Beyond Basics in Job Searches

by Brad McNally, Head Editor, INALJ Ohio

Beyond Basics in Job Searches

bradmcnallyMany job seekers do the same basic things – read job ads, submit resumes, and hope. When I was an undergraduate, I checked the newspaper each day for job postings and then the online job boards for postings in the general area. I had six different jobs in three years while I was a student, not to mention starting my freelance business. Only one of these jobs came from reading the job ads, and they were basic positions (restaurant cook, on campus tutor, front desk staff at a business, etc.). The rest came from networking. Doing a basic search will only help you so much.

Online magazine Primer posted an article by Chris Reed a short time ago – his advice is simple: go beyond the basic job search and you will have a much better shot at landing a job. Here’s how a few of those tips apply to the information science field:

Do Your Homework

This one is obvious, and many of us have heard it before, but I continually hear interviewers complain that the applicant knew nothing about the company when they showed up for the interview. This can be your advantage: information science folks are generally great at finding out information. (Makes so much sense, right?) If you really want to dig deep, one thing I would recommend approaching institution research as if you were going to invest money in it. In truth, you are investing yourself in the company if you take the job – you should know basic information as before you submit your resume.

Tell Stories

You might look good on paper and get to the interview stage, but if all you do is tell the interviewer about your skills and abilities you may be shorting yourself. Basically, approach with the idea that you can tell them a story about a time when you put your skills to work and showed how great you are. Especially if an employer uses behavioral interviewing, this is vital. Interviewers want to know that you can handle what is coming, so use your experience (even as a volunteer or student) to show them that you can. Luckily, many information science programs leave you with artifacts that you can use to show this.


This is another place where librarians and information professionals can really shine because there is such a strong professional network in the field. Volunteering, attending conferences, and blogging are good ways to expand your network, but be sure you are doing something with that resource. Remember, you need your network to help you find a job, but at the same time you should be putting effort into helping others in your network as well.

The other tips in Chris Reed’s post are important as well, but these three specifically seem like they could help information professionals in their job searches. Good luck!