Monthly Archives: May 2012

I wrote an article

…for LISCareer!

Please check it out: http://liscareer.com/weak_hiring.htm

If you haven’t already looked through their collection of articles from professional librarians on a variety of career topics, you should take a look while you’re there.  There are really a lot of gems, and chances are that someone has written something which directly applies to the particulars of your unique situation.  The index by date is here: http://liscareer.com/articlesbydate.htm

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Filed under News and Administration, Op Ed

ALA Annual for Job Hunters

I’m not going to ALA annual :(, but if YOU are, there are a couple job hunting events that sound really helpful.

Firstly, Open Cover Letters, the choice of discerning cover letter writers everywhere, has a conversation starter.  OpenCoverLetters LIVE! will include a panel of hired librarians, and the opportunity for peer review of your own efforts. So not only will you get an outside eye on your cover letter, you will be able to look at OPCL (Other People’s Cover Letters).

Secondly, there was an email on the nmrt listserv that I think you should know about:

To: nmrt-l@ala.org
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:23 PM
Subject:[NMRT-L] NMRT Resume Review Service at Annual!

The NMRT Resume Review Service (RRS) Committee is gearing up for the Resume Review Service Booth for the ALA 2012 Annual Conference located in Anaheim, CA! We are currently scheduling appointments for individuals to have their resume reviewed as well as looking for booth greeters and resume reviewers.

The Resume Review Service for Annual will be at the ALA Job Placement Center, Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center. Our services will be available from 9 am – 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24, 2012.

To volunteer, please fill out either the Resume Reviewer form at http://bitly.com/rLtCsD or the Booth Greeter volunteer form http://bitly.com/tYH1Bp. We hope to have at least two greeters and four resume reviewers per shift.

For more information see the Volunteer Guidelines: nmrtrrs.wikispaces.com/Conference+Volunteers or feel free to contact nmrtrrs@yahoo.com for more information. The schedules of Resume Reviewers and Booth Greeters are available on the Committee’s Wiki: http://nmrtrrs.wikispaces.com. This is a fun way to meet, talk, and network with people from all over the country!

We are also accepting advance reservations for individuals who wish to have their resumes reviewed. To request an appointment, please fill out the Advanced Registration form at: http://bit.ly/wbvqf5 (deadline is June 15th).

This service is free and open to all conference attendees, regardless of their affiliation with NMRT. Walk-ins are welcome, but we are encouraging people to schedule an appointment in advance because of the high demand of the service.

Want more details on the RRS & what we do? Please visit us at the NMRT Resume Review Service Web Site: http://www.ala.org/nmrt/oversightgroups/comm/resreview/resumereview or http://nmrtrrs.wikispaces.com.

Hope to see you there!
Jodie Borgerding

________________________________________

Jodie L. Borgerding, M.L.S.

Instruction and Liaison Librarian

Emerson Library

Webster University

470 E. Lockwood

St. Louis, MO  63119

(314) 246-7819

jborgerding80@webster.edu

This sounds like a great way to:

1. connect with seasoned librarians and/or new librarians
2. help someone out (by giving them advice which could literally change their life)
3. get personalized advice (from someone who is not your Mom or library school classmate) which could literally change your life

By the way, I checked in with Jodie to make sure she was ok with me reposting her email, and she said to go ahead and include her contact information in case you had questions. So please get in touch if you do!  And also note that this service is available for nmrt members throughout the year, not just at annual.

So that takes care of most of the application packet, right?  What are the other top ALA annual events for job seekers? What are you planning on seeing and doing?

