Tag Archives: Academia

Author’s Corner: The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook

This week, Ulla de Stricker and Jill Hurst-Wahl have been kind enough to tell us the story of how they wrote their book, and to detail  what’s inside the covers.  


Picture two members of Special Libraries Association having a chat in a coffee shop during the annual SLA conference.  The two colleagues go back a long way and enjoy meeting each other when professional events make it possible.  This time, they get on the topic of how, throughout their careers, they have acted as mentors to colleagues at all stages of their careers and to students just starting out.  As the conversation went on, they verbally compile a long list of the career challenges prompting those colleagues and students to seek advice … and jointly reached the conclusion “why don’t we just write it all down!”. Information and Knowledge Professional's Career Handbook: Define and Create Your Success

Thus, The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook:  Define and Create Your Success was conceived.  Here’s how we articulated its purpose:

Information Professionals and Knowledge Managers deal with significant career challenges for a number of reasons associated (for example) with common misperceptions of their expertise and roles. In environments where they must often justify their work and value over and over, those already in the profession and those just entering need to prepare for a reality that may differ from expectations.  Based on the authors’ own extensive experience, the book is intended to give readers a set of tools and techniques with which to secure a strong career, build an effective brand, and succeed as professionals.

Here’s how we went about organizing the messages we wanted to share:

We discuss how the information profession involves an enduring need to others why it is worthwhile investing in its practitioners.

We outline the need to know one’s own “work personality” and show how insight into it could be crucial in helping to deal with the inevitable challenges in the workplace.

For those who may have had a previous career, we talk about how to translate earlier expertise into a new professional role.

We address head-on the need to develop a professional brand and to market oneself the way any product or service is promoted.  In particular, we stress on the power of professional associations as career builders.

We get practical with a look at job hunting, the strategies for applying for jobs, handling the job interview, and succeeding in the critical first few weeks on a new job.

The notion that “career planning” may be a contradiction in terms is next: “Give chance a chance”.

We take a look at the reality of organizational life:  Technical proficiency does not guarantee success! Political savvy is paramount for navigating organizational culture.

The essential skill of constructing compelling proposals and business cases is the focus of attention as we stress how advocacy and getting support for change and investment requires compelling arguments – regarding of the sector or industry.

Our readers do not have to make the mistakes we did!  We share candidly the lessons from our own careers and show how important emotional resilience and strength are. Work occupies a huge role in our lives, and it would be unrealistic to expect a clinical, detached attitude toward it.  We focus on strategies for coping … and on knowing when to quit.

Of course, money must be discussed.  We look at salary and other aspects of compensation and suggest resources to prepare for negotiation.

Finally, we advocate for a life long mentoring orientation in encouraging our colleagues to take advantage of the wisdom of more experienced colleagues and pay it back. 

We hope the book will be a constant companion for our colleagues.  At different career stages, different chapters will be relevant.  More than anything else, we hope our colleagues will join us in our never ending efforts to support our fellow professionals.

Availability and Reviews:

Publisher:  Woodhead (Chandos) Publishing

To rent the book online at a much lower cost than the list price, go to http://bit.ly/Iv0Fkz; click on the PDF link below the image of the book.  Under “Offerings”, click the desired “Add to Basket” option (72 hours or 14 days). Click “Purchase” and then at the Log In page, register under the Individual Registration option in order to complete the transaction.

Amazon / Neal-Schuman / In Canada

Reviews:  Kim Dority  / Robyn Stockand / Carol Stahlberg, SLA /

Interviews: Dennie Heye, SLA Europe (one more here ) / Henrik de Gyor  / Neal-Schuman

And you can join the conversation, or get in touch, via Facebook 


Jill Hurst-Wahl

 

 

Jill Hurst-Wahl, MLS, is a digitization consultant and owner of Hurst Associates, Ltd. She also an Associate Professor of Practice in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and the director of the iSchool’s Library and Information Science Program.  Jill’s interests include digitization, digital libraries, copyright, web 2.0 and social media.

