My tips and advice for job hunting

Disclaimer: All my own opinions and experiences, not in any way extensive or exhaustive!

Image Credit: http://dft.ba/-1qQH

I wanted to share the websites I found useful when job hunting, and also share some tips and advice. This is a reflection on my own experiences, but I hope it is also useful for current job hunters.

Useful email lists and websites

  • The obvious LISJOBNET, the main job site for CILIP. They also have a Twitter feed.
  • However, not all jobs get put on there. I also found Jobs.ac.uk invaluable for academic library vacancies.
  • As well as Indeed, especially because you can sign up for email alerts for keywords and location. I found a lot of adverts on here that weren’t on LISJOBNET or Jobs.ac.uk.
  • Jinfo pulls together lots of jobs from various LIS recruitment agencies.
  • On Twitter, I follow UKLibraryJobs and LISNPN, which both push out job vacancies.

Tips for applications and interviews

I just want to repeat this is based purely on my own experiences – Do not take this to be an exhaustive list of what to do!

Applications

  • Take time over your application, making sure it is tailored to the role and organisation to which you are applying. That goes for your CV too.
  • Related to the above, is to research the company/organisation. This will not only make your application better, but it will give you more insight into the role and whether you really want it.
  • Get someone else to proof-read your statement. I know it’s cringe-worthy, but it will pay off. I had my boyfriend proof-read all my applications (bless him!), and it really helped me to stop making the same mistakes over again.

Interviews

Urgh, everyone hates ’em, right?! Well, just remember the interviewer is likely nervous too! For my MA we did a recruitment exercise, including interviewing a candidate for a vacancy. It’s actually quite nerve-wracking! Interviewing is not something people do all day, every day. I found this knowledge to be quite calming.

  • Prepare. Then prepare some more. Research the organisation and review the job description. Try to think of possible questions you’ll get asked, or common themes, and have a prepared example. It doesn’t have to be a rehearsed speech, but knowing you have an example each for team work; difficult customers; working under pressure, etc, will put you at ease.
  • Ask questions. There is a great post over at the LIS New Professionals Network on asking questions at interviews. I suggest taking a look for some ideas, and things to avoid! Try to prepare some meaningful questions in advance.
  • Use the interview to find out if the job is right for you. This is a one-off opportunity to look around and get a feel for the place. It’s really hard to know whether you’ll be happy there from just an interview, so try to find out as much as you can.
  • After the interview, write down the questions you were asked. If you are unsuccessful, then you have a ready made set of prep questions for next time. I take a pen and notebook with me and do this on the train home.

I hope some of this is useful for some of you. Do you have any advice you found particularly helpful, or perhaps a good job site you’d like to share?

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2 Comments

  1. I think your advice is very useful, and I used the same websites as you did for job-hunting. One thing I have found particularly useful is to keep a list of all your tasks and achievements while you are working, whether it’s a traineeship, a part time job or a volunteer position. It is so easy to forget everything you have achieved in a job, and my list has come in very handy when applying and when preparing interviews. For example, the difficult customer questions comes up very often, and it can be hard to think of one particular example if you haven’t kept track of everything you did!
    My line manager, who interviewed me for my current role, said that one thing she finds frustrating is when candidates have recite answers they have learned by heart during an interview. She said that it is important for employers to get to know you as a person as well, and she thinks it is a good sign if someone does not answer straight away, and it shows that they are thoughtful and can reflect on a question. According to her, one of the mistakes candidates sometimes make is thinking they have to answer everything straight away, whereas an interview is a conversation, not an exam!

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