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.
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?
28/09/2011 § 9 Comments
Britt: Of course, public and school librarians operate in different spheres of responsibility for a child’s access. Many teacher librarians may act in loco parentis (in place of a parent) depending on their state or district; public librarians have no such mandate. It is the common practice of public librarians (and the suggestion of ALA), particularly when processing a challenge, to place the responsibility for access on the parent, which relieves the librarian of that role. This leaves us free to collect for a broader audience, but also, I feel, limits our ability to be advocates for intellectual freedom for youth. Should youth librarians take a more active role when promoting access for children? Should we advocate for the right of the child over that of the parent?
08/09/2011 § 2 Comments
Earlier this week, Ashley discussed some of the ways to hack your advisor–but what if you get stuck with someone you don’t like? Or doesn’t know much about your field of study? Or just plain stinks? Lucky for you there is an oft-neglected source of sage wisdom and comforting words: the mentor.
While I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic academic advisor, I’m even luckier to have found a mentor to give me more practical advice. Mentors are a kind of unofficial advisor, a professional who works in the field with whom you can have a close and open connection with. Where your academic advisor can guide your classroom choices, mentors offer insight into the information profession. Often, your mentor can be a family friend, a work supervisor, or even a seasoned colleague. Whatever your association with your current or prospective mentor, here are some things I’ve learned about mentorships. « Read the rest of this entry »
22/08/2011 § 21 Comments
I work as an intern for a youth program in a public library. Most of my time is spent planning or implementing programs or leading book clubs, but every once in a while I encounter a parent with questions about books or technology issues for his or her teen.
A few weeks ago I had such an encounter with a parent: she approached my desk and asked me if the library had any kind of surveillance software installed in the teen computer lab. I explained that all of the library computers have an internet filter, but I don’t personally monitor what the teens are doing on the internet. I will only intervene if the youth is watching something that is actually illegal for them to watch, for example, pornography. The parent then asked if I knew of any email surveillance software she could install on her home computer to better monitor what her child was doing online. « Read the rest of this entry »
12/08/2011 § 11 Comments
We’re proud to present our next installment in the Declassified Series! In case you need a reminder, we take two schools, the same class and compare them to see how they’re similar or different. Our first post was written by Annie and Micah and covered Information Architecture. This time around Annie and Rebecca take on reference. « Read the rest of this entry »