Tag Archives: Midwestern United States

Check Out the Library/Institution (and the City) on Wikipedia

This post originally appeared on February 20, 2013. A follow up with Mr. Miessler will post in just a few moments.
RC MiesslerR.C. Miessler is a recent graduate of Indiana University, Indianapolis (MLS, 2012); previously he graduated from Christian Theological Seminary with an Master of Theological Studies degree (2010) and received his BA from Franklin College (2002). When not filling out job applications, he works as technical support specialist for a small helpdesk and volunteers at a seminary library. Mr. Miessler has been job hunting for six months to a year, looking in academic libraries at the entry level. Here is how he describes his experience with internships/volunteering:

My internship was at a small theological seminary, where I spent a lot of time in public services and cataloging. I am still volunteering on a part-time basis in order to continue to grow professionally and strengthen my CV.

Mr. Miessler is in an urban area of the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere. His professional interests are in reference and instruction in theology and religion, open access publishing, information-seeking behavior, and video games in the library; in his free time he enjoys writing fiction and cooking. You can follow him on Twitter (@iconodule), or find him on LinkedIn.

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

1. Proper fit – do my career goals and previous education/experience match the requirements and duties?

2. Development – will this library/institution further my professional and personal development?

3. Geographic proximity – is the job located close to friends and family?

Where do you look for open positions?

National library job sites (ALA JobList, ARL Job Announcements, etc.)

Regional job sites (OhioNET, RAILS, etc.)

Individual library/institution sites

General career sites (careerbuilder.com, indeed.com)

Job blogs (INALJ, SLIS Jobs)


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?

Review the job posting, visit the library/institution webpage and review mission/vision statements, check out the library/institution (and the city) on Wikipedia, customize resume/CV, customize references, customize cover letter, complete online application … this generally takes about 1-2 hours per application

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?

Provide clear job descriptions with open and close dates and make sure that the qualifications (required and desired) are specific. Provide salary ranges and benefits in job descriptions.

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

Communication … let applicants know where they are in the process, even if it is just a form email/letter. If a “desired” qualification is really going to be a “required” qualification except for a very few exceptions, just make it a required so we can know if we should spend time on the application. Note entry level jobs as such. When jobs are closed, remove them from the websites … it’s a horrible feeling to spent time working on an application just to find that they’ve already filled the position.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Networking and knowing the right people. It’s hard to get recognized on merit/education/experience alone …

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, Urban area

Be Specific … and Be Honest

This post originally appeared on March 25, 2013. A follow up with JJ Pionke will appear shortly.

JJ Pionke

JJ Pionke is currently a graduate student in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. She is looking forward to being an academic librarian, and has spent less than six months looking for a position in an Academic library, for positions requiring at least two years of experience. Here is how she describes her internship/volunteering experience:

I have 10 years of teaching experience, changing careers, 2 overseas internships in information literacy and cataloging, 4 semesters as a TA, 1 internship building an online and physical exhibit.

Ms. Pionke is in a city/town in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere. In her spare time, she rides a motorcycle, plays video games, and of course, reads a wide range of material including science fiction and Victorian poetry. You can find her at jjpionke.com.

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

job fit, salary, flexibility

Where do you look for open positions?

INALJ, ALA Joblist

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

√ Other: I prefer to see a salary listed but it’s not necessarily a red flag if it is not.

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

My first packet took about a day because I didn’t have anything put together. Now that I have everything organized, I probably spend a few hours on each packet with proofreading and updating any information.

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

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

Be specific in what they are looking for and be honest. Example: if there has been a round of retirements as a cost saving measure, knowing that would be useful.

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

Be more communicative and be explicit in what they are and are not looking for.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

How well you fit with what they are looking for.

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

Ultimately, I think getting hired is a confluence of things, including fit. The job market can be an intimidating place but staying positive, keeping skills sharp, and continuing education while you look, are the keys to finding a job that will make everyone happy.

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

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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Filed under City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

Security, Wage, Satisfaction

Sylvia BlySylvia Bly graduated from Wayne State University in 2012 with a MLIS and a Certificate in Records Information Management. She is currently employed by Deloitte LP as an intern in their Records Information Management area.  She says:

The internship has been a wonderful experience. I have learned a great deal of information relating to the records environment, and am eager to continue in my career.

She has been job hunting for more than 18 months, at Library vendors/service providers, Public and Special libraries, and in Records, for positions at the level of requiring at least two years of experience. Ms. Bly is in a city/town in the Midwestern US, and is willing to move anywhere. She belongs to ALA and SLA as well as ARMA.  You can contact her via LinkedIn.

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

Security
Wage
Satisfaction

Where do you look for open positions?

Careerbuilder
Monster
ALA Joblist
various listservs
LinkedIn
Indeed.com

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?

Depends on what the job position is asking for.  Anywhere from 15 to 30 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?

√ Phone

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

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 City/town, Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US

Playing with jewelry and clothes during the interview is definitely problematic

me in my interview clothes by Flickr user antmooseThis anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members in a Suburban area in the Midwestern US.

