Friday, May 8, 2009

What did you do last time?

If you are looking for work, sit down and think, right now, what you did that successfully got you your last job.

Why aren't you doing it this time?

Now you may be doing what you did last time, but I am guessing that you aren't, for the following reasons:
  1. Someone prescribed a fad to you. And it might have been me, since I put up the post on Twitter. And it's fine to experiment, especially when the fad intersects with your desired job. But if the library you want to work for isn't using Twitter, you could be waiting a long time for them to catch up with you.
    Fads can work if, as I said, the fad is hot in your field, or if you are transitioning into a new field, not the one you trained for, like you're a librarian now but you want to be a marketer/a museum educator/an administrator, and you found out about your career option via the fad.
    Fads can't work if your prospective employer doesn't adhere to the fad. In this case, you're wasting your time when you should be using the traditional methods that have landed you a job in the past. Use your spare time to learn about the fad, but don't become obsessed, and therefore deluded, about its efficacy.
  2. You're graduating and you now can look for work in the field that you trained for. First, I'm going to (virtually) dope slap for waiting until you graduated. And then I am going to remind you that any of the volunteer work and the internships that you had counted as real work, even if you didn't get paid. I hope you gave them chocolates before you left, because you are going to back and do information interviews with your supervisors. One of the questions you are going to ask is how did you find out about your job? You might not want to work for them, but they may give you encouragement about your current methods, a job lead or a referral, traditional networking stuff that does work. 
  3. As a new grad, use the traditional method of using the career center to find a job. Don't roll your eyes. This is actually my last method for finding work: my last three jobs came from my post-secondary career center. So there. My summer job that led to a part-time gig during second year came from the bulletin board in the library school's administration office. Listen, use the career office: the employers have tracked you back to your lair.
My point is this: traditional methods, at least your tradition, can work to find work. You've been able to practice. You can try the unconventional, just don't become consumed by the latest fad, so much so that it sucks up all of your time.

Use the application checklist to jog your memory, and keep track of what you're doing this time.

From the world of good news, one of my co-workers was just yelling from her office that "in April, employment gains occurred in information, culture and recreation (+17,000)" (yes, in my office we holler about labor force statistics). Now, we're still sitting at 8% unemployment, and some of these jobs may be temporary for the summer, coinciding with the museum/rec centre/library upswing in summer programming, but it is still good news.

As an aside, Fortune has put together some of their reporting about getting and keeping a job in this economy. It has some ideas about how to job search--most come out in favor of networking--and the resources would be an asset if you are building a portal/pathfinder on job seeking.

Monster's revenue is down

In an earlier post, I suggested that sounding the death knell for was a bit premature and that comparing Monster to newspapers did not describe the full scope of Monster's services to employers, which are broader than traditional newspaper classifieds, and greater than the services offered by Craigslist.

Well, Monster reported their Q-1 results last month and though sales are down in relation to a weak market (fewer jobs to post, purchase less advertising--or at least, limit advertising to your own site), and their revenues are down. But it's not like they're bleeding to death:

Total revenue declined 31% to $254 million (26% excluding currency effects and acquisitions) (Source: Toronto Star).

A tiny sliver of this loss may also be accounted for in people using LinkedIn or Twitter to post available jobs. I wouldn't attribute it to competition from vertical search engines.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Library Career Fair in SL

The Library Career Fair in SL is tomorrow, and SLA has just announced that the military and government library divisions will have a booth at the fair. Since public service is one dependable area for employment (right now, at least) dropping by their booth may not be a bad idea.

And you don't even have to dress up for it.

Did you just drop out of marketing?

If you changed your class schedules around, or thought that marketing class would be a snooze, read what Meredith Farkas had to say about the importance of the sales pitch to academic librarians. Maybe it's because we don't like the word marketing, we don't like selling stuff, we don't like thinking of ourselves or knowledge as a product.

But that's the problem: the people who are buying from us do think of our services and knowledge as a product. And they understand that terminology when you begin to use it. You don't have to reinvent new words to sell something or persuade a person to understand that point. Someone has already spun that wheel.

And here is the real kicker: if it doesn't look like librarians can handle their own sales, they will hire a marketer to do it.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Careers in Fundraising

What librarian doesn't have experience looking for more money, whether eking it out of our own budgets, looking for more funds through grant applications, or networking with prospective donors. If you don't have these experiences, you might want to think about getting them.

How would you get these jobs?

You do not need to have an undergraduate degree in business, though that could help. The Certified Public Library Administrator program does offer a course on Fundraising/Granstmanship that might offer a good introduction to the topic. There are also a few books from the ALA on the topic, such as Fundraising and Friend-raising on the Web (I hope they are planning a new edition), or Becoming a Fundraiser. The CFRE also provides a list of fundraising compentencies; see how many you currently have.

If you're currently a librarian, you should be looking for opportunities to do research in fund raising and networking with prospects who could give money to the library. There might be some training opportunities with your local Chamber of Commerce, (you can use the World Chambers of Commerce directory to find your local), as well as networking events that will put you in touch with local business people. Obviously, working with your community and its patrons in general can also be an asset.

If you current job will not allow you to get experience in any of those areas, consider some of the opportunities available to volunteers locally, or use Idealist to find ones that you may be able to volunteer for remotely. You don't necessarily have to agree to go out canvassing for your local charity, since someone has already done the research in those cases.

If you're a student:

Obviously, the management principles course would be helpful. Write a paper on fundraising. You can probably get some experience in the field, as a student, if your development office has student positions available during the school year. You can, of course, volunteer to do fundraising, and taking on some of the entry-level positions, such as calling alumni for donations, is a good introduction to see if you can hack it in this field.

When you look for jobs online use fundraising, fund development, gifts, donor, development, as some of your keywords until you hit on the ones used most frequently for the types of jobs that appeal to you.

Sample Job Postings: