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Advice on Full-Time Applications

A current student shared some information about a recent job application via the si.student listserv. We wanted to share this testimony with you (with permission).

This was a big debate between my own roommates and I when we graduated from graduate school... do you apply for a job that has a degree requirement that you will have by the time you start but don't currently have now? My opinion was yes, go for it. The policy for applicants and their degree status will vary by institution. However, the closer you get to graduation, the less this will matter. If you are applying to positions, especially ones that are single-position hires (like a specific reference librarian or a interaction designer at a small firm) that need to be filled sooner than later, you will most likely get passed over because you don't have a completed degree. The closer to graduation you get though, the more inclined the organization will be to wait a little bit for you and the degree requirement will be more flexible. Some organizations will actually write in the requirements that the degree needs to be completed by the start date but that degree candidates can apply.

It never hurts to ask prior applying if the degree completion at the time of application is required. Most HR departments have phone numbers or email addresses that you can use and if you call, you can ask anonymously and get an answer quickly.

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Hope exams finished well. I wanted to share a very eye-opening tidbit from one of my recent rejection experiences. The library I applied to (the health sciences unit at a large public university in the West) informed me I was rejected for not meeting minimum requirements, which really puzzled me. I pressed for clarification in a (very diplomatically worded) follow up email. Turns out this particular institution is basically prohibited by HR from considering candidates who have not yet officially finished the MLS -- otherwise, the search committee contact reassured me, I would have been a strong candidate had I finished in May or August 2009.

I thought this was important to share for a couple reasons:
1) For academic library applicants -- this is a crucial thing to ask about before taking the time to apply for a position. Don't waste your time applying til you know for sure their policies about this particular issue.
2) If you are rejected, it really can be helpful to inquire why, especially if you are nice to the person who informed you. Not only did she respond quickly and frankly, but she reassured me about my qualifications for the position and gave me encouragement. When you are getting rejection after rejection, this kind of feedback can really give you the knowledge and the optimism to keep trying.

Good luck to everybody and enjoy your break.

Posted by kkowatch at December 23, 2009 02:45 PM

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