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
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?
- 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