October 10, 2008

Getting a job 2.0

It's interesting times in the world out there.

And not surprisingly, the world of the internet is thinking about the implications. One of the big implications is that it's going to be harder to get a job, and that's going to be true librarians as much as anyone else.

As it happens, I've been collecting some links on my FriendFeed lately that talk about getting yourself ready to find a job. (Not that I'm looking for a job myself, more from the point of view of someone who is occasionally on search committees.) How to prepare a CV, how to improve your online repuation, etc.

Robert Scoble's So, you need a job? Man, do resumes suck which has a lot of pointers for how to make your resume and job application stick out. The comments are great too. I'm including some of the main points, please read the whole very fine post for the details:

So, now how do you get into the final two or three pile which is what will earn you an interview? You need to stand out from the crowd somehow. Here’s some ways to do that.

1. Blog. ... Make sure your blog’s content matches the job you are applying for, though. If someone had a blog showing how to be a better administrative assistant you can bet that I’d read every word.

2. Include a customized video that demonstrates your skills and personality.

3. Demonstrate you did some research on us.

4. Make sure you write for a human, but include tags and things for electronic scanners too.

5. Don’t just apply for the job, apply for the career.

6. Demonstrate that you’d be fun to have around.

7. Make sure your email[/cover letter] is perfect in every way.

Next up is Shannon Paul's Six Steps to Resume 2.0, which are also great suggestions. Here's his conclusion -- and since most libraries are at least trying to integrate social media into our offerings I think it's very relevant for looking for a library job:
My thinking is that if you want to work with social media for a living, showing and teaching others about your involvement will mean a lot more than another bullet point outlining your accomplishments. Waiting for everyone else to "get it" won’t work.

What are some other ways we can build bridges for the uninitiated? Can you think of other ways to start tweaking your resume for Web 2.0?

Finally, Dave McClure's The 4 Things You Really Need: LinkedIn, Blog, Keywords, Social Media. These are great ideas, perhaps a bit too out there for the staid world of academia, but I assure you any one or two of these would make you absolutely stand out from most of the other applicants. The main ideas, with details in the post:
1) get a LinkedIn profile, and pimp it out -- HARD.

2) write a regular blog


3) ABSOLUTELY DOMINATE selected keywords (the ones that matter to you or others).

4) create notable online social media ( video, pictures, presentations, etc) relevant to your line of work and link [to] them / embed them on your blog, your LinkedIn profile, and other online sites.

Just today I got an email from someone who was asking about career opportunities in science librarianship. One of the great things about having a blog is that you do get these "out of the blue" questions, where people ask your advice and I think it's a privilege to be able to reach out and hopefully help someone. This is what I told her:
Also, in terms of making yourself more marketable, I would really try and get a solid online professional presence for yourself. It doesn't have to be a blog, but you really need to show that you're aware and interested in the new stuff that's happening. Nature Network, FriendFeed, LinkedIn and others are really valuable places to build your reputation.

And that's essentially the same advice I would give to anyone, particularly new graduates who might not have a lot on their resume yet. Any advantage you can give yourself is an edge. I've been on numerous search committees at my institution and it's always odd to see someone applying for a job in the 21st century for a technology focused job in a technologically focused profession who has no structured, consistent online presence. I want to know who you are, what you've done and what you think and even what other people think about you -- make it easier for me. Blow me away.


Ian said...

If any library school students are out there - all that stuff that John mentions in this post also applies for Internships/Coop terms!

Our library hires an MLIS coop student for 8 months every year. A lot of students either don't know how to write a resume or don't take the coop application seriously and submit resumes which are poor (to be charitable). A bad resume for a coop position is not forgotten when you apply for a full time post after graduation...

John Dupuis said...

Thanks, Ian. A very good point.