn’t you jump at the chance to intern at one? A lot of internships turn into full-time jobs.

Have you had a chance to negotiate a raise and/or title change? What was that like?

Yes, and it benefitted me greatly. All they can do is say “no”.

Your Perspectives

Was job hunting a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

I was stuck for a while, and was really anxious about landing a job while I was in graduate school, but I’ve been really fortunate to find positions.

Do you have any advice for job hunters and/or library school students?

Be enthusiastic. Show willingness to learn on the job. Be on the lookout all the time for opportunities to enhance your career. You are single-handedly your biggest advocate.

Anything else you want to tell us?

A lot of people are hung up with having the word “librarian” in the job title. Don’t let that word define you. You may end up denying yourself an opportunity to use your skillset in a non-traditional role that’s equally fulfilling.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Ta-Shiré Tribbett

This post originally appeared on December 16, 2013.  A year two follow up with Ms. Tribbett will post shortly.

Ta-Shiré Tribbett took the Job Hunter’s survey on January 31, 2013.  Her responses appeared as A Positive Work Environment.

Your Background

How long has it been since you got your library degree?

It’s been one year.

How many years of library work experience do you have?

over 8

How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?

over 4.

Your Job Hunt

How long did it take you before you found your job?

About 9 months.

How many positions did you apply to?

More than 20!

What was your work situation while you were job hunting?

I was employed.

Were you volunteering anywhere?

Yes, for inalj.com and as an Information Literacy Mentor for iDiversity at UMD.

Did you decline any offers?

I declined the offer to interview for an interlibrary loan position because I didn’t think it would be a good fit.

Your Job

What’s your new job?

I’m the Acquisitions, Marketing and Reference Librarian for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Is your job full or part time? Permanent or temporary?

A 5 year contract, hopefully it will become permanent!

How did you find the listing for your job?

I came across it on my Twitter feed.

What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?

I really think my work experience, along with my cover letter that stated how willing I was to learn clinched the deal. I was really enthusiastic and confident, and I think that helped.

State of the Job Market

What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?

My favorite is “where do you see yourself in 5 years”, and the worst is…..I really don’t have a worst.

Anything else you want to tell us? It’s really hard, but you have to be your biggest advocate. No one is going to fill out applications for you, no one is going to do your networking, and no one is going to say you’re the best for the job like you will. Be honest about your skills and your limitations, and show enthusiasm!

If you took the Job Hunter’s Survey some time in the last year and are interested in doing a follow-up, even anonymously, please contact me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail.

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Job Hunter Follow Up Year Two: Ryan Dreier

Ryan Dreier
Ryan Dreier took the Job Hunter’s survey on December 31, 2012 . His responses appeared as Appeal to Library Schools. We then followed up with him on January 22nd, 2014.

Your Job

What’s your current work situation? 

I work as a Page and Volunteer Coordinator at a public library.

Did you relocate for your job? If so, who paid?

Yes, though I moved in with my partner so there was little relocation costs. I paid for the cost.

How did you find the listing for your job?

I believe that I found the listing on inalj.com.

Did you meet all of the required qualifications? How many of the desired qualifications?

Yes, I met all the required qualifications. The only desired qualification that I didn’t meet was having previous work experience in a library setting.

What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?

I had one interview with three current staff members.

How did you prepare for the interview(s)?

I prepared for a few hours, I was nervous about specific questions regarding library automation systems which I had little experience with.

Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?

I didn’t know anyone!

Is your job commensurate with your skills, experience and expectations?

Yes.

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?

About what I was looking for. It was a full time position with benefits, so that influenced my decision to take the position.

What do you think was the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How did you overcome it?

Getting the experience in a library. I overcame this obstacle because I had a lot of experience working with and managing volunteers. A component of the position that the library was really looking to strengthen.

What set you apart from the other applicants? Why did they hire you?

I think it was my experience working for a non-profit and the large base of volunteers in which I was able to successfully manage. I also had recently acquired my MLIS.

Your Job Hunt

How long did it take to find your job?

