We’re going on a job hunt

Intro based on ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt‘ a 1989 children’s picture book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.

We’re going on a job hunt.
We’re going to get a great one!
What a beautiful day…. we’re not scared.

Printing off person specs. Swish. Swish.

Drinking our 3rd cup of coffee. Gulp. Gulp.

Sighing loudly at the use of the word “generous” for seemingly un-generous pay… holidays… and benefits… Urgh. Urgh.


Job hunting is exhausting and time consuming. From the seeking out, to the application to, (if you’re lucky) the interview and whatever manner of tasks and/or presentations they decide to throw at you. I’ve broken up my job hunting ideas / tips / tricks / info / experiences into the next few paragraphs below:

Mailing lists.
I’m signed up to Indeed, university mailing lists, Arts Council Jobs, Jobs Advertised by the Arts Council, LinkedIn, government jobs, JISC lists, Jobs.ac.uk…. the list goes on and on and on. This kind of feels like you’re just doing work by opening and reading through your emails and sometimes good stuff does turn up, but it’s a lot of sifting and link clicking.

Indeed
Put my CV up on Indeed. As soon as I knew I had passed my course I added ‘Qualified Librarian’ to my header. You will not believe how steeply the views of my CV declined! I don’t know how you search through CVs on Indeed having never advertised a job there, but I’d love to know how it works. If you stick your CV on Indeed you get a number in the top right area that states how many times your CV has been looked at in the past 24 hours or something. I ranged from a steady 3-5 views over the past few months. Then BAM stick ‘Qualified Librarian’ on there and 0 views per day. Maybe a tip to just stick to ‘Information Professional’, which is what I’ve been referring to myself as for a while now.

In terms of Indeed no one ever contacted me about my CV and I don’t think I applied to one job I saw there. I kind of don’t like Indeed as it feels like such a mishmash even when you try and do explicit searches or set up specific email alerts.

LinkedIn
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who hates LinkedIn right? I feel like it’s built blatantly for CEO types and not much else. I did sign up to my free ‘Premium’ month and connected with some people, but in terms of actually job hunting I found the whole thing useless.

There are such a weird range of jobs posted to LinkedIn too. It either feels like fairly low paid entry level gigs (almost everything I looked at stated ‘Entry Level’ then had a massive list of stuff you needed to know/have experience in) to quite high up managerial roles. And a huge bugbear of mine no wages are stated! On the front page, looking at a job, wages are almost never stated. Already I felt URGH. Like I’m not going to go to the bother of clicking the apply link to be taken off to some random website and to maybe still not see a real job description or salary.

It has made me feel slightly better about how blatant university jobs are that have a job spec and wage stated clearly. Even if you have to write a mammoth application and even if I think no person specs should go above 10 points. If you want me to be concise you have to show that you’re concise too. Works both ways! Or should.

I sent a few ‘Easy Apply’s (where you apply to jobs with your LinkedIn profile) off into the void. I got a nice reply from someone hiring for a Market Analyst role, which was basically ‘you don’t have the skills’, but still they let me know! And were very nice about it.

I feel like for someone like me, with a fairly varied work history, I couldn’t edit my LinkedIn the way I would with a CV. On multiple CVs you can make certain aspects of work really clear. I’ve sent away ‘metadata’ specific CVs, ‘research focused’ CVs, but when you have this one online profile and are trying to apply to multiple different jobs it just didn’t work for me.

Recruiters
I actually tweeted about recruiters a few days ago. And if you’ve read my ‘About Me‘ on here or found me on LinkedIn you’ll have seen I’ve started banding about the phrase ’10 years experience across museums, galleries, libraries and archives’ or something to that effect. This happened because two recruiters contacted me to state they’d seen I’d finished my library qualification, was looking for work, and would I be interested in a job working for a law firm with a starting salary of £17K. Now if someone had offered me this role after my first full time library post back in 2014/15 I would have jumped at going from £15K to £17K. However, a number of my current roles pay over that between £19K and £22K pro rata.

I have a long and varied work history that isn’t exactly hidden (which does kind of freak me out sometimes) and as an “info profesh” it always really annoys me when people don’t do their research. I know this can come across as me being snobby about jobs and/or wages, and this was the first time a recruiter had ever contacted me and I was ridiculously excited… then disappointed, but like I said a few years ago I would have jumped at this job. With a number of years experience, and having recently shelled out for a library qual, this kind of job didn’t fit my bill at all.

I also want to say I didn’t know anyone else at the time who would have benefited from this role or I would have suggested them had I known. However, a huge part of me feels if you’ve got your BA, you’ve done a library traineeship or worked in libraries for a year or more AND then got your Masters/qualification, which will have (unless you’re rich) got you into a mountain of debt…. my advice to you as a wonderful, dedicated, hardworking person….

YOU. DESERVE. MORE.

YOU. DESERVE. BETTER.

Say you had next to no work experience I’d say a £17K role would be a great start. If you have lots of experience, even if it’s not specifically libraries, what if it’s teaching, admin, customer service, etc. I think this is a bit of a slap in the face post achieving a Masters qualification.

If this is you and you’re happy then it doesn’t matter! Ignore my snobbish comments, but I do think it’s a problem that we talk about in the sector a lot about valuing ourselves and our skills, but this isn’t transferred to the working world.

I eventually signed up with a recruiter, which was a much better experience. We had a great chat on the phone, I sent over my CV, we talked about the work I’d done and what I was looking for next. So far it’s been tumbleweed though – no jobs!

Moving on Up
Does anyone else agree that there’s a pretty decent flow of lower paid roles then a huge gap up to management? I’d love to jump straight into a £30K “proper” librarian job, but actually having never been paid more than £23K a year I’m looking for those pre-managerial roles. And there just never seems to be a lot that comes up in that £25-£28K roles. Why is that?
Do we not value or need supervisor type roles?
Would that not be beneficial in libraries to help people progress and also have key roles like this in teams?

To end
Your experience of using these platforms and job hunting will probably be totally different to mine! I was specifically looking for jobs in the Leeds area, full time, and ideally a step up and a better wage than what I’m on now. I reckon you’d have more luck if you’re not confined to a specific location and of course London has so many jobs, but having never worked or lived there I have no idea what the competition is like. I’m not going to tell anyone who’s job hunting now to ‘just keep going’ because you know that already and it’s not like any of us have a lot of other options when it comes to work right? It just does take time waiting for the right thing to come up and sometimes some of us don’t have that time to wait!

Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Comment below!

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