This 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 less than six months. This person is looking in Academic libraries, Archives, Library vendors/service providers, Public libraries, Special libraries, and Government, for positions at the entry level and requiring at least two years of experience. Here is this person’s experience with internships/volunteering:
I interned for about six months with one of the Smithsonian museum archives and over a year interning in the Senate
This job hunter is in an urban area of the Northeastern US,: and is willing to move anywhere.
What are the top three things you’re looking for in a job?
– appreciation for the position. Sometimes, I feel like offices in my sub-field are forced into hiring a librarian or archivist. They don’t appreciate what that person can do for them, and look at them like a weight to carry. I look for any clues I can to see that in an office. That’s not to say I wouldn’t take the job if offered, but I will be mentally and emotionally prepared. On the other hand, if the office hiring is looking for someone to fill a skills gap in their department, or to bring something new, that is a huge plus.
– full-time status, especially if looking at a position that would require relocation. I’m not about to uproot myself for some 20 hour a week temp grant funded position.
– it’s not totally important, but working under a professional librarian or archivist is a plus. I’ve had many amazing supervisors in my last couple positions, but none of them were librarians or archivists and I feel like I missed out on a lot of mentorship opportunities
Where do you look for open positions?
everywhere! I look at ALAjoblist, libgig, archivesgig, Indeed, simplyhired, USA jobs, American Association of Museums, SAA….
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?
it depends on the job. Usually I will write a cover letter from scratch, but not necessarily rewrite my resume. On average an hour or so. Sometimes I’ll work on an application over several days.
Have you ever stretched the truth, exaggerated, or lied on your resume, or at some other point during the hiring process?
√ Other: there is a non-library job I talk about in a way that makes it look like I might have been hired to be a librarian
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
√ Other: Anyone who interviews deserves to be contacted if they are not selected. It is absolutely rude and horrible to not do this.
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
√ Other: meeting the supervisor, the previous position holder (if possible) and some coworkers
What do you think employers should do to get the best candidates to apply?
eliminate those annoying web forms, and do their own initial sorting instead of an HR person. This is particularly true for anyone who uses USAjobs to fill positions. I have never heard of anyone liking that system for selecting qualified applicants. My dad (not a librarian, but an academic working for the government) had to use USAjobs to hire people. It was ineffective that his department eventually posted jobs with instructions to have applicants send materials in to their department secretary in addition to USAjobs. If you are not in control of your selection process, I recommend you fight to gain control.
What should employers do to make the hiring process less painful?
same as above. Also, include dates of position closings and dates of first review.
What do you think is the secret to getting hired?
I have no idea, I wish someone would tell me.
Do you have any comments, or are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey?
How did you get your most recent job (if applicable):
– just applied, nothing out of the ordinary
– recommended through a mentor/professor/former coworker/informational interview
– internship-to-career program (SCEP)
– resume bank/someone found me online
– cold cover letter! (I don’t believe this actually happens, so I would be really curious to see how many folks answer that)
– I created this job! (it did not exist before I somehow convinced someone that they needed it and needed me)
This survey was co-authored by Naomi House from I Need A Library Job – Do you need one? Check it out!