After getting my MLIS it took me two and a half months. However, my current position is a paraprofessional position that does not require the degree.

How many positions did you apply to?

After completing my proficiency exam to get my MLIS, I probably applied to roughly 12 different positions, both full and part time.

How many interviews did you go on?

One.

What was your work situation while you were job hunting?

I worked full time at a large non-profit. I was responsible for special events and volunteer services at that organization.

Were you volunteering anywhere?

I volunteered the summer of 2009 at a public library. I has also recently completed a 150 hour internship at an academic library.

Did you travel for interviews? If so, who paid?

It was within driving distance, but I paid.

Did you decline any offers?

No.

State of the Job Market

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?

I was fortunate to secure a job shortly after gaining my MLIS, so nothing really stands out.

What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?

The general questions about a time in which I worked on a project? I liked this question because I had sooo many examples from my previous position. So in a certain way this question really helped to boost my confidence in the interview. My least favorite was “Why should I hire you?” I think that like between confidence and arrogance can get pretty thin, and it’s also awkward tooting your horn over applicants you know nothing about.

Any good horror stories for us?

While I was still in school getting my Master’s degree I had an interview for a position as an Adult Services Librarian in which they asked me to demonstrate how to download an e-book to a nook. The nook died. So then they gave me a kindle. I have the kindle app installed on my iPhone so when I went to log in to my account and download a book, the title downloaded to my phone, which I left in my car so it wouldn’t be a distraction. Fail!

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

It was good, but only after getting invited to interview. I remember being frustrated in applying for jobs that I felt overqualified for, and nevering getting a call to interview..

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

I’m not sure that I would, but I got hired despite not knowing anyone who works at the library, so it’s all a mystery to me.

What’s your ideal work situation?

I think ideally I would like to work as either a Teen Librarian or in an academic library as an ILL Librarian.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Hmmm, I think my appeal to my current position was the fact that it would provide me with an opportunity to gain experience working in a library setting. I hope to advance into a professional position at some point.

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Job Hunter Follow Up: Ryan Dreier

This originally posted on January 22, 2014. A year two follow up will post in just a few moments.
Ryan DreierRyan Dreier took the Job Hunter’s survey on December 31, 2012 .  His responses appeared as Appeal to Library Schools.

Your Background

How long has it been since you got your library degree?

Zero, I will obtain in May 2014

How many years of library work experience do you have?

Zero, some volunteer experience. I have an internship at an academic library lined up for Spring Semester.

How many years of work experience outside of libraries do you have?

Eight, four years for a large non-profit working in volunteer services, four years providing personal care to individuals with developmental disabilities.

How old are you?

Turned 30 this year.

What’s your current work situation?

In school on a part time basis, employed full time.

Are you volunteering anywhere?

Not currently

Your Job Hunt

How long have you been job hunting at this point?

18 months

What kinds of jobs are you currently applying for?

Library jobs, preferably academic. Looking to relocate to the Chicago area.

Approximately how many positions have you applied to?

Honestly, not many 6 to 10, not all of them with libraries.

Approximately how many interviews have you gone on?

Two, one in person, one phone

How do you prepare for interviews?

I’ll review 101 Great Answers to Interview Questions. I’m try to remain relaxed, I get so anxious that I have a hard time communicating and answer interview questions. Sometimes I’ll do a google search and read through indeed articles.

Have you traveled for interviews? If so, who paid?

Yes, I did.

Have you declined any offers?

No

What do you think is the biggest obstacle in your job hunt? How are you working to overcome it?

1. Not having any experience
2. Really looking for a full time position, but I have applied for part time positions

State of the Job Market

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?

Basically the job announcement talked about a retirement at the library which was the reason for the opening and that the applicant would have big shoes to fill, they would also need how to say no?

What was your favorite interview question? What was the worst?

Least favorite: Why should we hire you?

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

Hmmmm, I struggle with this. I’m trying to stay positive. I been fortunate to have some calls without actually completing my degree this spring, so I’m hoping that I’ll be presented with more opportunities at that point.

