You know that feeling when you are cruising along in your interview and you just feel like the stars are aligned and everything is going so well? It is an amazing feeling. And then you get a seemingly simple interview question, “Why are you the best candidate for this position?” and you freeze. You feel completely stumped and tongue tied about how to respond. You may even eek out what you think is a humble response, “Well, I don’t know that I AM the best candidate for the job.” What did you just say? Oh no! I think you just blew your interview.
Graduation is a time to celebrate! It can also be a time of stress when confronted with putting your MLIS to work. Start your post-graduation journey off on the right track by ensuring that you have a realistic and focused plan of action.
Many people start their job search by jumping right in with a general resume and applying online to a variety of jobs that sound interesting and look like something they qualify to do. They upload their resume, hit the send button, and call it a day.
With this job search approach, people feel like they have spent their time wisely and at first feel hopeful they will hear something back on the job they applied for. Sometimes they do hear back, but many times they do not. They wonder what went wrong and the feeling of rejection starts to take a toll on their confidence and that is exactly what you do not want to happen.
So let’s back-up from this approach and start again with a plan.
“How do I know if I am qualified to apply for a position?” I get asked this question more often than you’d think. While the answer seems simple, there are most definitely key factors to consider.
Students and recent grads contact me out of frustration and disappointment from applying for positions and receiving no response back from employers. Over time, this can take a toll on your level of confidence, as each time you apply for a position you are a hopeful that you will at least receive a phone screen.
When there is a consistent lack of employer response, my first thought is either the resume is not doing its job or this person is applying for positions they are not qualified to do. To rule out a resume issue, review the Resume section on the iSchool Career Development pages and check out the most recent LIS Resume Career Workshop recording for tips on targeting your resume.
We know that networking is the best job search strategy for tapping into the hidden job market but in reality, few people enjoy it or feel comfortable doing it. The thought of networking often conjures up the stereotype of being a schmoozer and feeling pressured to “work the room.” While attending a networking event and talking to as many people in the room as possible certainly works for some, I offer an alternate approach that could appeal to apprehensive networkers.
- Think of networking as establishing a relationship, genuinely connecting with another person, and gathering information.
Be friendly and rely on your own natural curiosity to ask questions about where they work, what they do, how they got their job, and advice they can share about getting your foot in the door. Be clear about what you want to say and what you want to ask. A little preparation ahead of time in terms of how you will introduce yourself and the questions you might ask can make a big difference in your confidence level.
When you are applying for jobs (internships, part-time, or full-time) and not getting interviews, chances are strong that your resume is NOT doing its job. This is the time to stop what you are doing, back-up, take a look at your resume and reevaluate your marketing tool. It might be time for a resume overhaul.
6 ways to tell if your resume needs an overhaul.
- You are using the same resume you used before starting iSchool,
- It has been 3 or more years since you updated your resume,
- “References Available Upon Request” is at the bottom,
- The objective statement starts with, “Seeking a challenging position where…”,
- Accomplishment statements start with, “Responsible for…”,
- Content is written in paragraph form versus bullet point statements.
If you are using the same old resume format and the same old content that you have been using for years, chances are good that you are not representing yourself competitively and that is not the impression that you want to leave with employers.
Follow these tips to take your resume from sad to fab.
Want to get the inside scoop on the variety and diversity of LIS positions available to you? Then join and get involved in a professional association. It is a fantastic way to connect to professionals in the field and keep a pulse on the LIS job market. Take advantage of the free one-year memberships available to iSchool students. Once you join, boost your job searching power by attending a conference.
There are many benefits to attending a professional conference in your field of interest. Even if you gain just one nugget of new information, or feel inspired to do just one new thing, or meet and connect with one new colleague in the field, your conference time will have been well spent. Here are my top 5 reasons for attending a professional conference.
Your body language can communicate more about you than your actual spoken words in making a first and lasting impression during an interview. The belief is that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of your voice, and only 7% is the actual words spoken.
This became very apparent to me while working with a student during a mock interview session. I noticed him squirming and fidgeting in his seat, leaning back in his chair and touching the back of his head when challenged by a question, and continuously breaking eye contact when he spoke.
I asked if he felt nervous in interviews and he said yes. I asked if he felt nervous right now and he said that he felt pretty calm. I shared my observation that his body language and his non-verbal actions led me to believe he was anxious and uncomfortable which was distracting. I wondered about his actions during an actual interview.
Follow the 10 tips below to ensure your body language demonstrates confidence and professionalism.
You have leadership skills even if you don’t have manager, director, or supervisor in your title. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has just released their 2015 list of the top 10 skills employers seek in college grads, and leadership has topped the list at number one. Chances are you demonstrate your leadership skills everyday not only for your individual contributions, but also for your ability to inspire others, initiate change, and model a sense of teamwork. Opportunities to lead and develop your leadership skills are everywhere. Consider how the examples below can be turned into accomplishment statements on your resume or turned into talking points in your next interview.
10 examples that demonstrate your leadership skills
Whether you are a current student or a recent grad preparing to interview for an internship or a full-time professional position, there is one important element that tends to get overlooked. I call it the “psychology” behind the interview, or in other words, the “attitude” you bring to the interview.
Your mental state can put everything into perspective, boost your confidence, and help you remain in control. Here are my tips for mastering the “psychology” behind the interview. Keep in mind that:
1. You are being interviewed for a reason.
Remind yourself that not every person who applied for this position is being interviewed. You beat out sometimes hundreds of other applicants for this opportunity. There is something special and intriguing about you. Go in feeling empowered. You are among a select few. Be confident in your capabilities.
2. The interviewer wants you to be successful.
Adding recommendations to your LinkedIn profile is one more way to boost your credibility and showcase your accomplishments to potential employers. Recommendations on LinkedIn can come from supervisors, co-workers, colleagues, and anyone who knows your work well and can speak to your capabilities, strengths, and positive work style. Recommendations from people you have worked with carry a lot of weight.
Tips to requesting a recommendation