People with library and information science degrees are putting their skills to work in all kinds of interesting places. But the places may not be libraries, and the job titles may not say “librarian.
Find out about the variety of career options available for people who hold an MLIS degree. This is a great overview of how career trends are changing for information professionals. This interview, with our own SJSU SLIS program director Sandy Hirsh, is a must read!
Check it out at Internet Librarian: http://j.mp/1gC6M6O
Do you want to increase your online presence and get yourself noticed as a way to support your job search efforts but have no idea where to get started writing for publication? There’s a wiki for that. If you have exciting research, tips, a personal success story, LIS trends, technologies, successful programs you’ve used in your SLIS internship —the LIS Publications Wiki, developed by SLIS students for LIS students, gives you the tools you need to publish.
Search the database to discover publications and websites catering to your area of interest. Browse through hundreds of titles to get new ideas and new communities to join. And then click on any one to learn exactly what the publication is looking for, who it’s catered to, and how and where to submit a query. The wiki currently contains information on journal and magazine publications, but soon will host LIS book publishing details as well.
I have received several questions about the use of references in the job search and interview process. Here are just a few of the questions and answers.
Q: How important are the people I choose to be my references? Does it really make a difference and do employers really call them?
A: First, assume that most employers do check references and asking them about it just might imply that you have something to hide. Play it safe and assume that if they ask for references, they will call them.
Secondly, references can make a HUGE difference in you getting a job or not getting a job. Make sure you choose references that can speak to your unique skills and abilities as they relate to the particular position in which you are applying. You can coach your references about key points you would like them to discuss. It can also be helpful to provide your references a copy of the job description of the position you have interviewed for and the most recent copy of your resume for their review.
Think you are ready for the job search? Take a quiz to test your job search readiness and see how you rank.
- Should you customize your resume for every job posting? Y or N
- Should you include the statement “References Available upon Request” at the bottom of your resume? Y or N
- How many different fonts are recommended to use on your resume? 1, 2, or 3
- Is it recommended to start your cover letter with the greeting, “Dear Sir or Madam” when you don’t have a specific name? Y or N
- Is it OK if your resume exceeds one page? Y or N
- Can you ask the interviewer to pay for your parking? Y or N
- Is using the internet your best job search strategy? Y or N
- Is it advisable to ask questions in the interview? Y or N
- Is a phone screen considered a ‘real’ interview? Y or N
- Should you include your references when you apply for a job? Y or N
Bonus question: Is it acceptable to include a personal picture or a logo on your resume and/or cover letter? Y or N
“Why should we hire YOU?” Before walking into any interview, I strongly recommend that you have the answer to this question rolling right off of your tongue. Why? Because you are going to get asked this question or one like it and you want to knock the interviewer’s socks off with a strong well thought out response.
You might also get asked:
- Why are you the right fit for this position ?
- What would you bring to this position that other candidates won’t?
- What makes you the best candidate for this job?
- What are your strengths?
Whichever question you get asked, it is your opportunity to share why you are the best candidate for this job. Give a concise confidant summary of your top 3-5 strengths or selling points and back them up with related examples, accomplishments, or success stories. My recommendation is to develop a standard response that can be tweaked a bit for different positions.
Consider using a combination of any of these items:
“Tell me a little about yourself?” This is one of the interview questions I recommend you have nailed before you walk into any interview. Why? Because you know you are going to get asked this and if you have a less than compelling answer, it can set the tone for your entire interview. Don’t waste your first 60 seconds summarizing your resume, they’ve got that. This is an opportunity for you to emphasize why you are the best candidate for this job. Give a concise summary of how you are good fit and back it up with sharing related accomplishments.
The interviewer asks this question because he/she is trying to assess quickly 1) if you CAN do this job, 2) if you WILL do this job, and 3) if you are a good FIT for this job.
Your answer should be a concise summary of the best of you and how it relates to the position you are interviewing for. This is not a one size fits all answer. It needs to be crafted and practiced for each and every position you interview for. Keep it to about 60 seconds and focus on your strongest selling points for the position.
Q: I recently attended a conference and I found that I was not as prepared as I’d like to be with knowing what questions to ask employers or other professionals. Can you help me? Thanks.
A: This is such a great question. I am glad you asked for suggestions as I know how difficult and uncomfortable it can be when you can’t easily think of questions. Here are my recommendations. Choose questions that feel right for you so you sound natural and conversational versus rehearsed.
Q: I am a SJSU SLIS grad and had a question about how to handle being out of the workforce for a couple years. I am planning on staying home with my kids and am wondering the best way to convey that gap on my resume once I am trying to get back into the workforce? Should I explain the gap and if so how?
A: When you find yourself out of the workforce for a while, you want to be sure to continue to stay connected to the work world in some way. That might mean volunteering, working part-time or working on a project or contract basis or getting involved at your kid’s school for example. Try to continue doing something that allows you to demonstrate your skills or develop new ones. Think big in terms of paid and unpaid experiences as both of these can add value to your resume. Choose your activities with purpose and think about how you can include the experience on your resume and how you can communicate the value of what you did to a potential employer. In doing this, you won’t really have a gap on your resume because you will account for your less than full-time work experience with other activities that show how you stayed connected to the world of work.
As SLIS Career Center Liaison, I was recently invited to share job search tips and other career advice on how to land your ideal library job during a recent webinar hosted by American Libraries. Myself, Bohyun Kim – digital access librarian at Florida International University Medical Library in Miami, who blogs at LibraryHat and host David Connolly, who co-manages the ALA JobList website, participated in the lively discussion. You can view the session recording, or read highlights from the discussion on our School’s new student blog. Enjoy!
Q: I did my best in the interview and I thought I had nailed it but I didn’t get the job. I even asked for feedback and they said I did extremely well. I don’t know what else to do.
A: Unfortunately, even when you do your best in an interview, it doesn’t mean you will always get the job. There are many qualified candidates in the talent pool. But please don’t lose hope.
As hard as it is, don’t take it personally when you know you did your best in the interview. There can be many reasons why you didn’t get the job and many of them are out of your control. Hashing out all of the possible “what-if’s” is not the most productive use of your time.
Instead, focus on the things you can improve and move past the disappointment. Keep a positive attitude and definitely keep on interviewing. After each interview, evaluate what you did well and what you would like to improve on for the next time. The more you interview, the better your odds of hearing, “You’re hired!”