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Filed under News and Administration

Share Some Activities That Worked in Your Library

HM Queen Mother at the formal opening of the new library in the Lionel Robbins Building, 10th July 1979This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a a member of a hiring committee at a library with 10-50 staff members.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

team worker
conscientious
good attitude and ready to learn

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

poor oral skills
no-care attitude
not having skills and degree required by job

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

particular projects they have worked on
projects/communication with other colleagues, library staff, etc.
community based activities

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Yes

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Ask pertinent questions.
Smile and seem genuinely interested in our library.
Give examples of activities performed where one is currently working or interning.
Show interest in technology.
Share some activities that worked in your library.
Show good communication skills.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Chew gum.
Remain silent during most of the interview or give short answers.
Be overly enthusiastic.
Show too much confidence.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Be yourself!!!!!
Smile!
Eye contact is very important!
Enjoy the interview day or days– be comfortable.
Send out many resumes.
Stay on task when asked to give a presentation.
Ask lots of questions about the library and the community itself (you might be living there in the future).
Find out how you can be involved in team work within the library.
Reach out to all of the staff members when talking or giving a presentation, not just to the search committee.

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

Communication Skills, Computer Skills, and a Focus on the Mission

Children Lined Up at the Librarian's Desk, NYPL ca. 1910This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager at a library with 10-50 staff members.


What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Communication skills,
computer skills,
and a focus on the mission.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

Cover letters and resumes with no details (e.g., resumes that are nothing but a list of employer-title-dates). Weak conversation skills in the interview.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

Lack of detail. Objective statements that are either copy the job description verbatim or consist of nothing more specific than “I want a job.” Lists of personal qualities (e.g., prompt, professional, motivated, etc.) with nothing in the packet to back it up.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

Too many people emphasize their previous job descriptions and omit their accomplishments in those positions.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ I don’t care

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Show that you want this specific job and that you are capable of handling its responsibilities.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Being too nervous. Not being able to give developed answers to common interview questions.

 

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Filed under 10-50 staff members, Original Survey, Public

Understand the Value of All the Positions in the Library

Jaye Lapachet is a law librarian who has worked for Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP since 2001, spending the last five as the Manager of Library Services with a staff of 0-10 employees.  She has been active in the San Francisco Bay Region Chapter of the Special Libraries Association, and received their 2009 Professional Achievement Award. Ms. Lapachet has also worked in Information systems design at Content Innovations. You can see her quiltwork on Artquiltmaker.com.  She has been a hiring manager and a member of hiring committees.

What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Smart

Understands the job and is not taking the job in hopes of getting something better

Not annoying

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

Tells me they want my job

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

That people know Word and how to use the Internet.

Don’t include references, especially not stacks of glowing reference letters.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

How they are involved in the Library community.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ Other: Both should be attachments

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Listen.

Answer the questions.

Make sure you understand what the job is before you walk in the door.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Come on too strong.

Ask if the person in the Library Assistant position will be doing reference.

Not understanding the value of all the positions in the Library (everyone has a valuable role)

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

Exhausted us.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Dress up. Don’t wear perfume or stinky soap.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Law Library, Original Survey, Paraprofessional, Public Services/Reference, Special

Talk to everyone! You never know who will hear of a job.

Alberto-FeioThis anonymous interview is with a School Librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee at a library with 0-10 people.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

Flexibility and team loyalty
Wide knowledge, esp re literature and technology
A warm and welcoming manner

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

Any hint of “it’s not my job”
no interest in professional development or technology skills
disdain for customers (= students and faculty)

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

I don’t see them – I’m usually part of a hiring team.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

any evidence of intellectual curiosity or networking savvy!

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Only one!

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ I don’t care

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Show willingness to do ANYTHING required of you and a desire to learn and improve.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Dressing inappropriately! I’m not kidding – sloppy, too much cleavage, dressing like it’s a date!

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

Fewer openings, more stress on tech skills, especially social networking. Also we are lucky to have very little filtering.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Talk to everyone! You never know who will hear of a job.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey, School

Further Questions: Are there any extra or “non-traditional” materials candidates can provide to improve their chances?

This week’s question is inspired by Pamela Posz, who is one of the contributors to Library Jobs in California (it’s on hiatus for the summer, but is otherwise very useful and comprehensive for all sorts of library positions).  I have to say that I was really surprised by the answers.

