When I went to the CLA-CSLA conference, I had the chance to attend UCLA's Career Forum. Even though this was geared for future librarians, much of the information can be used for library paraprofessionals as well. There was a series of four workshop sessions which were: The Juggling Librarian: Getting the Most Out of Part-time Jobs (something that many of us are familiar), Getting the First Public Library Job, Using Research to Prepare for the Current Market Research, and The Independent Librarian (focus on school libraries). I will be sharing what I learned in a series of posts in relation to job application tips, interviewing tips, and in the event of obtaining/not obtaining the desired position.
Job Application Tips
In looking for where jobs are posted, the Public Library session offered these tips:
-Listservs such as PubLib, Calix
-Craigslist (especially good for private school libraries)
-Networking, word of mouth
Make sure your resume is up-to-date. It is advisable to have a master resume and then pull from that resume to create a resume to match up with the job position you are seeking.
-Read the job announcement
-Use job description wording
-List relevant work experience
-Don't lie about your experience
-Type, don't handwrite
-Apply early and online if possible
The reason it was suggested to apply online if possible is you can apply anytime of the day, usage of spell-check and you'll have more space as needed. Granted, when responding to possible supplemental questions, one should construct well-edited, concise responses. Remember your application is not the only one Human Resources is reading. Being able to express your thoughts in a paragraph or two is best. Think of it as a mini-interview where you would also keep your answers relatively brief and concise as well.
Supervisory references need to have been your supervisor. In addition, it was noted that last and present jobs usually do not allow supervisors to give professional references.
Making the Cut
Remember that the Library and Human Resources are two separate departments. Primarily, you will be dealing with Human Resources at this stage. Due to the current job market and economy, libraries are getting an influx of applications. So unfortunately, this is forcing libraries to have to upgrade posted minimum qualifications to the ideal qualifications as a means for narrowing the list of potential candidates for possible testing and then the interview process. If you do have a question about your eligibility after receiving notice that you did not qualify for the position, contact Human Resources and not the Library. You do not want to burn your bridges for possible future opportunities.
The Next Round-The Interview
Part II will cover tips for preparing and getting through the interview. Good luck as you go through what can seem the tedious application process! Here's a quote to keep you going:
"Every time you win, it diminishes the fear a little bit. You never really cancel the fear of losing; you keep challenging it." Arthur Ashe, tennis player