What Candidates Should Wear

Should the candidate wear a suit to the interview?

√ Probably not (but it’s ok if the candidate does wear one)

An outfit with a coordinated blazer and trousers:

√ I do not know and/or care

Bare arms are inappropriate in an interview, even in the summer.

√ False

If a woman wears a skirt to an interview, should she also wear pantyhose?

√ No, but it’s not a dealbreaker

Women should wear make-up to an interview:

√ Other: I don’t care, but if it is distracting people will be looking at it rather than listening to the candidate.

Is there anything a candidate might wear that would cause them to be instantly out of the running? If you have any funny stories about horrifying interview outfits, we’d love to hear them.

I think there should be a certain level of professionalism. No ratty jeans, no t-shirts, no guys pants that show off their boxers, but I haven’t seen any of these in interviews here.

Do you expect different levels of formality of dress, depending on the position you’re hiring for?

√ No

Which jewelry may candidates wear: 

√ Single, simple necklace, bracelet, and/or ring
√ A few simple necklaces, bracelets, and/or rings
√ All of the simple necklaces, bracelets, and rings he or she can load on
√ Arty or more elaborate necklaces, bracelets, or rings
√ Nose Ring (nostril)
√ Eyebrow Ring, Monroe piercing, septum piercing, or other face piercing
√ Earrings
√ Multiple Ear Piercings
√ Large gauge ear jewelry (stretched ears)

Which hair colors are acceptable for candidates:

√ All of them, even pink

The way a candidate dresses should:

√ I don’t really care how a candidate dresses

How does what a candidate wears affect your hiring decision?

If what they wear is too distracting, it can cause people to ignore what the candidate is saying. Also, whatever you wear, be confident and comfortable in it. Playing with jewelry and clothes during the interview is definitely problematic.

What This Library Wears

How do you dress when you are going to conduct an interview?

Nice slacks and a dress blouse or a suit.

On a scale of one (too dressed up for my workplace) to five (too casual), khakis and a polo shirt are:

3

What’s the dress code at your library/organization?

√ Other: We don’t have one

Librarians at your organization wear: (Please check all that apply)

√ Other: Name tags for special occasions such as new student orientation.

This survey was co-authored by Jill of Librarian Hire Fashion – submit your interview outfit to her blog!

Photo: me in my interview clothes by Flickr user antmoose via Creative Commons License

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Midwestern US, Suburban area, What Should Candidates Wear?

Treat both the position and applicants as professionals

digres hunting lodgeThis anonymous interview is with a job hunter who is not 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: Requiring at least two years of experience, Supervisory, Department Head, Senior Librarian, and Special Librarian.  This job hunter is in an urban area of the Midwestern US, and when asked if willing to move, said:

After relocating for a spouse’s job, relocating for mine would not make sense.

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

Intellectually interesting
A genuine way to make a difference to users
A good place/institution and group of people to work for and with

Where do you look for open positions?

ALA, SAA, SLA, LinkedIn, regional library job boards, INALJ digest, Indeed, Archives Gig, and specific area employers whose jobs don’t make it to any of the above

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

√ Other: I expect it and while its not a red flag, it does give me pause when an employer doesn’t list it, especially if the employer is large.

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

The cover letter (business format) is the piece that takes the longest every time since it is customized. My resume/CV usually stays pretty consistent from packet to packet unless I see the need to alter it to emphasize skills the employer is looking for.

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 follow-up after an interview
√ Once the position has been filled, even if it’s not me
√ Other:  I only expect selection-stage contact if the applicant pool is large.

How do you prefer to communicate with potential employers?

√ Other: All of the above is fine; whatever works for the employer.

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
√ Being able to present

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

Be honest and upfront. Say what the salary range is from the get-go. Treat both the position and applicants as professionals. Treating a job as a para-professional position when you clearly require professional (and mid-career professional at that) qualifications is unfair and disrespectful to applicants and the institution in the long run since it won’t be able to attract the top candidates.

If you are an academic institution, don’t automatically discount someone who hasn’t spent their entire career in academia.

What do you think is the secret to getting hired?

Who knows. If I knew that, I’d be a millionaire.

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 Job hunter's survey, Midwestern US, Urban area

Hired Librarians: A Strong Sense of Who I Was and What I Wanted to Do

Here is our next installment in the feature Hired Librarians, where I interview a successful candidate and the librarian that hired her.  This post features Recent Hire, Youth Librarian Brooke Rasche, and Hiring Librarian Marge Loch-Wouters, who is  the Youth Services Coordinator at La Crosse Public Library and a regular contributor to Further Questions.  

La Crosse Public Library

La Crosse Public Library is in the Midwest, and has 85 staff members.


The Successful Candidate: Brooke Rasche

Brooke Rasche

Where are you in your career? When did you graduate, and how many years of experience do you have?

I am still very new to the library world. I graduated in 2011 from Indiana University. I had a job offer before I completed my degree and moved to Virginia right after I graduated. I worked as a Children’s Librarian for about 10 months before I was promoted to Children’s Coordinator for the library system. Then, I applied and was chosen for this job in early 2013.

