Tag Archives: LibraryThing

A Failed Application or Interview is Much Less Painful When You Take a Learning Experience Out of It

Kevin MaloneyFaculty of Information at the University of Toronto. A former student assistant at Southern Ontario Library Service, Mr. Maloney is also an ongoing volunteer at the John M. Kelly Library of St. Michael’s College.  He has been job hunting for a year to 18 months, in academic libraries, library vendor/service providers, public libraries, school libraries, and special libraries, at the following levels: entry level, requiring at least two years of experience, and supervisory. Here is how he describes his experience with internships and volunteering:

I was a student assistant with Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) in July-August 2011. In that capacity, I provided liaison services to First Nations client libraries, took conference minutes, researched and contacted potential partners/sponsors for SOLS events (including SOLS’ annual “First Nation Communities Read” event), examined the SOLS website for technical issues/areas that could use improvement, and rewrote SOLS promotional documents for redistribution to First Nations band leaders. At one point I even got to personally assist in the move of one client library to a new location!

Before my work with SOLS, though, and while I was still in the full swing of my studies at the University of Toronto, I was a volunteer with Hart House Library in 2009-2011, where I sorted books, monitored the collection for future weeding efforts, assisted in the annual collection development process, and helped maintain the library’s LibraryThing catalogue. Though my duties at Hart House were fairly low-key most of the time, I still took a lot out of the experience. Currently, I am volunteering at John M. Kelly Library (St. Michael’s College), where I assist their Technical Services department in adding new acquisitions to their online catalogue. I also work alongside other volunteers in collecting and sorting newly-donated donated materials for the library’s annual book sale.

Mr. Maloney is in a suburban area in Canada, and is willing to move anywhere. You can learn more about him on LinkedIn.

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

1. Relevance to the skills that I have learned and trained for (ie, a job that I know I can do, and do well). This is not to

2. A professional environment that is both accommodating and engaging– a workplace that puts my mind at ease, but at the same time keeps me focused on the task at hand.

3. Having a job within relatively easy travel distance is a nice perk that I do often look for, but it is not a necessary one– I am not adverse to having to travel or relocate for a job.

Where do you look for open positions?

Faculty of Information Jobsite, University of Toronto

ALA Joblist


OLA Partnership Job Board

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?

My routine is as follows:

1. Examine the job posting thoroughly, often examining the company/library website further to see how I could be an asset to this organization.

2. Take an existing cover letter file and, where necessary, use it as a template to reconstruct and re-fit a new cover letter for this position. The amount of modification, of course, varies from position to position.

3. Send all relevant material, and keep my fingers crossed. 

I typically spend maybe 1 hour, tops, on an application packet, though this may vary depending on how urgent the application’s due date is.

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

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)?

√ Meeting department members/potential co-workers

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

-One thing that employers should, I think, practice more frequently is sending email responses. Even if the email is just there to say tell me that haven’t gotten the job, it’s still nice to know that they examined my application.

-Whenever an applicant doesn’t get the job, employers should feel free, when asked, to tell him or her why. A failed application or interview is much less painful when you take a learning experience out of it.

-Where relevant, employers could recommend any other position or organization that they feel the applicant might be interested in, or that they know is looking for candidates with the applicant’s qualifications.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

If I knew, I probably wouldn’t still be searching. 😉 In all honesty, though, I think the best way to get hired is to keep one’s professional profile relevant, up to date, desirable, and made as accessible as possible. For keeping one’s profile relevant, volunteering always helps, and looks great on a resume! Job searchers should also never be afraid to ask for professional feedback from their peers. Other than that, I don’t think there is any “secret” to getting hired other than staying positive and never giving up.

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

I’m just glad that someone finally made a survey like this. It’s great to be able answer questions relevant to my own job search, and I look forward to seeing what other job hunters like myself have to say as well.

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, Canada, Job hunter's survey, Other Organization or Library Type, Public, School, Special, Suburban area