November’s Discussion was called “Getting Hired,” about applying and interviewing for library jobs. Librarians who’ve successfully been through the hiring process shared some great advice for those who are currently applying or will be soon.
This first piece of advice is obvious, but important: Apply, a lot! Don’t just apply to a few jobs that sound perfect to you, but apply to any job you might be qualified for. Even if you think you might not be a good fit for the position, more applications means more practice with applying (and potentially with interviewing). It may feel frustrating to have to apply to so many jobs, but it is common to send out many applications, and the more jobs you apply for, the more likely you are to obtain one.
How does one prepare for a job interview? What worked for our discussion participants was carefully reading the job posting and comparing it to their own interests and experiences, as well as creating application materials that match the language of the job ad. This will catch the attention of any automated systems that the institution may use in hiring, as well as the members of the hiring committee.
Beyond analyzing the job posting, get to know the library itself, especially before an interview. Familiarize yourself with the library’s community, resources, databases, etc. You don’t need to become an expert on the library you’re applying to, but you should have an idea of that library’s unique populations and services.
Take Notes and Ask Questions
Once you have an interview, take notes throughout so that you can properly address the questions you’re asked. Come prepared with a few questions about the institution and position, and ask more questions as they come up. Apart from helping you learn more about the job, asking questions during an interview shows that you’re truly interested. Just remember to do your research first, so you don’t ask something that’s clearly answerable with a quick Google search.
Notes on Academia
Much of November’s discussion content came from academic librarians, who shared some insights particular to academia. In academic libraries, interviews are a day-long affair and will almost certainly involve a presentation or a teaching demonstration. Consider taking a look at The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide to Turning Your PhD Into a Job by Karen Kelsky. This book can give you a better idea of what to expect in an academic job