Tag Archives: advice

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Career Q & A with the Library Career People

This was originally posted on January 17th, 2013.  I’m reposting now because they’ve moved to a new site, which looks fantastic!  The new URL is http://librarycareerpeople.com/  You can also follow on Twitter: @LibCareerPeople

Have you ever wished that someone would just answer all your career questions? Today’s post gives you the answer to that wish!  I’m happy to showcase Career Q & A with the Library Career People, who have been playing Dear Abby and Anne Landers to the LIS career world for nearly ten years. Please read on for more of their well thought-out, well-written advice.

Career QandA with the Library Career People

What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!

“Career Q&A with the Library Career People” is an online advice column for anyone working in, or interested in, libraries. We provide answers to actual questions from our readers.

When was it started? Why was it started?

“Career Q&A with the Library Career People” began in May of 2003 as a regular advice column in the Info Career Trends Newsletter (LISjobs.com’s career development newsletter). In 2007 we moved the column to a WordPress site in order to facilitate more communication between the writers and the readers and to provide more timely answers to the questions we receive.

Who runs it?

Tiffany Allen, Director of Library Human Resources at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Susanne Markgren, Digital Services Librarian at Purchase College, SUNY, have been the “Library Career People” since 2003, and they currently run the site.

Are you “career experts”? What are your qualifications?

We are working librarians with more than thirty years combined experience. We have worked in a variety of roles in different types of libraries in different parts of the country. We have chaired, and served on, hiring committees. We are members of library committees and associations. We are mentors. We have written and presented and taught classes on different aspects of career management. We have worked as career consultants. And most importantly, we truly enjoy helping others and serving as a resource for our colleagues and for those new to (or interested in) the profession.

Who is your target audience?

Our target audience is anyone who may have a career-related question about our profession. This includes librarians working in all types of libraries (at all different stages of their careers), library school students, recent graduates who are looking for work, and those thinking about entering the profession. We’ve answered questions from all of the above and we are incredibly thankful for our diverse readership. They keep the site relevant and interesting!

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?

Our site contains Q&As from the past ten years. They are archived and organized into categories and tagged with keywords. Users can search for specific things, or browse categories such as: Job Seeking, Getting Started, Library School, Career Change, or Setting Goals. It isn’t meant to be used on a daily basis, since it isn’t updated daily. We try to answer at least a few questions per month, depending on how many questions we receive and how much time we have to answer them. We attempt to write fairly in-depth responses to the questions, and to provide our readers with links to other resources. Readers can subscribe by email, so they will be alerted when there is new content.

Does your site provide:

√  Answers to reader questions    √  Articles/literature    √  Links

√  The opportunity for interaction

Advice on:

√  Cover Letters    √  Resumes

√  Interviewing    √  Networking

√  Other : We also offer advice on career change, job satisfaction and what to do during library school.

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

√  Book(s): coming soon!

We do not have a social media presence, perhaps because social media sites/tools didn’t exist when Career Q&A began, but we’ve had some discussions about it and it may happen one of these days. However, we each promote it on our own personal social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and we are happy to connect with our readers from those places as well.

And, we have written a book (which we are very excited about!) that will be coming out this year. The title of the book is: Career Q&A: A Librarian’s Real-Life Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career. We will post more information about the book, and how to get it when it comes out, on our web site.

The purpose of the book is to take a broad look at librarianship by dissecting it into different stages and answering specific questions about the various stages, events, transitions, struggles and advances that encompass and define a librarian’s career.

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No, we do not charge for anything.

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

It’s funny, we hear so much from people looking for jobs right out of library school, or trying to change jobs at some point during their career, but we don’t often hear back from folks once they’ve landed the job. It’s like calling your doctor when you’re sick, but never calling them back to say that you’re well. We do get a lot of thanks, however, and a lot of the questions we receive begin with something like “I’m so glad I found you!”

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

We have been asked so many questions over the years, and the one that we get asked the most is some variation of “how do I get a job?” (or, “why can’t I get a job?”). We’ve answered this question many times and in a variety of ways, but our answers usually include the following things:

  • Libraries like to hire the best qualified candidate for the position (and that may not be you).
  • You need to have all the requirements for the position. Period.
  • You need to have impeccable, and personable, application materials.
  • In your application materials for a specific job (cover letter, resume, etc.) you need to accentuate your interest in the position — not a position, the position.
  • When applying for positions, you need to (or really, really should have) library experience, even for entry-level positions. If you do not have it, get it!
  • A good personality, the ability to adapt to different situations and environments, and an affinity for learning can go a long way.
  • You should have a professional online presence.
  • When you do not get a job you want, don’t beat yourself up about it. Learn from it, appreciate the experience, and move on. There are many behind-the-scenes aspects of a job search that candidates don’t see and have no control over.
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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.

Cifl

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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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Library Jobline

Today’s web resource is a state-focused page: it’s Colorado’s Library Jobline. Not being from Colorado myself, I actually learned about it in a very vain way – they link to Hiring Librarians! Even if you’re not from Colorado, take a look.  They’ve got a helpful resources page, and (as we’ll find out at the end of the interview) they do have opportunities for librarians from all over. Plus they’re collecting data about library jobs, and giving you the opportunity to access it, should you want to do your own research project.

Library jobline

What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

LibraryJobline is a service of the Colorado State Library that gives employers and job seekers in/around Colorado a place to connect.

When was it started?  Why was it started?

LibraryJobline went live in January 2007.  Prior to LibraryJobline, the Colorado State Library posted job ads on its own website.  We decided to streamline the process by creating a dedicated site where employers could post and manage their own ads, and where job seekers could easily find them.  It also is a valuable tool for collecting data on the job climate in Colorado.  We report our findings at http://www.lrs.org/fastfacts.php.

Who runs it?

It is run by Library Research Service, a unit of the Colorado State Library.

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

We do not currently offer career advice our guidance, though we do have a “Resources” page where we link to external content.

Who is your target audience?

Employers and job seekers within/around Colorado.

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 best way to use the site is to create an account and customize your profile so that you receive email notifications when jobs match your criteria.  For example, you can choose the type of library, salary, and education requirements that best fit you.  You also get a custom RSS feed that displays relevant jobs.

LibraryJobline also has a search page, giving you a handy tool for researching previous job ads.  You can quickly and easily view data for the 2000+ jobs that have been posted since 2007.

Does your site provide:

√ Job Listings               Links                      

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: https://twitter.com/libraryjobline

Do you charge for anything on your site?

Nope.  It is 100% free for employers and job seekers.

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

Not applicable.

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

Although LibraryJobline is a product of the Colorado State Library, we accept and encourage job ads from all libraries, regardless of location.

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