Author Topic: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?  (Read 1391 times)

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Layla Miller

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Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« on: September 19, 2013, 03:18:36 PM »
BG: I'm currently a SAHM but before we moved to the town we now live in I was a librarian.  I've been keeping an eye on the usual outlets for library-related job openings in the area, but it's a fairly small town so you can imagine there haven't been a whole lot of opportunities.  Fortunately, we're doing okay on what DH makes, so there's no rush.

Earlier today I got an e-mail from a friend letting me know that one of the librarians at the local public library is resigning.  She suggested I talk to the library director and see if they will be hiring a new one.

Now, this sounds perfect.  It's a (hypothetical) library job in town and part time, which is ideal and I had little hope of finding anytime soon...and the chances of it happening again soon probably aren't too likely.  I would love to be able to apply for it.   /BG

The problem, of course, is that there's no official opening yet.  Nothing in the paper, nothing on the internet, nothing on the library website, etc.  What I'm wondering is, would it be inappropriate to e-mail the director or stop by in person and ask about this?  Should I wait and see if/when they announce an opening?

What do you think?  Right now I'm too excited to trust my own judgment on what proper etiquette would be in this situation, so I'm throwing it over to the professionals.  :)
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GreenBird

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2013, 03:29:25 PM »
I say contact them right away!  Getting your foot in the door early instead of being one of a hundred applicants when the job is finally posted is excellent.  I'd be inclined to stop by in person, although maybe your friend has an idea of what the director would prefer.  You can express your interest, learn more about this specific library, discuss your background and leave a copy of your resume, and approach it as a networking opportunity as well. 


Carotte

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2013, 03:34:41 PM »
Contact them ASAP!
How does your firend heard about it? does she work in the library? Could she be the one to pass along your resumé?
Or at least tell you who to contact directly (who's going to be in charge of recruiting).

You don't have to say you heard about the quitting if you feel weird doing so, you could frame it as you are now eager to start again and are scouting every library around to leave your resumé or something like that.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2013, 03:35:58 PM »
I agree that stopping by in person would be best. Instead of mentioning that you'd heard an employee was leaving though (just strikes me as too vulture-ish and could backfire if the information turns out to be false or someone changes their mind), just frame it as you have worked as a librarian in the past, you've recently moved to the area and you are interested in finding another position. If they aren't hiring, would you be interested in a volunteer position just to get your foot in the door? That way if they do post the job, you may be in the front of the line.
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BeagleMommy

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2013, 03:53:49 PM »
POD to those who've said to go in person.  I wouldn't mention anything about the librarian retiring because she may not have told her supervisors yet.

Betelnut

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2013, 04:15:46 PM »
As someone who works in a library and serves on hiring committees, I recommend against doing what the other people are suggesting.  Of course, every library's culture is different and it might be fine to go by introduce yourself, etc.  At my library, you would be politely shown the door.  Until we start recruiting, we don't want to talk to anyone.  Once we start recruiting, we just want you to contact us via the channels noted in the ad--by email, FAX, letter.  Not in person and with limited phone calls.
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Layla Miller

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2013, 05:12:16 PM »
Thank you for all the advice!  Betelnut, that's the kind of thing I was worried about, and thanks for pointing it out.

I think my best bet would be to go in tomorrow and just bring up in conversation that I'm a librarian.  I stop in at least once or twice a week anyway to change out books, so I've gotten reasonably friendly with the staff and my instinct tells me they wouldn't be too put out if I just ask about possible future openings in a casual way.  I'll try to keep it chatty and definitely won't mention the quitting librarian specifically.

Does that sound about right?
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Library Dragon

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2013, 05:36:42 PM »
As someone who works in a library and serves on hiring committees, I recommend against doing what the other people are suggesting.  Of course, every library's culture is different and it might be fine to go by introduce yourself, etc.  At my library, you would be politely shown the door.  Until we start recruiting, we don't want to talk to anyone.  Once we start recruiting, we just want you to contact us via the channels noted in the ad--by email, FAX, letter.  Not in person and with limited phone calls.

POD

I had this happen, but we had not even finished out internal discussion about how we were to handle the position.  We promoted from within and hired that person's replacement.  You want to be ready for the position that is actually available. 

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AvidReader

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2013, 06:12:26 PM »
I retired after having worked in 4 library systems, 3 of them public libraries in 3 different states.  At not one of these locations did we spend time with walk-ins toting resumes.  After a short, but polite conversation, we'd say thanks.  Then we'd toss the resume into the round file.  It is far better to keep your ear to the ground and eye on the job postings. 

In addition to promoting from within and subsequently having a completely different job opening, the library may be in the unpleasant situation of having to defer new hires for budgetary reasons.   That said, if your town is really small, and in particular, if it is somewhat distant from the "bright lights/big city," any job opening, particularly a part-time one, won't attract dozens of job candidates.

In the mean time, channel your excitement this way.  If you do not already have your professional librarian's certificate from your state (if it requires one to work in a public library), find out how to get it and do so.  A copy would be a good attachment to your resume and show that you are serious.

shhh its me

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2013, 06:21:35 PM »
  Ask the friend who told you "Can I mention your name?".  Then do as PP suggested

Betelnut

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2013, 08:04:47 PM »
Thank you for all the advice!  Betelnut, that's the kind of thing I was worried about, and thanks for pointing it out.

I think my best bet would be to go in tomorrow and just bring up in conversation that I'm a librarian.  I stop in at least once or twice a week anyway to change out books, so I've gotten reasonably friendly with the staff and my instinct tells me they wouldn't be too put out if I just ask about possible future openings in a casual way.  I'll try to keep it chatty and definitely won't mention the quitting librarian specifically.

Does that sound about right?

I do think casually asking staff members that you are friends with is fine.
"And thus the whirligig of time brings in his
revenges." -- Feste, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

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Winterlight

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2013, 08:24:44 PM »
Thank you for all the advice!  Betelnut, that's the kind of thing I was worried about, and thanks for pointing it out.

I think my best bet would be to go in tomorrow and just bring up in conversation that I'm a librarian.  I stop in at least once or twice a week anyway to change out books, so I've gotten reasonably friendly with the staff and my instinct tells me they wouldn't be too put out if I just ask about possible future openings in a casual way.  I'll try to keep it chatty and definitely won't mention the quitting librarian specifically.

Does that sound about right?

I do think casually asking staff members that you are friends with is fine.

Agreed.

If you don't know the director, I would definitely NOT approach them. That's not going to go over well.
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To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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Layla Miller

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2013, 08:48:11 PM »
I think I've got a good handle on it now; thanks, everyone!  To answer a question I forgot to earlier, the friend doesn't work at the library or anything like that, she was there as a patron and happened to talk to the librarian who is leaving.  I will see if I can work my being a librarian/looking for library work into conversation without looking too much like I'm overstepping.  In the meantime, I'm going to be trawling the internet, the local paper, and whatever else I can find constantly to see if something shows up there.

Wish me luck!  :D
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GreenBird

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2013, 09:14:07 PM »
Maybe look at it as a potentially opportune time to do some networking and learn about the local job market - that keeps it low-key but still gets it out there that you're qualified and looking.  Good luck!

AnaMaria

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Re: Potential for job opening--do I contact them or wait?
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2013, 09:43:56 PM »
Go for it!  I agree, though- don't mention that you heard another librarian was resigning.  Asking about volunteer opportunities is a great idea, too. 

Can you check their website (or even just ask in person) and see if they take applications even when not actively hiring?  I got a job once by dropping off an application and resume "just in case," and two weeks later HR called me and said they were having emergency interviews that day.  It wasn't the position I applied for but it was still in my field and a great experience!