Saturday, January 26, 2013

Job Searching Tips and Tricks

My library is currently searching for a new Children's Librarian! I am on the search and interview committee and I'm amazed at how many people don't fill out the application correctly. Our application is definitely not the most user-friendly, but it can be figured out. Here are some tips and tricks if you are in the market for a new library job!

1. Fill out the application completely. So many people leave blank spots on applications. Stop it! I know it is redundant and time consuming to put your skills on the online application when it is on your resume, but do it anyway. Sometimes we don't even make it to the resume if your online application is bad enough. Sometimes you won't even make it to the panel because HR immediately disqualifies your application. Copy and paste your bullet points into the online application. It's worth the extra 2 minutes.

2. Make sure you are filling things out correctly. Are you allowed to work in the United States? Are you over the age of 18? Make sure you click yes, because the default is usually no. Pay attention to the questions that are being asked. Making a simple mistake by clicking incorrectly on a yes/no question can make your application get immediately disqualified.

3. Always attach a resume and cover letter. This is what sets you apart from the other 50 applicants. Make sure you are personalizing your cover letter so that it shows you aren't just mass applying to every library job out there. Seriously, we can tell. Also, make sure your resume is updated. If you haven't applied to a job in 5 years, chances are you have some things to change.

4. Explain yourself! To go along with number 3, use your cover letter to explain anything that needs explaining. Have you always worked in adult services and you're applying for a children's position? Explain in your cover letter why you want to make the switch. Have you not worked for the past 10 years? Why? It doesn't need to be a long winded 4 paragraph explanation. Just a few short sentences will do.

5. Make sure you really want the job you're applying for. Look at the job description, library website, google the library, and look at the local newspaper. Is this really somewhere you want to work? Would you really be willing to move for the position? Do you really want to work with children? I know the job search process can be very frustrating and overwhelming, but if you apply to jobs you don't even really want then you are wasting your time and the employers. You won't be happy if you get a position working with teens when you only like babies and toddlers. Likewise, if you hate adults, don't apply for adult services positions.

6. Stay positive and current. It can be very hard to stay positive when you're on application number 52 and have received zero phone calls or interviews. Your time will come. Keep as current as you can by reading blogs, journals, etc. Volunteer at your local library and try to network if possible. Eventually you will get that phone call, so make sure you are prepared for it!

Anyone else have any tips they would like to add? Something that really helped while you were in the job searching process? Comment and let me know!

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