February 17, 2018

Placements & Salaries 2015: Skills for the Search

Skills for the search

As noted earlier, respondents commented on the challenges of the search, with many noting that it was essential to develop the skills needed for the search and to be prepared to devote significant energy to the process. These are different from the professional LIS skills that were part of their degree program. New for this year, we are looking beyond the outcome of the search and focusing on the search process itself in hopes of providing future graduates with some insight for developing their own successful strategies. The search process begins while seekers are still students. Schools offer support to students in a variety of ways. Most schools (92%) post job opportunities and openings on Listservs. About half the schools post announcements on bulletin boards (both physical and electronic). Only about a third of the schools offer formal placement centers within the school, although some noted support at the university level. Half the schools noted they created job awareness through a variety of other channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs; supporting student chapters of professional associations; engaging alumni; and participating in information sessions or career fairs. Some schools noted that they offer individual career advisement or rely on personal outreach to employers.


Only 29% of the schools offer a formal mentoring program, and the design of these varied greatly ranging from student peer mentoring to alumni mentoring. About 14% noted that they encourage informal mentoring through professional association student chapter activities and personal relationships.

Survey participants were asked to identify resources they used during the search. In addition to school resources, other items mentioned include networking with practicing professionals; using the American Library Association job placement website; working the personal/professional network; using job websites such as indeed.com, glassdoor.com, and monster.com; exploiting regional job listing sites (i.e., usajob.gov, RAILS, KDLA); and taking advantage of professional society resources.


Strategies that students used successfully for the search began during their education by gaining experience through practicums and internships, beginning to develop professional social networks, volunteering in professional situations, and starting the search well before graduation. Several graduates mentioned using university resources to help them develop strong résumés and interview skills. After graduation, successful search strategies included casting a wide net by applying for many jobs that fit the skill set, having the ability to relocate away from saturated markets, and keeping a positive attitude.

This article was published in Library Journal's October 15, 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Suzie Allard About Suzie Allard

Suzie Allard (sallard@utk.edu) is Professor of Information Sciences and Associate Dean of Research, University of Tennessee College of Communication & Information, Knoxville. She is PI or co-PI on grants funded by IMLS, NSF, and other foundations. She is a member of the DataONE Leadership Team and the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations Board of Directors and the winner of the 2013 LJ Teaching Award.



  1. I actually really enjoyed reading this article from a student perspective. I am trying to find a career after I graduate just like everyone else at my school. I liked your point about how students have used strategies for the search that began by gaining experience through practicums and internships. I’ve never done an internship, but I can see why it would be beneficial. Thanks!