Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What do employers want?

A view of the stacks

Recently, I attended a discussion panel of local library employers. (Although I am committed to being an archivist, I find some library-related career advice helpful). Representatives from academic, public, and special libraries answered questions about what they are looking for in new hires and what skills are in demand in today’s library job market.

Most of the advice was obvious, but some statements stood out for me:

Trust the process: take direction from the job description and be patient.

The best time to apply for jobs is in the middle of the academic semester, especially for public libraries. New library science graduates apply at the end of the semester which creates a glut of talent. It's easier to stand out when the hiring pipeline has been cleared.

Treat the receptionist well. (Conversely, how the receptionist treats you as an interviewee says a lot about an employer too).

Icebreakers are important because it shows how you interact with others. Are you someone that they want to have morning coffee with?

Even more recently, on the advice of my faculty adviser, I met with an archivist who's been working in the field for more than thirty years. We discussed the profession in general, and he gave me two critiques on my resume. I should include professional associations because it says that I am willing to invest in my career. I should also highlight the finding aids I created. I am always amazed and grateful that the archivists I have reached out to have always been willing to take time from their busy schedules to advise someone new to the field!

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