I’ve written before about how library school students early on in their MLS education can use ALA job ads to plan out their curriculum and work experience, by figuring out the required qualifications for a job they’re looking for, and seeking out those experiences. Another useful way to use these ads recently came up during a conversation I was having with a library school friend now on the job market. We were talking about possible questions they might get during the phone interview, and I asked them to send me the job ad. What I did, then, was look at the “Required Qualifications” listed in the ad, and started rephrasing them as questions.
So, for example, take this random job ad posted to the ALA Job-List website for an Information Literacy/Instructional Design position at the University of Albany.
What I’d do is start thinking of these as questions, and then figuring out how I can bring my own experience to bear on the answers.
So this job is probably going to ask you questions like:
Can you tell us a little bit about your experience assessing student-learning outcomes?
What are some best practices you use for incorporating emerging technologies into information literacy instruction?
What is your experience creating digital learning objects for information literacy instruction?
Tell us about a time you were a leader of a group project, and what the outcome was.
Tell us a about your experience collaborating with faculty to incorporate information literacy into the curriculum.
How do you stay on top of emerging trends in information literacy instruction?
What is your experience working with diverse student populations?
I was asked every single one of these questions during a phone interview – some of them (like the one about assessment, by every single school), and you could have gleaned every single one of them directly from the “Required” portion of the job ad. Also, I think every single place started off asking me some variant of “Why are you interested in this position?” If you can make your answer about this position, and not just positions like this one, you are answering that question well. This should be easy enough to do, because why else are you applying for this job, anyway?
I got this advice about looking at the requirements from one of my mentors while in library school, and it was really helpful. Not every place did it to a T to their requirements listed in the ad, but it was pretty close.