Tools for an Organized Job Search

16/10/2013 § 15 Comments

“Job search prep” has been on my To Do list since mid-summer. I’m an aspiring academic librarian graduating in May and I know that the job hunt can be a very long and involved process. I’ve been updating my resume and keeping track of job ads that interest me in an attempt to prepare ahead of time. But now as fall whips by, “prep” is looking more and more like actual searching. I have Rafiki’s words from The Lion King echoing in my head as motivation: “It is time!”

There are so many resources available for job-seekers and, as with most things on the web, the volume can be pretty overwhelming. My aim here is to round up some of the tools and resources I’m utilizing so far, and to open the floor for more tips and sharing.

Image via photologue flickrCC

Image via photologue flickrCC

1. An RSS Reader. I did not fully appreciated the power of an RSS reader until I began to look at job adds. Essentially, RSS (rich site summary) readers allow you to aggregate “feeds” of content from various websites. So, instead of obsessively checking every site that posts jobs, you can check your RSS reader for new content in one place. I’m currently using Digg, which a friend recommended to me, and I think it’s clean and easy to use. There are, of course, lots of other options out there.

This page has information on library job sites. Try your regional ALA chapter and library school sites as well. Unfortunately, not every job site offers their content as an RSS feed, but it’s a great place to start.

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Preparing to job-search: Some considerations

28/11/2011 § 6 Comments

For those of us preparing to graduate in the next several months, it’s time.  Time to get ready to job search.  Or, as I’m known to do, it’s time to prepare to get ready to job search because, hey, you can’t be overly prepared, right?  This piece isn’t about applying for jobs themselves–for that, turn to Heidi’s post from earlier this year– but the few weeks or months of preparation before you start: the “holy crap where do I even begin to look or know what I’m looking for?” stage, if you will.

I am by no means a job-seeking expert, but I do have a running joke with my family that I collect part-time jobs, so I’ve been friendly with my resume and cover letters for a while.  Spending time tweaking and polishing your official application materials is important but I’ve found that the job search preparation process is just as important.  What am I talking about? Here’s a few tips to make your search a little more organized.

1)    Face the facts

For the last semester, I’ve subscribed to just abaout every relevant job-seeking listserv out there.  Among my favorites are I Need a Library Job because you can sort by state, Lib Gig Jobs because I don’t have to sort through dozens of non-relevent job openings, ALA Job List because even though they have a lot of intermediate and upper-level jobs I get a sense of where my career could be headed, and ILI-L, ALA’s Information Literacy and Instruction listserv because that’s the type of job I’m looking for.

The benefit of subscribing to listservs is 2-fold: first, you can get a sense of what’s out there now.  Do you really want to move back home to Ohio but in 4 days you only ever see 1 job opening?  You might want to consider another location, at least temporarily.  Do you have your heart set on cataloging in a special library? In a few days, you’ll see how many positions are out there.  It’s a good reality check.  And don’t forget: ain’t nothing wrong with part-time (for now)!  Second, you can see where your skill sets are useful and what needs to be improved on.  For me, after reading dozens and dozens of job descriptions, I have a pretty clear understanding where my shortcomings are and because I still have several months until I graduate, I can start working on them now.

Be warned: subscribe to the digest version if you can!  Because the last thing I want to do is get distracted by potential jobs during finals, I have a list-serv folder in Gmail, subdivided into the specific list-serv, and I have all the emails directly routed to the folder.  That way I can look at them when I’m ready.  Check out Lauren’s post on special libraries and Annie’s post about art libraries for resources.

2)    Get the word out

If you’re going to ask people to be your professional references, which, by the way, you should always ask, give them plenty of notice.  Some people want to be notified of every job you’re applying to so they can be prepared to be specific, others just want a sense of the types of positions you’re looking for, and others still might want to write you a stock letter of recommendation.  The point is, now’s the time to figure out who will be your references for what kinds of positions and to give those people a heads up.  Many academic positions want letters from your references and the more time you can give them to write it, the better the letter will be and the more your reference will like you (no one wants a 1 week deadline).  It’ll also open the conversation for your professional mentors to talk to you about their job search, what skill sets they see in you, and any tips they might have.

3)    Organize

I have a Google Calendar to keep track of deadlines, required application materials, and an estimation of how long the whole application will take me to put together (overkill? That’s my middle name).  Point is, figure out what works for you to keep up with deadlines and whatnot.  Now’s the time to nail down an organizational structure.  For example, I have a “job search” folder on my hard drive, and within that folder, I have folders for every position I apply for that includes the job description, any research I might have done on the organization, my resume, cover letter, references, and any supplemental materials they require.  I like to group them by type: academic, public, instruction, outreach, etc., but that’s just me.  Again: what works for you?

What strategies do you use for the job-search preparation process?

[Series] Hack ALA: Library History Round Table (LHRT)

12/06/2011 § Leave a comment

LHRT is an awesome organization for students to join because it’s fun, vibrant, and a great way to explore libraries of the past and see how they intersect with issues faced by libraries today. Best of all, there are so many ways for students to get involved that include running for office, publishing in the newsletter, or connecting with us via social media.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carnegie_Library.jpg

Carnegie Library image from Wikimedia Commons

A lot of you already know that I have a slight obsession with library history. That’s why, when I joined ALA, the first sub-group I looked at joining was LHRT (Library History Round Table.) I love LHRT because it’s a nice mix of researchers, faculty, students, and practicing librarians. LHRT hosts a few ALA sessions each year (see the bottom of this post for a list), along with a library history conference every few years. The people who are in elected positions are incredibly welcoming, as are all the members I’ve met. LHRT is an awesome organization for students to join because it’s fun, vibrant, and a great way to explore libraries of the past and see how they intersect with issues faced by libraries today. Best of all, there are so many ways for students to get involved that include running for office, publishing in the newsletter, or connecting with us via social media. LHRT folks are very approachable, so if you can think of another way you want to be involved, don’t be afraid to ask!

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