Would you change your answer to “what’s the secret to getting hired”?

I don’t think I would change it, though I would add that it’s important to stay positive and keep trying.

If you took the Job Hunter’s Survey some time in the last year and are interested in doing a follow-up, even anonymously, please contact me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail.

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Appeal to Library Schools

This post originally appeared on February 10, 2013. I will post a year two follow-up with Ryan in just a few moments.
Ryan DreierRyan Dreier is currently the Volunteer Director at The Salvation Army of Brown County, where over 3,000 volunteers have logged at least one hour of service in 2012! He also works at FedEx Office as a “Generalist.” A librarian in the making, Mr. Dreier will finish his MLIS at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee this year. He has been job hunting for a year to 18 months in academic and public libraries, at the entry level. Of his internship/volunteering experience, he says:

Graduating by the end of summer, have done some volunteer work, no formal internship as I work two jobs to put myself through school without debt

He is in a city/town, in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move within an eight hour drive from home. You can follow him on Twitter @ryonlibraryon. Ryan also says:

Green Bay, WI–GO PACKERS!!!!

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

An opportunity to learn and grow
A position to use my experiences to grow programs
The opportunity to serve the community and share and disseminate information

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA Joblist

Libgig

Wisconsin Valley Job Posting Boards

inalj.com

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 usually include my resume, transcript, references, cover letter, and that’s on top of the job application requested by the potential employer

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

√ Other: Sometimes I feel like its a matter of interpretation on skill assessment surveys

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

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
√ Other: Commutation of expectations and vision of that specific library

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

Appeal to library schools, and post openings

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

Provide feedback on what you could do to improve when requested

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

I think the secret is that you have to know someone or that full time positions are being filled by paraprofessionals or professionals that are on staff but only working part time, leaving little room to get in.

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 Follow Up Year Two: Lauren Read

Lauren ReadLauren Read took the Job Hunter’s survey on December 29, 2012. Her responses appeared as Be Transparent as to Whether You Are Forward-Thinking & Innovative. We last followed up with her on January 29, 2014.

Your Job

What’s your current work situation?

I am a full-time reference librarian for Beaufort County (SC) Library System.

Did you relocate for your job? If so, who paid?

I did follow the job to my new island home (at my expense).

How did you find the listing for your job?

The county was in my long list of public libraries to check periodically for vacancies on their websites.

What was the application process like? How many interviews did you do?

I sent my application, cover letter, and resume to the county government. I was invited to interview (via phone) a few weeks later, received a friendly selection call about a week later, then sent to do a pre-employment screening some time after that.

Did you know anyone in the organization that hired you? If so, how?

Not a soul in the organization — or even the state!

Is the pay scale higher or lower than you were looking for?

It is lower than the starting salary advocated by the American Library Association, but I am satisfied with that for now.

Your Job Hunt

How long did it take to find your job?

5 years

How many positions did you apply to?

about 100 annually

How many interviews did you go on?

I think the fact that I got 4 per year at first but 12 the final year speaks to the economy more than my aptitude.

What was your work situation while you were job hunting?

Over those years, I held mostly individual part-time jobs, working for a coffee shop, a temp agency, a digital marketing firm, a start-up entrepreneur/journalist/activist, and an acupuncture college.

State of the Job Market

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve seen on a job announcement?

I [grumble grumble] those announcements for which the decision-makers apparently do not realize the professional standards of the title “librarian” being reserved for ML(I)S holders.

Has job hunting been a positive or negative experience, for the most part?

A long road though it may have been — I believe due to circumstances not of my own fault — it was a great exercise in steadfastness.

What’s your ideal work situation?

Well, I now have a full-time, professional position in a public library in which I serve adults through reference services, programming, and collection development, so I have achieved the ideal for me! In several years’ time, I will seek opportunities to advance my career.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Now that I am settled with gainful employment, my husband and I have welcomed a pair of library lions — I mean, cats — into our home: Patience and Fortitude.

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