Friday, August 1, 2008

Moving up dates for job offers

Though librarians are not specifically mentioned in this article, there are some librarians who will be interviewing for tenure track positions and this may be a trend that will affect the whole: moving up the dates for offers (as early as the end of January).

Other trends that will affect interviews:
  • More telephone and VOIP interviews to deal with the rising cost of paying to fly in candidates.
  • Need a teaching demonstration? You may be asked to create one and submit it to YouTube. Another way to keep travel costs down.
  • More interviews at conferences, to do double-duty of networking and recruiting, or a decrease in conference attendance, since money may have to be allocated for increased travel costs. In the latter case, expect more online conferences and less in-person conferences.
Can you think of something else that will, or already has, affected interviews and job offers?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

They time you when you go to the bathroom?

According to this article from WSJ Online, the employee monitoring system has gone hi-tech, allowing companies to monitor the computer activity of their freelancers and telecommuters as the workers work in their home offices. If you want to use the services to score a gig, you may have to play by their monitoring rules--but I really want to know that the program isn't watching my activity when I am not "at work".

And what was cricketfan thinking?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Job-hunting Online

Job-Hunting Online is a member to the best-selling What Color is your Parachute? series--the principal book in this series is released in a new version each year--which is probably one of the most well-known career guidance series. The author, Richard Bolles, has managed to create a career management empire with materials for job seekers, including special audiences such as teenagers and the "disabled", and for career counsellors. This volume focuses on the Internet and its resources for job seekers.

This book is a general job guide, meaning it is suitable for everyone who wants to use the Internet to find work, but that doesn't mean that librarians can't get something out of it. First, the two Bolles are skeptical about the overall effectiveness of a one method, Internet-or-bust, job search strategy and they assess how effective each type of resource is for finding work. Sites that have a cost to use are identified with a dollar sign, but the majority of resources are free. There is good coverage for using major job sites to find work, finding career advice, like getting in touch with a counselor, and using the Internet for networking. Most librarians are going to be fairly technically savvy--they flog us with mouse cords in library school--but if you had to find an Internet guide for an irregular Internet user, this would be the one that I would give them to get started. I also like this one better than the Guide to Online Job Searching--though I haven't looked at this year's edition yet--since the Bolles' book is tied to an actual job seeking strategy that looks at how effective a site is, not just the resources available on the site.

The authors also tie the book's resources to the job seeking strategies outlined in What Color is Your Parachute?--and if you think the Internet is the best place to find a job, march straight over to your library and pick up a copy of Parachute (you need it).

Many of the links, with slightly different categorization, are available on Bolles' portal JobHuntersBible.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Courses that may help you find a library job

There are some courses that you may have taken, as part of your undergrad or just for personal interest, that you may not have thought to mention when you were applying or interviewing for a library job.
  • Have you taken a budgeting or personal finance class? I'm not thinking about applying your skills to the library budget, but there may be an increase in programming in libraries toward helping people deal with tightening household budgets. You would have at least the basic vocabulary and, possibly, contacts, to assist with collection development or programming in those areas. Take a look at this article from the Consumerist and see how many ways library programming and services can help people during an economic downturn. (Yes, we do it all the time, but people notice it more during tough times.)
  • Did you volunteer to help people fill out their taxes? Again, similar to the finance class, you may know of resources and books that could help patrons. Make sure that you are not giving advice, but that you know where to find the best advice.
  • Done any photography or videography? Many libraries are increasing their use of YouTube (or other educational video sites) and Flickr to create innovative book talks or instructional materials for their staff and patrons. 
  • Know your way around an application form? People need to get student loans, they need to take tests to get accepted into certain professions and occupations, they need to write application letters, personal statements and conduct informational interviews--kinda sounds like an application to library school. More than that, what books did you use, who did you talk to, and use your experience to help others.
  • You can search the Internet. Like a fiend. Can you find job postings? Use a vertical search engine? Find out about small business loans? Find free e-books and resources on a particular topic? It's still magic to a lot of people.
Think of some of the "survival" skills that you have that would assist others, and I am sure you can come up with some innovative ways to help a new library employer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Libraries, live--from India?

This article from FUMSI reiterates some of the usual advice--stay visible, save money, talk to people--but one of the things that made my heart stutter: outsourcing library or information jobs to India. It's part of the overall trend: programmer jobs, journalism and reporting, call centres, payroll and healthcare services. Why not librarians, especially in the parts of the field that are (F2F) low touch:
  • collection development
  • cataloging
  • ask-a-question IM services
  • website design and maintenance
You wouldn't think that they could pay librarians less for the work they do but some companies may have found a way.