Highly Desired: Straightforward Library Job Ads

by R.C. Miessler, former Head Editor, INALJ Indiana
previously published 8/16/13 & 9/25/14

Highly Desired: Straightforward Library Job Ads

rcmiesslerWhen searching for jobs, sometimes the requirements seem ridiculous. Some job listings appear to be a list of all the library buzzwords and trends over the past 10 years, which can be a bit discouraging when trying to figure out exactly what the position entails, especially when put along the soul-crushing (for a librarian right out of school, anyway) “1-2 years professional experience required” line on what seems to be an entry-level job. Granted, many job listings are very clear and straightforward, a sign of a good director and human resources department. However, sometimes I look at a listing and wonder who really is going to be a master of all of the required skills, with the additional caveat of “desired” skills.

I’ve had hiring managers tell me in the past that when they are creating the job listing, they will sometimes list all the skills the previous person had for that position, even though it’s been admitted that a lot of the time most of those skills were learned during the former person’s time on the job, making the description a wishlist more than a hard set of skills that needs to be in place on day one. Sometimes this means reading between the lines and finding comparable skills in your own experience that can be applied to the list of duties, requirements and skills, and being really enthusiastic about learning new things quickly.

So, if the job looks interesting and appears to be a good fit, even if you don’t quite understand what a DIALOG search is, apply; the worst that will happen is you will get a rejection and some more time to work on your resume and cover letter. That is, unless it’s one of those damn online applications that require you to copy and paste your resume into tiny little boxes … in that case, it may not be worth it.

That being said, here are some definite warning signs in library job requirements*:

*Shout out to Mr. Library Dude’s Library Job Ad Drinking Bingo which I discovered after writing this!
* also some links may not work anymore as this was written awhile ago, and just republished – Naomi


  6 comments for “Highly Desired: Straightforward Library Job Ads

  1. LMS
    November 22, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I totally agree that job postings are overloaded with requirements. But what annoys me even more is that most library jobs (even if they are 20 hours per week or less) want you to be available 24/7 (“Approximately 25 hours per week; must be flexible to work days, evenings and weekend rotations.”) I don’t know about you, but not many people are available every single day of the week, any time during the day, and every evening. Everyone has some sort of commitment besides a 20 hour job, unless you are retired, and even retired people have other things going on.

  2. Daniel De Kok
    November 21, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Good example currently on Higher Ed Jobs: It’s listed at the top as full time but In the description reads 4 hours a day five days a week. I have legion examples of HR ineptitude. All I want is a job.

  3. DCLO
    November 21, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Wow, so glad to know I am not the only one who finds many of the job listings so discouraging. By listing so many specific databases, skills, and experiences they make it sound like they have someone in mind already so why bother applying. Thanks so much for sharing your insights.

  4. Nicholas Parker
    November 20, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Thanks for this! I was actually just reading some of the requirements for jobs on ALA and was feeling pretty discouraged. This helps.

  5. kwikoff
    August 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Hey! I was a Dewey cataloger for many years before I moved into e-resources and eventually head of tech services — and I never used a Cataloging Calculator in my life. I had a bound copy of the Cutter tables at my left elbow at all times– you know, bound like those board books they make for babies. I loved it. Of course, I must qualify as “old as dirt” by now and originally learned original cataloging with a pencil and a 5×7 pad of paper….

  6. August 17, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Excellent article! I find it particularly discouraging when the second advanced degree is required on top of all the other things listed.

Comments are closed.