Why did this job pique your interest?

I was very homesick and really wanted relocate back to the Midwest. However, I also wanted to make sure that I was going into a library where I really fit and I didn’t just apply for everything out there. I wanted to find a library that shared my vision and passions for youth services. This job fit every aspect I was looking for.

How many pages was your resume? Cover letter?

Then were both one page.

What research did you do before submitting your application?

When I was in graduate school I took the “apply to everything” approach. While this worked in my favor and I found a job, I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. I looked at information about the city and the surrounding area. I made sure I could afford to live in the city with the salary they were offering. I checked the library website and looked at every department’s page. I also went through probably years of blog posts on both Marge’s blog and another coworker’s blog Sarah Bryce. Librarians are very honest in their blogs and I wanted to make sure I had a good feel for the work culture before I threw my hat in the ring.

What did you wear?

I wore a black skirt suit and heels. I would always prefer to be overdressed than under, so I was happy with my decision.

Can you describe your process in preparing for the interview?

The interview process was a long one– about 3 months from start to finish. So I was very invested in getting this job by the time the in-person interview happened. I was also traveling over 1000 miles on my dime, so I wanted to give myself the best possible chance I could.

I went through Marge’s blog and read as much as I could about the library and her philosophies. It was also a great opportunity for me to find out things that really mattered to Marge as a manager and as a youth services advocate. I also went though Sara Bryce’s blog and found out about all of the programs that were being done for school age children. I wanted to make sure I went into the interview with knowledge about the programming being offered for all ages.

Then, I made a portfolio that highlighted some of my previous library work. I also included 4 sample programs I thought would be successful with their service population. Since I was only going to be in front of the hiring committee for an hour, I wanted to make sure they left with a strong sense of who I was and what I wanted to do.

What questions did you ask?

I asked questions about the community and library culture.

I also asked “What is your favorite thing about this library? What is the most challenging thing about working in this library?” This question is one of the easiest ways to find out how the hiring committee really feels about their job.

Why do you think you were hired? What set you apart from other candidates?

I think it was my passion and overall flexibility. I was willing to move 1,000 miles and told them specific reasons why. I am very open to change and new experiences and I think it really came through in my interview.

Plus, I am a very outgoing person. I know it is hard for people who are more introverted, but you have to be as outgoing as possible in your interview, especially if you are looking to work with children. The hiring committee is looking for someone to represent their specific department and the library as a whole, so you need to prove that you are going to be a good choice for them.

Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why you were chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?

Do some research before you apply to every library job you see. Five minutes of googling the library/area could save you an hour of applying for a job you wouldn’t take anyway.

Also, if you are applying for a job that would require you to move- acknowledge it in the cover letter! I have moved over 1,000 miles for both of my professional jobs. I believe I made it past the initial review round because I specifically stated in the cover letter that I was looking to relocate to their area.

The Hiring Librarian: Marge Loch-Wouters

Marge Loch Wouters

What stood out in this applicant’s cover letter?

Brooke highlighted information that specifically related to our posting; she answered the playfulness of our ad with playfulness in her response and her cover letter didn’t repeat what was in the resume but rather added depth and clarity to that document. She also explained why she would be willing to move halfway across the country to work for us.

Did she meet all of the required qualifications listed in the job ad? How many of the desired qualifications did she meet?

Brooke hit every qualification. In addition to that, she brought some strength in other areas that indicated to me that she would be bringing us even more than we asked for in our ad.

In comparison to the rest of the pool, did the applicant have more, less, or about the same years of experience? 

She had one year of experience. This put her slightly ahead of the new grads but we had people with more experience also throwing their hats in the ring. I would say her experience put her at the slightly “ less” end of the spectrum.

What was the interview process like?

After our initial closing date we had 76 applicants,. We selected the top 20 to choose two of three essay questions to answer. From that pool, we selected 10 finalists for a Skype interview. After that step we decided on our final four to invite in for an interview with our panel. At that interview, the candidate answered questions, and had a tour of the department.

It took about three months.

What stood out in this applicant’s interview?

Brooke had researched the community; made a cogent case on why she would re-locate; blew us away with her command of the issues and knowledge about the service population; and laughed and talked easily. Since time with the public is such an important part of the job that really put her over the top.

Were there any flags or questions you had about this person’s abilities, and how did they resolve them?

No

Is there anything else you want to tell my readers about why this candidate was chosen? Or any general job hunting advice you want to dispense?

We had an extremely strong field of candidates. Brooke was able to “play’ in response to our playful ad and make the case that she had the experience we were looking for. She came to the interview prepared and articulate with a binder full of examples of her work that related to our job (and not just a collection of everything but just what was germane to our needs).


If you’re part of a recent hiree/hiring manager pair who’d be willing to be interviewed for this feature, please contact me.  Or please pass along this request!
Thanks so much to Elisabeth Doucett for suggesting this series. Check out her blog, The Irreverent Librarian

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, City/town, Hired Librarians, Midwestern US, Public, Youth Services