Ulla de StrickerUlla de Stricker is a knowledge management consultant whose practice (www.destricker.com) focuses on addressing a wide range of challenges and opportunities in the area of information management including strategies for information support to knowledge workers.  She has been an active contributor to the library profession and a mentor to colleagues since the late 1970s and is a familiar figure at information related conferences.

Ulla and Jill currently serve on the Board of Directors of SLA.

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Author’s Corner: A Guest Post on Recruiting and Hiring in Academic Libraries

Teresa Neely is the editor of How to Stay Afloat in the Academic Library Job Pool, a collection of essays about various aspects of the academic search process.  Dr. Neely is the director of Learning Space Initiatives at the University Libraries of the University of New Mexico. She has been a hiring manager, and a member of hiring committees. She also edited the book In Our Own Voices, which presents the experiences of 25 librarians of color transitioning from school to career. She graciously agreed to share her understanding and experience of the academic hiring process with us.


Recruiting and hiring practices in most academic libraries are governed by the rules and regulations of the parent institution, the state, and the federal government. I have worked in academic libraries my entire professional career and have served on and chaired many faculty search committees over the years.

Higher Education Hiring is not like the For-Profit Sector

There is a distinct difference between higher education and the for-profit sector in terms of how searches are managed. For example, academic searches take a long, long, long time. You generally have four or five committee members and a chair which means work moves as fast as the busiest person on the committee. In the for-profit sector, searches are probably not conducted by a committee and decisions are reached much faster.

At my current institution, in addition to the search committee, there is a search coordinator who is very experienced with the university’s human resources procedures and requirements. She keeps the search committee on the right [legal] path throughout the process. This means, if you meet the minimum requirements for the position you are applying for, then your application is moved on to the next step in the process.

Evaluating Candidacy

A scoring rubric of some sort is usually employed to evaluate the application based on the preferred qualifications, once the minimum qualifications have been met. At this stage, rules could require the search committee to do a “second look” for self-identified applicants from protected classes, and females to bring up into the pool, with appropriate justification of course.  If your application makes it through this stage, next stop is the telephone interview; Successful completion of this stage usually nets you an on-site interview. However, that is dependent on the number of people in the pool with successful telephone interviews and the cutoff point for how many candidates you want to bring on-site.

Competition and Fairness

Search committees bound by rules and regulations and federal and state laws should ensure that every application submitted in the required manner is treated to the same rigorous review process and every applicant meeting the minimum qualifications has an equal chance. And as in any process, every applicant meeting the minimum qualifications has the same chance to excel by writing a cover letter that addresses their qualifications for the position, submitting a curriculum vitae which clearly indicates the experience and education needed as spelled out in the position description, preparing for the telephone interview as if it is a “real” interview because it is, and putting their best foot forward during the in-person interview if they make it to that level. Competition is fierce for positions and the closer to entry-level you get, the more applicants you could be competing against.

Academic Applications have Unique Requirements

Books, websites and tips abound on what to do and what not to do when preparing a packet to submit for employment; however, for those seeking the academic track, things tend to be a bit different. I believe one of the biggest differences in faculty library positions and jobs in the for-profit sector is the former wants a curriculum vitae that spells out exactly what your experience is in as many pages as that takes. The latter wants the one to two pager.

 Timing

Apply early and often, but only once for each position, as academic searches can stretch over months, and remember, during the summers and between Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Day, very little gets done.

Good Luck!


Dr. Neely has agreed to come back for an interview on the topic: Hiring Librarians of Color. If you have questions about this subject, either as a job hunter or a hirer of librarians, would you please email me at hiringlibrarians AT gmail?  Now’s the chance to find out what’s really going on with that affirmative action form or to figure out how you can increase diversity in your organization. 

 Thanks for reading!

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Filed under Author's Corner, Guest Posts