Q: I have been volunteering at the reference desk of my public library for 1 1/2years. But my plate is filling up with work, internships, etc. Is it worth it to keep volunteering there to “stay in the system” from a hiring stand point? I realize my first library job could be in any setting but I feel like I have learned all I can there considering the restrictions of the position. If staying on the books as a volunteer could give me an edge in the job market should a position open up in the public library system, I would make it work.
Q: I will be graduating soon and am updating my resume. I have worked at several places in the past, and was wondering are we supposed to list every place we’ve worked at in our resume? How far back do we go? Are we supposed to list work places that we think will be the most relevant? What if that creates a gap in the work history?
A: The purpose of a resume is to get you an interview so it is advisable to go back only 10 – 15 years in your work history. The reason behind this is that you want to include your most recent and relevant experience. This is what employers are most interested in and going back more than 15 years can date you and you want to avoid that in today’s competitive market. Keep in mind that a resume is not a compilation of everything that you have done. It is a current document that highlights the best of what you have done as it relates to and supports the position you are applying for.
Q: I recently graduated from SLIS but I haven’t been actively searching for a job until now. I have looked at the Career Development site and there are some great resources there, almost too many to absorb. Do you have maybe a quick 3-4 step plan to get the ball rolling as far as job searches go? I know this is a very broad subject but any advice you can give me to get me started in a smart way would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
A: I can appreciate your question. Conducting a job search can be a daunting task. Here are 3 steps to get you started.
1. Having a clear focus for your job search is important so that you don’t feel like you are all over the place. I recommend having a Plan A, Plan B, and a Plan C. Plan A is your first choice and your main focus. Plan B is the back-up plan. What else might you be interested in doing or where else do you see your skill set fitting? Plan C is the back-up to your back-up. If all else fails, what can you do to keep yourself working and gaining skills? For some people coordinating with a Temporary or Placement agency can be a good viable option.
Q: I’m in my last semester at the iSchool. I am starting to apply for jobs and have been following your blog and listening to your recordings. Right now I’m buried up to my ears in my final course and completing my e-portfolio, but I have a few questions that I would like to pose to you:
- How can I best use the career center resources to help me find employment after I graduate?
- What would you suggest I be doing during my final months at SLIS?
- Do career center resources remain available to me after I graduate?
Thanks for your help and input!
A: Thank you for your questions. I like your style of planning ahead.
As alumni, you will have access to the Career Development section on the iSchool website, as well as, the monthly Career Development Elluminate sessions I conduct and the iSchool Career Blog at no charge. The piece that you will not have direct access to is one-on-one career coaching from me and access to SJSU Handshake.
Q: How do I answer an interview question when I can’t think of an answer or I have never had the experience the interviewer is asking about?
A: You really have 3 options:
Option 1. You can say you don’t know the answer and leave it at that. (I don’t recommend this option. Always come up with something to say.)
Option 2. You can say, “That is a tough question, can we come back to that?” This is a strategic way to gain more time to come up with a desirable answer. Be sure you do come up with an answer because the interviewer will come back to the question.
Option 3. If you absolutely have not had to deal with the situation the interviewer is asking about, you can say, “I have never had that experience, but if I did, here is how I would handle it…” or “I have not had that experience but I did deal with something similar and here is what I did…”
Use the job description as more than just a job posting; use it as your guide. Your guide to tailoring your resume, your cover letter, even the answers you will prepare for the interview. On the job description, the employer is telling you exactly what they are looking for in a qualified candidate. They have outlined specifically the required skills, the desired skills, and the qualifications needed to be a successful candidate. Use this information. When writing your resume, read the job description carefully, identify the key words, industry verbiage, skills, and qualifications the employer is seeking. Than go back to your resume and compare the information. Ask yourself these questions:
I found this blog post from Drexel University’s i-school while doing a little internet research and thought it worth sharing with all of you.
When LIS graduate students ask me about job-hunting, they are all guaranteed to hear one piece of advice in common, regardless of their professional goals. “Are you a member of the X association?” (where X=the professional association that best matches their desired field of employment). This advice is based on more than conjecture. Time and time again, I have heard stories where a key factor in a graduate’s successful job hunt was related to their association involvement, such as:
• a contact made at an association event,
• a reference supplied by a mentor or senior colleague with whom candidate had done association
• the fact that a candidate’s resume showed a history of professional association involvement opened
I have been asked for tips on how to create a networking business card to use when attending conferences and other networking functions. Having your own personalized networking card is a great way to stand out from the crowd and gives you something tangible to leave behind when a resume just isn’t appropriate. While there is no one right way to create your networking business card, here are some ideas and general tips you MIGHT want to consider:
• Use the front and back side of your card
• Create a mini snapshot of your key accomplishments
• Include your name and contact information
• Include your major, degree, and date of graduation or expected date of graduation
• Include your LinkedIn account, blog address or link to a portfolio
• List your area(s) of specialization or qualifications summary
• Identify the type of position you are seeking or your career objective
• Include your top 3-5 skills that relate to the type of position you are seeking
• Be selective, you can’t include everything
In this month’s Elluminate Career Development Workshop, we talked about how to answer tough interview questions and strategies for handling questions related to salary came up as one of the most difficult. I want to share some tips to navigating around this question.
Bottom line: the interview is not the place to negotiate salary. Think about it, you have not even been offered the job yet. The only safe answer in this situation is to discuss a salary range and never ever give an exact dollar amount until an actual job offer has been made. Here are some good responses that I found on the Brazen Careerist blog written by Penelope Trunk. Check them out and be prepared to respond in a way that “fits” for you next time you get a salary question in an interview.
Q: What salary range are you looking for?
A: Let’s talk about the job requirements and expectations first, so I can get a sense of what you need.
Q: What did you make at your last job?
Q: What is the proper way to submit a resume via email? It seems like there are many ways to mess this up.
Thank you, MM
A: Hi MM and thank you for your question.
If I understand your question correctly, I am assuming you are asking if you should send your resume as an attachment or cut and paste it into an email.
The proper way to submit a resume via email is to save your resume as a Word doc and attach it to the body of the resume. Sending it as a Word doc ensures that the resume still looks good when the recruiter opens it and they can save it or send it to their Resume Tracking database.
You can also use the body of the email as a place to write a mini-cover letter. In the subject line of the email, write something like – Klees, Jill – Information Analyst Position. This way it is easier for the recruiter to track your email for that particular position.
I hope that helps.
Please post your comments or share your experience with submitting a resume via email.