I asked people who hire librarians:

Are there any extra or “non-traditional” materials candidates can provide to improve their chances? If a candidate provides a link to an e-portfolio, do you peruse it?  Would you like to see a visual resume? Should a candidate bring examples of his/her work to the interview?

Yes to all of these.  Increasingly e-materials are being used.  Links to a portfolio, and/or to work done, would be welcomed.

– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

Marge Loch-WoutersIf candidates have blogs, visual resumes, e-portfolios, I appreciate the link in the cover letter or resume.  I am always happy to see samples of work/writing whether online or hard copies once we get to the interview stage as well. However, the interviews are tightly timed so if any samples are brought along, make sure they are copies that you can leave with the interview team (and don’t expect them back!). We seldom can look them over within the confines of the interview.

– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

Paula HammetI like seeing links to e-portfolios, examples of creative libguides, marketing materials, or other items created by the applicant.  These are especially important when the position calls for creative approaches to instruction, web services, outreach, etc.  A well-done example, with beautiful graphics or a new approach to an issue, can really make a candidate stand out. I’m not particularly impressed (at least in a positive way) of partially filled out web templates.
A visual resume might be an interesting adjunct to a more formal CV (but not instead of a traditional CV). I haven’t seen many, but my impression is that they work best for folks who are farther along in their careers and/or have lots of accomplishments to highlight. I still remember one CV that was beautifully designed and incorporated some visual elements while still conveying the needed information. It was impressive.
If an interviewing candidate has some good examples of their work that aren’t linked from their CV or cover letter, it’s appropriate to bring them to the interview or leave them with the search committee chair. (Don’t leave them if you need them back.)
Good luck with your job search!
-Paula Hammett, Librarian at Sonoma State University
Emilie SmartI love “show & tell” in interviews — it gives me a concrete idea of the kind of work the candidate is capable of.  I would be very interested in a visual resume as an example of creative thinking.  I’d also like to see training videos, websites, libguides, brochures/marketing pieces, flyers, posters…  Anything created by the candidate that will show me their work and provide me with things to ask about.
If you’re going to bring things to an interview, though, be selective.  Bring only the best items you’ve done or items that pertain to the job you’re interviewing for.  I won’t be very interested in in pictures of a bulletin board in the Children’s area if you’re interviewing for a reference job; however, if you created the website for the children’s department, that would interest me.
– Emilie Smart, Division Coordinator of Reference Services & Computer Services at East Baton Rouge Parish Library
Marleah AugustineI don’t think extra materials necessarily improve anyone’s chances, but I would take them into consideration with the application as a whole. If someone is doing something snazzy JUST for the sake of doing something snazzy, it’s not going to impress me. But if it’s snazzy and relevant to the job and shows complete mastery of whatever snazzy technology is being used, then it can be helpful. I have seen some people though go “above and beyond” with their applications and having it backfire because they did not have a handle on what they were doing, and it showed.Visual resumes can be fun, as long as they include all of the necessary information. A word of advice – don’t get carried away making it impressive; I want to be impressed by the CONTENT of your resume, not necessarily the presentation of it!

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
Laurie PhillipsIt depends on the position. When we were hiring an Online Learning Librarian, we welcomed (and probably asked for) examples of online learning objects that we could view. If a candidate provided a link to an e-portfolio, we would view it, but it shouldn’t substitute for a well-written letter of application and resume. A visual resume wouldn’t cut it for us. We like to have the materials in front of us when we meet and generally wouldn’t have a computer and projector to view it. We did have a candidate bring copies of a portfolio to her interview but, oddly, she didn’t bring enough copies for the whole committee and we weren’t sure why. It was pretty and fairly impressive, but didn’t ultimately sway our decision.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans
Thanks as always to our hiring librarians for answering this week’s question!

If you have an opinion to share, the comments are open.  If you are also someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.

And thanks for reading!

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Filed under Academic, Cataloging/Technical Services, Further Questions, Public, Youth Services