Friday, February 8, 2008

Financial Assistance for Library and Information Studies

The ALA has made a pdf of the scholarships and awards for Library and Information Studies education. There are some Canadian resources in the text as well and you can also use additional sources such as ALIS Scholarships and Bursaries and the Finance Database.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My 2%

Does it really make a difference to negotiate your starting salary? Yes, it can since your raises can be calculated by the percentage of salary that you are currently making. Let's look at the example below where Candidate A accepted the minimum and Candidate B negotiated two steps higher for her initial salary.

(These numbers are from the Librarian Salary Scale at the University of Alberta)

You're looking at this table and thinking: really, there is only $1,849 between the two salaries. And I thought I was bad at math. You need to look at the difference over time: over five years, Candidate B makes $8,896 more than Candidate A. It also takes Candidate A two years to surpass Candidate B's initial salary.

Now, there are some assumptions built into this table that you need to know about that also affect the numbers on this table. I did that for a few reasons:
  • sometimes steps are for good behaviour, pay tied to performance, and I am positing that there is no difference between the two except initial negotiation. Anyway, Candidate B starts at 2 steps higher than Candidate A, so Candidate B is still ahead and making 2% on a larger gross pay.
  • the math was easy, and I rounded. No decimals before coffee.
I think I made my point: you don't lose anything, but you can gain a lot by just asking.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be?

WSJ Online has a brief article on some of the silly questions that get asked at interviews: Is that your natural hair colour? Give me a second and I'll check...If you were a dog, what kind of dog would you be? Library cats are far more traditional, but a terrier in the closed stacks...

Some questions are just gaffes, small talk gone hopelessly wrong, but other questions, like the Melrose Place catty natural hair colour question which could be fishing for your age, can become truly inappropriate. Most often the interviewer is as nervous as you are because they have an important job as well: they need to hire someone. And it better be the best person.

Forgive a gaffe and dodge the digs. This information sheet will help you spot improprieties.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Advice for electronic resume submissions

Career Hub has an succinct and common sense post today on keywords in electronic resumes. Since almost all resumes, which includes every resume you send in as an email attachment, are electronic, it is a good idea to think about your keywords.

Searching for a resume in a resume bank is just like searching in a search engine for a particular results. The searcher creates a search string and the person who has most of the Power Ball numbers gets pulled first and offered an interview slot. Therefore, the more numbers you match on the greater chance you have on getting pulled from the data bank. And you know the numbers they are looking for: read through the posting and, if you have a skill or experience with some item, add it to the text of your resume or cover letter. Required are most important, but the desired/preferred traits will also get you in.
  • Echo what the post asks for. If it is email, or a particular library talent, such as collection development or a type of software, such as Sirsi, do your best to include these keywords somewhere in your text.
  • Name your degree in full and then use the abbreviation. This is also true of affiliations with professional associations (Student member, American Library Association (ALA) and New Members Round Table (NMRT))
  • Be specific. Don't just put Office, what parts of Microsoft Office are you familiar with? Are you fluent or functional in Spanish, and what does that mean?
Follow any other instructions, such as submit references when applying, to the letter.