Success in the Job Hunt Session 1021: OLA Super Conference 2008 Toronto, Ontario Contact Information for the Speakers Dr. Heidi Jacobs Amanda Ross-White Information Literacy Librarian Clinical Outreach Services Librarian Leddy Library Bracken Health Science Library University of Windsor Queen’s University email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Melissa Helwig Dalia Smith Information Services Librarian Academic Liaison and Information Northern Ontario Virtual Library Resources Librarian Northern Ontario School of University of Guelph-Humber Medicine Dalia.email@example.com Melissa.Helwig@NorMed.ca Some Links: Job Postings University of Toronto: Faculty of Information Studies Job List http://www.fis.utoronto.ca/component/option,com_jobline/ The Partnership National Library of Canada Jobsite http://www.libraryjobs.ca/page/find%20jobs/ezlist_posts.aspx Jobs for Librarians and Information Professionals http://www.lisjobs.com/jobs/index.asp American Library Association Jobs list http://joblist.ala.org/ Links: Help with Resumes Canadian Library Association: Canadian Association of College and Research Libraries http://www.cla.ca/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Resume_Revie wing_Service_for_New_Librarians LISJobs, other librarians resumes http://www.lisjobs.com/onlineresumes.htm LISJobs Resume and Interview Forum http://lisjobs.com/forum/yaf_topics18_Resumes-- Interviews.aspx Other Helpful Links: 101 + Commonly Asked Interview Questions http://www.geocities.com/aer_mcr/libjob/interview.html Frequently Asked Interview Questions: University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science http://www.libsci.sc.edu/career/invufaqs.htm More Advice The following are responses to an informal (and unscientific) survey Dr. Heidi Jacobs distributed to a range of librarians who are in different places in their careers. Administrators’ Perspectives A As an administrator, I would look for a person .... who can display knowledge of current trends and/or research areas in academic librarianship (for example, Open Access, Web 2.0, information literacy, academic libraries as publishers, copyright, etc..); who can demonstrate a deeper interest in a specific area of academic librarianship that they've clearly given some thought to - possible research interests; who has enthusiasm and excitement for how academic libraries are evolving and developing - particularly in relation to new technologies, and how it has impacted the way academic libraries function; who has done their homework about the organization for which they're interviewing ... sounds basic, but you'd be surprised .... who has an obvious interest in people and in public service - a social conscience; who is generous with their knowledge, expertise and experience; demonstrates the potential to be a leader and innovator through their discussion of ideas, trends, etc.. who can clearly articulate what skills and talents they would bring to the organization Administrators’ Perspectives B What one piece of advice you could offer someone hoping to work in an academic library? take a chance and apply for jobs that you don't quite qualify for. If you are in a pool of applicants all of whom don't quite meet all the requirements you might make the short list and get the job. read the ads, read them again and read them again and do your homework! There are no words that are in the ads by accident or that have no meaning. We put every word and phrase in those ads for a purpose. So look up what you don't know - find out the current thinking on a topic - go and talk to you professors about something you don't understand. If you don't have experience in something, knowing about it is the next best thing. We look for the indication that someone is thinking about things and is keen on learning about it all and participating in policy development about it all and so on. We look for the potential of what you will be able to contribute to the library beyond the specifics of the position. Even though the posting is about for example reference and collection development in the social sciences, what you can contribute to the overall development of the library and how the library functions in the larger institution and what the library is doing as a member of various consortia - these are all equally important and if you can shine on those points that may make the difference in you getting the job over someone else. Your cover letter should give a rich context to what you have in your C.V. not just re-list what is in your C.V. Here is where you show your interests, your keenness, what you think is important about what you can bring to the job. The cover letter is a way to give the employer a more in-depth view of your strengths and skills as they apply to the job. Librarians’ Perspective A 1. What one piece of advice you could offer someone hoping to work in an academic library: Work in a special library first, it will give you an immediate and relevant volume of experience and skills to work from, including flexibility, multitasking, people skills, entrepreneurial skills etc 2. Complete the sentence: If I were a new librarian looking for a position, I would: check out the 8Rs study, especially the 10 most important and difficult to fulfill competencies and link all my work experience to these 3. In retrospect, the best thing I did while looking for a job in an academic library was: do my research on the position offered and background work on the priorities or challenges within the area I was applying for (systems related, cataloguing related, etc)_____ 5. Anything else? Think beyond just how to get the job. Also think about what your priorities and initial activities would be on the first week of work. Librarians’ Perspective B 1. What one piece of advice you could offer someone hoping to work in an academic library? Get direct work experience any you can as it doesn't count if you have been a student who has lived in an academic library for over 6 years. The easiest way for a search committee to shorten a list of resumes is to divide the piles into "with academic library experience" and "without". Personally, I applied for many tenure-track academic library jobs but didn't make a single short list until I covered a 4-month maternity leave in an academic library. 