Instant Ideas and Collaboration

Summary: Thursday 22nd Sept 2011. LIS jobs and careers

1.What is your recent experience of job hunting? How harsh is the job market at the moment?
  • Pretty tough at the moment
  • Hard to get interviews
  • Told that they lacked experience
  • 27 applicants for a PT time job, 90 applicants for a FT job. And 600 for a library assistant job at Enfield Council
  • Academic libraries particularly difficult
  • Disheartening and disappointing when you’ve put effort into application and knew the post was at your level
  • Harder since cuts imposed by government. Redundancies have meant you are competing with experienced librarians
  • Took 2 years to get full-time job, and it’s only temporary for 1 year
2. Is this likely to change in the future?
  • Will get worse in the future, particularly in HE libraries
  • More non-traditional jobs e.g knowledge management, web-based stuff
  • These new roles make it differ from previous recessions
  • Worried about short-term job market, but not long-term
  • If you talk to old (sorry, experienced) professionals they will tell you we have got through previous recessions and cuts – gives you hope!
  • You have to act to make things better in a recession (so go for it!)
3. Which websites, email lists, twitter accounts etc. have you found useful for job hunting?

4. Have you made use of a recruitment agency, and if so, did you find it useful?
  • Know someone who found library assistant work through an agency
  • Agency job lists often have jobs not advertised elsewhere
  • One agency gave CV advice and job hunting phone consultation
  • TFPL, Sue Hill and The Library Career Centre
5. What are the new & alternative working areas for the librarians?
  • Using IT to manage information
  • Knowledge management
  • Website management
6. Have you got any tips for success at the application stage?
  • Make it as easy as possible for the shortlister to tick off the person specification points as they read your application
  • As a recruiter in the HE sector – match your supporting statement explicitly to the person specification for the job
  • Remember the importance of the job description as well as the person specification
  • Use enthusiastic language
  • Find out as much as possible about issues relating to that sector

7. Have you got any tips for success at interview?

  • It is impossible to over-prepare
  • Be cautious about using student-based examples – try to use work ones
  • Some examples from studying can be useful e.g. teamwork examples
  • Non-library work examples can be good as well – but depends on the sector/job
  • Use solid, real-life examples
  • Aim to get full marks on each question, even “easy” ones
  • Do loads of research e.g. on the library collections
  • Ask how the interview will be conducted beforehand
  • Ask questions e.g. how will they assess my progress in the company?
  • Expect the unexpected e.g. “what do you (not) like about your current library? (Prepare diplomatic answers!)
  • You can’t underestimate importance of rapport with the interviewer
  • Smile!
8. What do you wish you had done in your last job to help you get your next one?
  • Need to collect evidence of work, as well as actually doing it
  • Compiling a list of training done is useful
  • Answer is also advice to new graduate trainees : get involved in everything you can, and never be afraid to ask
  • More shadowing and more involved with certain tasks
9. Is it easy to climb the LIS career ladder?
  • No
  • Often difficult to climb ladder at same institution – though dependent on sector
  • “Kill as you climb” approach of some doesn’t help
  • Analogy with Snakes and Ladders
  • Hard to get first professional post
  • Need to fight for it
  • Depends on size of team
  • Being flexible about where you live makes it easier (depends of career is your priority)
  • Developing skills/expertise does not seem to have been successful so far
  • Already thinking about next round of job hunting for when fixed-term job ends

Other questions/topics that came up during the chat:

What helped you get your current job?
  •  A very niche area of librarianship, so they were prepared to accept someone without direct experience of that particular sector
  • Relaxed in interview as I didn’t think I’d get it!
How many applications did you do before you got a job?
  • 20 – offered 3 external interviews, 1 internal
  • 12 – offered 1 interview
Is it useful to do IT  courses?
  • MS Office etc skills usually enough (unless tech-oriented job) Willingness to learn is more important. “Recruit for attitude, train for skills”
  • It was suggested that joining local professional committees is useful, along with networking.
Next #uklibchat is on CPD23

One comment on “Summary: Thursday 22nd Sept 2011. LIS jobs and careers

  1. Pingback: [23 Things] Thing 21: Job applications and interviews « Her Slant, Finely

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This entry was posted on October 5, 2011 by in Discussion Summaries and tagged , , , , , .


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