7 (Must-Have) Tools for Your Job Hunting Kit

by Naomi House, MLIS

7 (Must-Have) Tools for Your Job Hunting Kit

DSCN0229Most of us already use tools in our job hunt but what we may not be doing is using them together.  Tools are different from characteristics and attitudes because they are things that you use- not aspects of who you are.  Especially where social media is concerned, our online presence can help us connect and network with potential employers no matter where we are. Even with a social media presence it is still important to write further and in depth about what you feel passionate about.  Whether you are a current MLS student, recent grad, seasoned pro, or someone transitioning into the information sciences field, the following tools when used together can assist in making your job hunt easier.

7 tools for your job hunting kit

  1. Actively used Twitter/Facebook profiles: I still read library journals and publications but some of the most important discussions in our field are happening on #tweetchats and Facebook groups.  What social media gives us is the chance to interact with thought leaders in our field no matter if you are transitioning into this career from another one or you are a student.  Your voice, perspectives, thoughts and more can be heard on these platforms by people who are looking to hire.
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    Some of my favorite tweetchats are  #libchat   #uklibchat   #slatalk   #medlibs  #tchat  and of course, #inaljchat.  Share yours in the comments.
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  2. Blog/Tumblr self publications:  Tumblr and personal blogs are a great communication tool and one way beyond the interview that you can make an impression on potential employers.  Though Twitter and Facebook are great conversational tools Tumblr and personal blogs are great for long form musings which you can link to on social media.  There are many great blogging tools but the one I use is WordPress.  Be sure to include a web based resumé that you update regularly as well if you have a blog.
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    You can find some fantastic Tumblrarians listed online and for blog platforms I have found WordPress to be intuitive.  For further info read this handy primer on Tumblr for librarians by the #1 most read library blogger, The Lifeguard Librarian, Kate Tkacik.  Spoiler alert, Tumblr got her a job!  Which ones do you recommend?  Share in the comments.
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  3. Presenting:  I am old school.  I use PowerPoint for nearly every presentation I give but I know that this is not the only presentation tool I need so whenever I see a remarkable presentation I always find out which tool the presenter used, usually by asking them on Twitter.  Mostly the ones I am drawn to use Prezi or PowerPoint.  It isn’t enough just to know these tools but you have to use them.  Haven’t been asked to present yet? No problem- this is another type of posting you can host on your blog and then share on FB/Twitter and LinkedIn.  What do you feel comfortable presenting on and how would you best communicate that concept? Then create using one of those tools and self-publish.  You can also link to these self published presentations on your online resumé as well.  This is one way to boost your profile to potential employers.
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    The two I see most often are Microsoft Office’s PowerPoint and Prezi.  Share below any other great presentation tools.  Also Steven Bell recommends that if you become a regular speaker that you get a clicker that has a timer on it so you don’t have to check your watch to see if you are running over the allotted time.
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  4. Actively used LinkedIn profile:  It isn’t enough to just have a LinkedIn profile, it must be regularly updated; you must hunt for jobs on LinkedIn and you should become active in job hunting related LinkedIn groups.  These groups are important ways to seek out information on better job hunting strategies and to connect with potential employers.  LinkedIn seems more official than Twitter and Facebook and is something potential employers often assume you should have.  For me the benefit has been in connecting with my peers and with people I have networked with in order to find more jobs.  I harvest from LinkedIn and can’t recommend it enough for finding jobs in corporations, especially.  It does not tie in to the other tools so much as compliments them.  I do link to my blog, Twitter account and more on my LinkedIn page and vice versa.
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    Some of my favorite job hunting LinkedIn groups for info pros can be found here.  What are your favorites?  Place in the comments below.
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  5. Committees & Associations:   Being a member of an association is important because it shows that you are interested in the larger field, but to really help yourself meet people who can help you land a job you have to be active on committees and volunteer with associations.  Think of it as a non-job way of showing your skills and work ethic. Remember that making a good impression, being timely in your assignments can be critical- you will make an impression just be sure it is a good one otherwise you will hurt your job hunting chances.
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    The American Library Association (ALA) is the big one to join in the US and also check out their state chapters as well.  I am a member of the Special Libraries Association (SLA); think of it as perfect for anyone who specializes in a field (corporate, universities, government, etc).  Also look at associations in other fields like subject specialties (if you are Science Librarian look at joining a science association) and related fields such as prospect research (APRA) and competitive intelligence (SCiP) as well as leadership societies (85 Broads or Toastmasters).  What associations are you a member of?  Paste in the comments below.  Also check out our tweetchat on associations at #inaljchat.
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  6. Know Your Sites & Listservs:  It is vital that your job hunting toolkit has a varied collection of web jobs resources. These will be different person to person based on whether you are hunting by region, job type or if you are open to many outside the box jobs.  If you are hunting in one or two regions be sure that you are on multiple listservs for associations and universities in those areas.  If you are hunting by job type (archivists, tech jobs, etc) listservs for associations can be vital in finding jobs not listed elsewhere.  For government jobs remember that many government contractors are not specialists in our field so you may have to check their HR sites individually.  Listservs are a must follow for job hunters because often they post jobs first.  Be careful with job-scrapers as many nationally recognized job-scrapers have expired jobs on them.  And as always INALJ has all our jobs in one spot pulled from hundreds of sites and listservs.You should be following your local SLA listservs as well as any committee or sections that interest you for ALA.  Also follow local MLS program listservs in regions/cities/ areas that you are looking for jobs.
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    I follow any association listservs that will let me, even if I am not a member.  Looks at associations in related fields too for jobs on their regular web job boards such as SCiP, APRA and Code4lib jobs. Some of the ones INALJ scrapes from can be found here.
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  7. Informational Interviews:  Usually when I present on job hunting strategies someone will point out that the information I am providing is not specific enough to their situation and go on to ask me what they can do to get a job at their local public library.  The answer to that can only be found with the staff of that public library system.  Each library system (university, public corporate, government) has very rules and regulations.  This is why joining local associations and volunteering with them can give you a leg in, but you need more.  You need to pick their brains and the tool I have found that works best is the informational interview.  An informational interview is where you interview someone in a job or workplace that you aspire to, and find out what their job is like and even what they look for in candidates.
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    INALJ has several articles on informational interviews and I also recommend that you familiarize yourself with Ask a Manager and Library Career People as places to harvest great interview and job hunting skills from.  What tips do you have for informational interviewing?  Share in the comments below.

