How I Landed a Job

 by Stephanie Altbie r

Like many of us, I had job interviews that looked as if I might receive a job offer, but no job offer came. Until one day I went on a job interview, and I was offered the job two days later. What was different this time?

Job Announcement
I applied to the Records Management Analyst position job announcement, which was posted on the University of Maryland ISCHOOL Discussion Listserv. Within one hour of my job application submission, I received a reply back from the employer requesting to set up an interview with me.

Interview Atmosphere
The interview was with the owner of the company and my future supervisor. They were interested in making a positive impression on me, because they were very interested in me joining the team. The interview was more of a casual networking conversation, and they made me feel calm and relaxed. Both of them were impressed with my supervisor’s letter of reference.

Key Interview Topics
The interview centered around my work at the National Park Service and my volunteer work at the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II, College Park, MD).

The company has a work philosophy that the supervisor of the team is a leader and wants the team to grow independently. I was asked what my definition was of the word “leadership.” I responded that a leader is someone who is a mentor to others, who has the ability to delegate responsibility to the team, who knows when to step into a situation and knows when to step out of a situation. The supervisor was very impressed with my answer and expressed her interest in hiring me, but stated there were other interviews scheduled.

At the end of the interview, they wanted to know if I was interested in working for them. I said yes. I expressed my impression about their personal work history experience, the growth of the fairly new company and their philosophy of training and working with their employees.

Thank You Letter / Follow-up Letter
When I returned to my office, I wrote a thank you note to the company for giving me the opportunity to interview for the position, expressed why I was interested in working for the company and summarized why they should hire me. I received a reply back from the owner expressing his pleasure in receiving my thank you/follow-up letter. He explained that he would be in touch soon.

Job Application and Job Offer
I received a job application the next day. The job application contained the typical questions including salary desired. I typed in the word “negotiable.” I decided to write a cover letter for the job application to thoroughly define the word “negotiable” and to give myself one more opportunity to promote myself for the position. In the first paragraph, I stated that I was very interested in the position, and I believed that we can negotiate to a mutual salary agreement. The second paragraph expressed why they should hire me. I sent the application cover letter and the job application back to the owner by e-mail.

On the following day, I received a response from the owner expressing his positive impression of my second letter. He offered me the job and wanted to know when I could start. After he received my reply, a formal job offer letter was sent to me. I was pleased with the hourly rate offer for the three-year contract. I responded to him immediately to accept the formal job offer.

Tips to Remember
• Provide a letter of reference from your supervisor.
• Search for jobs on university listservs. You don’t have to be an alumnus to subscribe.
• Include metrics and accomplishments in your resume.
• Include volunteering experience in your resume as a job experience.
• Have your resume professionally written. I was hired for a job within four months after I had my resume professionally written.
• Learn new skills that are in high demand.
• Invest in certification credentials. My AIIM ERMp credentials gave me the extra qualification needed to be hired.
• Keep calm, warm and friendly in an interview.
• Express why you are interested in working for the company. What impressed you about the company?
• Summarize why you should be hired.
• Write thank you and follow-up letters.
• Express that you are willing to negotiate to a mutual agreement on salary or hourly rate.

Stephanie Altbier, MSLS, ERMp

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ.com. INALJ has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 

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