From a new study published in the Journal of Academic Librarianship by Max Eckhard, Ashley Rosener, and Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra (none of whom I know):
This study sought to provide a better understanding of which quantifiable factors can significantly influence an academic library job search. Based on these results, time of application, academic library experience, committee work, conference attendance, and authoring or co-authoring a publication appear to increase the odds of a recent graduate’s ability to break into the field.
In addition to the factors that improve the odds of success in a job search, this study also found other factors addressed in the survey did not appear to significantly affect a graduate’s chance of securing a job. Among these factors were: program format, graduation date, grade point average, enrollment status, study abroad experience, independent study, and technological skills. It is difficult to quantify whether potential fit impacts success in landing a library position, but the literature suggests that a candidate’s personality and potential fit with a library is a large consideration when hiring committees make their hiring decision. Due to the fact that successful and unsuccessful respondents were fairly similar, it could be deduced that potential fit plays an important role in the hiring process.
While students are ultimately responsible for preparing themselves for a job search, LIS programs can do more to assist them. Based on this research, we recommend LIS programs provide opportunities for students to obtain some form of academic library work experience. Considering the importance of early application, LIS advisors should also ensure that students are prepared for the unique considerations of the academic library job search process. LIS programs should also focus on connecting students to professional development and publication opportunities.
This is nothing new, as we’ve had occasion to remark before, but it’s good to have actual data on this. Note that GPA and tech skills DID NOT MATTER. What mattered was actual academic library experience, being engaged with the profession through publishing and presenting, and being good people! Current library school students: LISTEN TO THIS ADVICE!!!!!!!!!!!