Saturday, June 20, 2009

Poster child

The First Librarian blog was a project that I started when I was invited to speak at a class about job search skills for librarians. The blog has held on to that focus, and I still write posts about librarians looking for work, but, just like the larger economic picture always affects the individual, the economy and the labor market has crept into this blog.

I also find myself writing sometimes about business and career books, which isn't a surprise because that is the type of library that I work in. I also find it difficult to some times find review sources for career books--and this means that there is a lot of crap on the ground. Or telling the same tired story over and over again to clients: oh, the best career book is What Color is your Parachute? Have you ever read, What Color is Your Parachute? And that is not to say that What Color is Your Parachute? is a bad book, just that it has become a cliche for people who don't know about other resources to always suggest that book. It's like picking a mystery novel for someone and saying, after Agatha Christie don't bother. You might even believe that, but it just reveals an ignorance of individual reading tastes. When it comes to career books, there are individual needs that are greater than a standard sized career book.

And then there is absolutely useless tripe like Don't Use a Resume, Send a Qualifications Brief which we keep in the library for comparison purposes and actually have a sticker on that says, don't follow the advice in this book, come to the desk and see a grown up for guidance. We can't leave it without the sticker because we don't want people who need to pay the rent to remain unemployed--but we also like to use it as a tool to show what not to do.

There are also career books that have an overtly Christian viewpoint, such as Suddenly Unemployed, which even gives guidance about workplace behavior or behavior when your laid off that includes scriptural references. That book really won't cut it for your clients who don't share that view of heaven. But there aren't that many books out there that deal with unemployment--yet, though there are more coming out all the time.

What this post is indicating is not that the blog will vanish, but just that I want to take a wider view of the world of careers and libraries. So I will still post about library career information and work search tools, but I am also going to post about the economy, especially when it affects the labor market, and include some career book reviews.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Don't include a cover letter?

This post from BNET refers to the advice from David Silverman, a business writing teacher, to not include a letter when you are applying for work. Here is the one reason you would not include a cover letter:
  • The employer told you not to
Here are the reasons why applicants don't include a cover letter:
  • They put together their application at 11:58 when the posting closes at 12 midnight
  • They think their name or their mother's brother's uncle will get them an interview
  • They can't write
Those all look pretty bad--when they converge, it is a cold call from the applicant abyss.

There aren't many library jobs (ok, there are no library jobs) where you would never have to write. You have to verbalize everything in libraries and articulate directions. The cover letter is how you show them you can do that, so you get into the interview and demonstrate your speaking and persuasive abilities.

Ignore people who tell you not to worry about the cover letter--unless the employer has directly told you to leave it off for some reason.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New rules of job search

NPR's Business Story of the Day on June 17, 2009 was a story about the changing nature of job search. The tone isn't pro-technology so much as learn how to use web technology--especially online networking--better.

Seeks success stories

The ALA Emerging Leaders Group G is looking for success stories from librarians who have used ALA Human Resource services to find work:

If you found the perfect job thorough the ALA Placement Center, located the perfect candidate at a conference or successfully revamped your resume with the resume review service in the Placement Center, the group wants to hear about it. No story is too small, no story too large. (Original call with details on how to submit)

You can submit via email or on YouTube.

People, not corporations

I came across the book Life Inc. while browsing on the 800 CEO Read Blog (which is a great blog for business books if you are a business librarian or thinking about specializing in business reference) and based on the movie, I think that this book might be the break-out book for business for this summer.

The movie is only 9 minutes and it is also available on the book's website for download.

Life Inc. The Movie from Douglas Rushkoff on Vimeo.

Life Inc. may be the next step after The Corporation (you can watch the whole thing on YouTube) which if you haven't seen it, you should take the time to watch it.

Update: a colleague of mine pointed out that Life Inc also makes similar points to the Story of Stuff, her favorite YouTube Video:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Twitter skillz

So, I might not be convinced that you can twitter for work--depending on your industry--but it appears that if you have some Twitter skillz, you can find a job. SimplyHired just announced a twitter job trend graph that shows the increase in postings that add Twitter to the description--as a Twitter programmer for example, or as a social media expert with experience using Twitter.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Career counseling

Georgina Laidlaw, writing on Web Worker Daily, posts about her experience with a career counselor and how it helped her become more focused.

I can actually understand why a marketer may want to become a groundskeeper, if only for a day. (If you have similar I would like to try this job feelings, may I suggest Vocation Vacations.