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Karen Fischer, UI Collection Analysis Librarian, visited the first LISSO meeting of 2012 to talk with students about how to get a job as an academic librarian. She included a packet of information for students with selections from the books How to Stay Afloat in the Academic Library Job Pool and A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians: Resume Writing and Interviewing Techniques That Work, as well as copies of sample job postings, a sample CV and a sample interview schedule.
"Job descriptions are very carefully crafted," she told students. Most employers are required to fill out charts mapping the requirements relating to their job description before listing a job, and their selection must qualify based on those requirements. She points out that it's important to address every point of the job description in either your CV or cover letter because whether or not you meet those listed requirements determines if you will be called in for an interview. "A long cover letter is fine," she assured students. "Use it to highlight points in your CV or include things that you didn't put on your CV."
Fischer also outlined the differences between tenure and non-tenure track library positions and encouraged students to get as much information as possible about the positions they apply for. "Don't be afraid to ask questions yourself during the interview process," she told students. Another suggestion was to ask if the employer has a mentoring program set up with current faculty to help new hires work within the system.
Graduating students who are applying for academic library job should keep in mind that "the timeline for hiring in academic libraries is really slow," according Fischer. After a job is posted, it is usually between 6-8 months before it is filled, so applicants should not feel discouraged if they do not hear immediately from an employer.
Fischer highly recommended attending interviews for UI Libraries candidates. SLIS students have an opportunity this semester to sit in on interviews for the UI Conservator Position. The first interview for this position will be Thursday, January 26, at 11:00 am in the second-floor conference room (2032 LIB). (Keep an eye out for more candidate interviews on the SLIS Calendar of Events.) Fischer encouraged students to attend even if they aren't interested in the exact position, advising them to look at what the candidates wear, what they talk about, and what the format is for the presentation. For their own presentation interviews, she offered students this advice: "If you are not used to presenting, practice, practice, practice."
Fischer offers more advice and resources about academic library positions on her Library Job Research Guide at http://guides.lib.uiowa.edu/libjobs.