Tag Archives: University of Michigan

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!

Leave a comment

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

Be Specific … and Be Honest

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!

Leave a comment

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

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Library Job Postings on the Internet

This week on the Job Hunter’s Web Guide we’ll take a look at a site that’s 17 years old!  If the site was a high school student, it would be driving and getting ready to graduate.  I’m excited to present Sarah Johnson’s excellent site, Library Job Postings on the Internet.

Lib Post on the Internet

What is your website all about? Please give us your elevator speech!

Library Job Postings is a meta-index that links to library employment sites – over 400 of them in all, from around the world. Included are state and regional library joblines, recruitment and temporary placement firms, library school job bulletins, association sites, and so forth.

When was it started? Why was it started?

I started it in May 1995, when I was working as a student assistant at the University of Michigan’s library science library. There weren’t any other sites like it out there, and this was a time when library job ads first started appearing on mailing lists and on the web. I used it to find my first librarian job, and many of the people from my graduating class found it and started using it, too.

Who runs it?

Just me – Sarah Johnson. It’s been online for over 17 years. I’m now a reference & electronic resources librarian at Booth Library, Eastern Illinois University, which is my 2nd job after library school.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

While I don’t have formal training in career services, I’ve used my experience running the site to write articles, book chapters, and even a book about library careers. I used to host a related service that posted library job ads (rather than just linking to them) and had a number of productive conversations with employers about the qualifications they sought in the librarians they hired, so I was able to advise librarians on that score. At work, I’ve chaired and served on many search committees, so I’ve had the chance to see the hiring process from the opposite side. I enjoy going through submitted resumes and seeing what individual librarians might be able to contribute to open positions. I’ve also evaluated many librarians’ resumes for NMRT’s resume review service.

Who is your target audience?

Anyone seeking to find a job in a library or in the information field in general.

What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

Many of the sites I link to are updated daily, like the ALA JobLIST and the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s listings. Anyone actively looking for a job is going to want to be paying close attention to what’s out there, so a daily browse through relevant sites may be useful to them. Other sites are updated less frequently. What I’d recommend is that people make note of the most useful sites for their job search and visit those sites on a regular basis. Not everything’s going to be relevant for everyone, especially for users targeting a specific geographic area, but I’d recommend going through all types of sites that might fit, from job listings put out by individual libraries through sites with a wider focus.

Does your site provide:

Job Listings    Links    √ Other: Descriptions of what each site can offer, who the sponsor is, and how often it’s updated.

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?

n/a

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No, the site is free of charge.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

Although most don’t go into detail about their experiences, I’ve received many notes over the years from librarians who found a job through the site — so I know it’s worked!

Sarah JohnsonAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Job seekers don’t need me to tell them that it’s a tough market these days. There’s a lot of competition for the most desirable positions and in the most desirable areas of the country, but the same advice holds true regardless of where your site’s readers may be applying. I’d strongly recommend that librarians have someone (such as a mentor, colleague, or ALA New Members Round Table reviewer) look over their resume and cover letter in detail — to make sure they’re tailored closely to the job in question and are free of errors. Also, while they’re using the web to locate job ads, they should also use it to research the library where they’re applying in order to learn more about the organization. It demonstrates interest in the job, and the more they know in advance, the more closely they’ll be able to tailor their applications — and the better questions they’ll be able to ask at the interview.

If you’ve got questions for Sarah about Library Job Postings on the Internet, please go ahead and put’em in the comments section.

If you run a job or career website for librarians (and archivists and info professionals etc. etc.), and you want to share it here, get in touch with me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thanks for reading!

*Edited 4/27/2012 to fix typo

1 Comment

Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide

Guest Post: Recapping OpenCoverLetters LIVE!

Have you visited OpenCoverLetters?  This site, run by Stephen X. Flynn, presents anonymous cover letters from hired librarians, allowing job hunters to learn from their peers’ examples.  Flynn paired up with Emily Thompson, host of LiTTech, to recreate this resource in real time, face to face, with live persons.  They graciously agreed to recap the experience for today’s guest post.  Please enjoy!


