Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Careers in Federal Libraries

Want to work in the White House?  Today’s web resource is especially for you!  Careers in Federal Libraries is chock full of all kinds of information, from insider tips to job ads.  Don’t want to work in the White House?  Well, there are still any number of federal library jobs that might suit you.

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What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

Careers in Federal Libraries are events, virtual and F2F, that needed some way to continue the conversation about jobs for MLIS graduates.  We host programs at conferences, create webinars for library schools and have a blend of ways to keep the dialogue going.
We like to say that you can work for Federal government in lots of different jobs, anywhere around the world, in any type of library, and transfer between them without losing your benefits.  The average annual salary in 2009 was over $80,000 a year, so you don’t have to take a vow of poverty to be a federal employee.

When was it started?  Why was it started?

In 2007, we had our first event at the Library of Congress so job seekers could learn about the different career fields for those with their MLIS degree.  There are always questions when someone then applies or interviews for a federal job, so we wanted to be there to support folks through the entire process.  There are thousands following the various groups now (Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, WordPress, Facebook, Slideshare).

Who runs it?

Volunteer managers keep the various information flows going.  Right now  our managers include Nancy Faget, Tiffany Brand, Monique Clark, and Tori Moses.  If you’re interested in getting some experience managing a social media tool, drop us a line.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

A few of us have learned a lot through the years and enjoy keeping up on the latest news about hiring. The Careers in Federal Libraries list of speakers and presenters include hiring officials, personnel specialists, resume reviewers, and those who have experience in the hiring process.  We try to bring in the best on certain topics, but especially those with an MLIS so they have a good feel for the audience interests.

Who is your target audience?

The student or job seeker likely doesn’t know about the variety of ways they can work for Federal government.  We want them to think creatively about their job hunt, especially in a tough market, and consider alternative careers.  Would you like to be a web content manager?  Do you like research, writing, and editing?  Would you have an interest in analyzing data?  Can you see yourself working as a social media specialist?  There are TONS of options, and you should be aware of them if you’re looking for a job.

What’s the best way to use your site?  Should users consult it daily?  Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

The Google Group for Careers in Federal Libraries sends out job announcements, and they’re well integrated with the other media tools.  You can get our job announcements from the blog, for example.  The best way we’ve found to consolidate Q&A is on the LinkedIn group, and that really facilitates crowdsourcing advice.  We would suggest looking at the various tools and seeing what helps you.  Let us know if we  should add some service that is missing.

Do your sites provide:

√ Job Listings √ Answers to reader questions
√ Articles/literature √ Links
√ The opportunity for interaction

Advice on:
√ Cover Letters √ Resumes
√ Interviewing √ Networking
√ Other: mentoring

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats? Please include links, subscription information, or other details if pertinent

√ Twitter: @CareersFedLib
LinkedIn
√ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FederalLibrary
√ Other:  Slideshare account, Google Group

ALA will be hosting a series of webinars soon on Careers in Federal Libraries.
You can participate in F2F events at ALA, SLA, MLA, and AALL conferences.

Do you charge for anything on your site?

We don’t think anyone should charge job seekers for this information.  Helping people find jobs is one thing librarians help others do, and the Careers in Federal Libraries site is just librarians helping librarians find jobs.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

It’s been rewarding to see people learn about the special programs like the Presidential Management Fellows program that fast-tracks you into management.  Those jobs are really great in that they move you from $50K a year to $89K a year in 3 years giving you great experience along the way.  When librarians learn about the State Department’s Information Resource Officers — librarians who live around the world doing “information diplomacy” — there are tons that line up to learn about it and get assistance in applying.  Seeing the very smart candidates use very saavy job hunting tactics is interesting.  One librarian visited lots of libraries, took pictures and recorded interviews with staff, blogged and promoted the library, and then sent the library a link to the marketing she did on their behalf.  Guess it was no surprise that she got a great offer, right?

Anything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Job hunting in Federal government is pretty unique.  There’s a system like no other, but we all know that it’s a big bureaucracy.   Let us help you navigate that system.   You’ll find you’re able to do remarkable things as a civil servant that you never envisioned you could do.  It’s amazing to have words you’ve written read in Congressional testimony.  It’s incredible to know you helped research policy that became a new law in the country.   Librarians know they can make a positive difference, and in Federal government you can impact the country.  How cool is that?

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One response to “Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Careers in Federal Libraries

  1. Pingback: Job Hunters’ Web Guide Guide | Hiring Librarians

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