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Remember that none of these tools are guaranteed to get you a job, but they may increase your chances.  Tools help but so do personal characteristics.  People want to hire people that would be great to work with so remember that smiling, asking thoughtful questions in an interview and your digital reputation are important as well.  These 7 tools have made a difference in my own job hunts and all need to be taken into consideration by job hunters.  Are you doing everything you can in the most effective way to become known in the field as a great potential candidate?  And are you being efficient with your time?  These are questions this toolkit hopes to help you with.

We would love to hear your constructive and great ideas in the comments below!

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job).

Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ.com. INALJ has had over 18.5 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month.

Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 & 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro. She presents whenever she can, most recently thrice at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference as well as breakout talk presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa and as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting, at the National Press Club, McGill University, the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has relocated to being nomadic. She runs her husband’s moving labor website, KhanMoving.com, fixes and sells old houses and assists her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food as well. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.

 

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  2 comments for “7 (Must-Have) Tools for Your Job Hunting Kit

  1. Therese Triumph
    April 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    One of the best articles I have read is “How to Land a Library Job” by Brian Kenney (8/02/2013) published in PW. Kenney mentioned INALJ (of course) and the best prep for interviewing, a Google doc called “Library Interview Questions ‘Database.'” The questions are very “real” and can be sorted by library type and interview level.

  2. April 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I do many of these things, but one thing I haven’t thought of is creating presentations in lieu of blog posts (for example), using Prezi or PowerPoint. That’s a great idea, and I look forward to getting started on one.

    I too, am a member of SLA – and am finding that volunteering in the local chapter has been one of the best opportunities for personal and professional growth I’ve had since graduating with my MLIS. The IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) is a leading international library association, and I’d recommend that anyone interested in building a network or working overseas join or follow them.

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