On the June 24 we had the exciting opportunity to present “OpenCoverLetters LIVE!: Writing a Cover Letter that Will Get You Noticed” an interactive workshop on cover letter writing at ALA Annual 2012. This is our summary of what we did, what we learned and what we hope to do next.

What We Prepared:

We prepared a 45 minute presentation and interactive workshop. To facilitate audience participation, we created a traditional packet with a worksheet and 3 example cover letters from OpenCoverLetters.com and 2 current job ads. For the majority our time, we led attendees through reflective practice exercises, asking the following questions:

• What makes a successful cover letter sing?
• What are the keywords you should look for in a job application?
• What are qualities of the ideal candidate for a given job?
• What are 5 things that make you awesome?

 

We deliberately blocked out time after the session to allow for individual consultations and conversations.

Why We Did It:

A year ago, we were in the same boat as attendees: applying for dozens of jobs and thus writing dozens of cover letters. We wanted to provide the kind of support and tangible advice to current job-seekers that we would have found useful at the ALA we attended.

Networking is something people usually associate with job seekers, but as hired librarians, we are similarly interested in networking with other librarians, current and future. This workshop provided us an opportunity to meet library job seekers, especially those who had used Open Cover Letters.

As new librarians we also wanted the experience of presenting at a national conference. Now having gone through the cycle of submission, preparation, execution, and post-reflection, we will be even more prepared for future conference presentations, that especially in Emily’s case, will be required for promotion and tenure.

What We Learned:

It’s really hard for people to admit that they’re awesome – including the presenters. We asked everyone to put down five things, but most could only come up with two or three.

If you do a workshop for job seekers, hiring managers might show up and provide valuable discussion points. They added clarification and insight that new librarians like us could easily miss. It also felt great when the comments were more “Yes, and  . . . .” than “You guys are wrong.”

Workshops don’t record well. We wanted to have an audio recording, but since most of the time was spent with smaller groups buzzing in conversation, it’s not very listenable.

Sometimes you don’t need slides in a workshop. We could have just used Poll Everywhere and been good. We had to keep running up to change the slide. It would have been better to just have a space for the attendees to post comments.
Don’t forget to give out your business cards. We had them on the table in front, but we both got so into the workshop that we forgot to invite people to take them.

What We’re Planning for the Future:

At the end of the session we conducted an informal and anonymous assessment. Our most frequent suggestion was for more time: 45 minutes simply flew by. We are exploring ways to expand our workshop to a larger and more diverse audience, and for a longer period of time. We want to give attendees a chance to delve into the process more meaningfully and hone their cover letter writing skills.


Emily Thompson was born in Helena, MT and worked as a costume designer in Texas and an  English teacher in South Korea and Taiwan before she became a librarian. After getting her MSI at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2011, she started as the Learning Technologies Librarian at SUNY Oswego. Now she spends her day exploring apps, researching gadgets, and teaching students how to get the most out of their studies. She also can’t believe she gets paid for such a great job! Her podcast, LiTTech posts every Wednesday at EdReach.us (and you can also find it on iTunes and Stitcher).  You can contact Emily at emily.thompson@oswego.edu or on Twitter at @librarianofdoom.

 

Stephen X. Flynn is the Emerging Technologies Librarian at The College of Wooster.  He founded Open Cover Letters following his own (successful) job search, in order to provide job hunters with something other than generic examples.  The innovative site landed him a place as one of Library Journal’s 2012 Movers & Shakers.  Flynn also earned his MSI at the University of Michigan, where he specialized in Library and Information Studies and Information Policy.  In addition to Open Cover Letters (on Twitter at @OpenCoverLetter), he blogs at sxflynn.net and tweets at @sxflynn. You can also contact him at sflynn@wooster.edu.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Posts