2. Complete the sentence: If I were a new librarian looking for a position, I would create an online portfolio of your best work. Ideally, develop and demonstrate online technical skills beyond what is asked for in library school. 3. In retrospect, the best thing I did while looking for a job in an academic library was being in the right place at the right time. 4. If I had to do it all over again, I would have contacted the university's faculty association to better understand and prepare for my employment negotiations. 5. Anything else? Never send a generic cover letter; always customize it to reflect what was asked for in the job posting. It is not necessary to employ techniques to attract special attention to your application (coloured paper, being "cute" in your cover letter). Demonstrating that you are reliable and enjoy working with people is more important than what courses or marks you received in library school. Librarians’ Perspective C 1. What one piece of advice you could offer someone hoping to work in an academic library? I would try to get experience in an academic library—whether it’s a co-op or even a part-time job during library school, experience is key. One of the things I noticed in my interviews was the focus on what I had done. Often there were questions like, “Describe something you designed that helped students” or “Tell us about how you have approached X.” I remember during my interviews being very grateful for my experience as it gave me concrete things to talk about. I would also talk to as many people as I could who work in academic libraries—what do they like about their job, what do they know about the application process, what are the do’s and don’ts. If you don’t know people in academic libraries (or even if you do), read the blogs and various web resources—there is a lot of very useful information out there. In library school, I would also, whenever possible, pick topics for papers and projects that relate to academic libraries. 2. Complete the sentence: If I were a new librarian looking for a position, I would treat the job search like a job; make the time to do it. Read the job ads, be systematic and organized, dedicate time and effort to it. In my last semester of library school the job search came first and coursework second. 3. In retrospect, the best thing I did while looking for a job in an academic library was thinking about the job search from Day One and being geographically open. Librarians’ Perspective D 1. What one piece of advice you could offer someone hoping to work in an academic library? Get to know as many people as you can. Connections help! 2. Complete the sentence: If I were a new librarian looking for a position, I would volunteer, get involved in committees so I could meet as many librarians as possible. 3. In retrospect, the best thing I did while looking for a job in an academic library was keep my connections with librarians and let them all know that I am looking for work. Taking a contract is a good way to get experience and get your foot in the door somewhere. 4. If I had to do it all over again, I would have done another co-op in an academic library while in library school. Doing one was good but I feel like two would have opened up even more doors. 5. Anything else? I think it's pretty clear that in my case it has certainly helped that I have known people and had done a co-op. I have observed that often people who are known to an organization have more success in obtaining the position. Librarians’ Perspective E 1. What one piece of advice you could offer someone hoping to work in an academic library? Network as much as possible. You never know where an opportunity may arise, the more people that know you the more chances you have to find these opportunities. 2. Complete the sentence: If I were a new librarian looking for a position, I would make sure I tailor my resume to each position. Resume and cover letter are so important. They get you the interview. 3. In retrospect, the best thing I did while looking for a job in an academic library was not limit my self to geographical location. You get more opportunities for interviews. 4. If I had to do it all over again, I would network some more. You should never stop. There is never too much networking. 5. Anything else? Networking is also about seeking advice from those already in the field. I had a great group of librarians I worked with during my co-op placement, they were always willing to spare some time to offer advise, anything from negotiating contract, to interview questions, to advise on cover letter and resume. The other thing is try practicing for the interview. Having now had had experience sitting on hiring committee I really see the difference between being prepared and not, it leaves a huge impression. Librarians’ Perspective F 5. Anything else? When applying for a job, the cover letter is key. Read the job advertisement carefully and then use the cover letter to highlight the particularly relevant aspects of your work experience, qualifications, skills etc. for that particular job. The cover letter should ideally not be longer than one page - two pages at the most. It should make search committee members want to reach for your CV and read more about you. A cover letter can make or break applications. If it's poorly done and/or reads like a form letter, then you may not get beyond the initial application stage. Prior to a job interview, try to get to your destination with time to spare, so that you can give yourself a tour of the library and pick up any relevant handouts/guides. You'll impress the search committee if you produce some of these materials at the interview and talk about what you've already seen and experienced. You need to promote yourself well at the interview - remember that ultimately you are your own best advertisement for the job. There's a fine line - you don't want to come across as being conceited and unrealistic about your abilities, but if you're very reserved and fail to highlight relevant skills, qualifications and experience, that may go against you. If you find job interviews very stressful - practice ahead of time with a friend/colleague. Thanks Again Best of Luck!