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Becoming a free-agent learner: 7 learning hacks to level up your LIS skills

We live in the age of the free-agent learner – which is really good news for LIS professionals. Because as a free-agent learner, regardless of your circumstances, you’ve got multiple ways to expand your skill set.

Which options work best for you?
You get to determine which options are best for you at any given time. To do that, it helps to ask yourself some key questions.

For example, do you prefer a formal learning experience (that is, interacting with an instructor in a face-to-face or online classroom, either with fellow students or independently)? Or perhaps an informal experience, such as working with a mentor or learning community, reading a book, taking an online tutorial? (more…)

How to keep a career time-out from becoming a career drop-out

Perhaps you’ve decided to stay home to spend more time with your young children for several years.

Or your elderly parents are beginning to need more attention from you and it’s compromising your ability to work full-time.

Or you’ve had a major health setback, and recovery is likely to sideline you for a substantial period of time.

A career timeout, however, doesn’t have to mean career derailment. By staying professionally engaged and connected, you’ll be able to keep doors open for you when you’re ready to return.  (more…)

I didn’t even know that job existed!

young woman smiling hitting her head - aha momentOne of the downsides of giving LIS students and professionals career advice is that you’ve pretty much got to follow your own advice if you want to have any credibility at all (translation from my students: “do as I say, not as I do” isn’t going to fly!).

So with that in mind, I’m following one of my key career mantras, which is to never stop learning new stuff. I decided to teach myself how to create e-books so I could share more of the webinar information I provide for students at LIS grad schools. (more…)

Making the most of your starter job

Or, why you should consider that job in Smalltown, USA

 

Female student working in the libraryRecently I had an opportunity to work with a young woman who had just graduated from an MLIS program. She was unsure of how to proceed with her job search given the precarious job market for librarians (and everybody else).

This young woman had never worked in a library before, and, like many of us when we complete our degrees, wanted to get a job in the same town where her university was located. But the reality is that with little or no library experience and facing the stiff competition that comes in an area flooded with fellow MLIS graduates, this young woman’s job prospects would be dim at best.

In fact, probably her best opportunities lie in a direction often avoided if not dismissed by recent grads: working for a library in Smalltown, USA.

(more…)

Career branding for introverts

How to tell the world you’re terrific when you don’t want to talk to anybody

 

Personal branding – showcasing your professional strengths – is one of the most important aspects of building a resilient career. However, if you’re an introvert, the idea of telling others about yourself can be unnerving at best, nausea-inducing at worst.

So what if your “elevator speech” generally consists of a muttered “which floor do you want?” The good news is that you’re living in the right era, because these days you can do a major portion of your brand-building online. (more…)

Use Google for Scholarly Research? Yep, and Here’s How

Harnessing Power of GoogleIn his excellent guide Harnessing the Power of Google: What Every Researcher Should Know (Libraries Unlimited, 2017), author Christopher C. Brown asserts that:

Librarians often hear from students that their instructor said not to use Google in their research. I believe that what is meant in most cases is that students shouldn’t only use resources that they just found with simple Google searches. Too many times students cite Wikipedia as an authority for their research. But what this book is arguing is that there is a proper place for Google in academic research.

Not only does the author argue his point successfully, he does every academic librarian and serious researcher the favor of showing them how to use Google so that it truly can become a credible component of rigorous scholarly and business research. (more…)

Handling the interview stumper: what’s your biggest weakness?

For most people, just talking about their strengths in an interview can be pretty challenging.

But talking about your weaknesses in a way that doesn’t sink your hiring prospects can feel even more challenging. Most of us can come up with plenty of weaknesses, but which one is okay to mention in an interview situation that won’t immediately doom you to the “rejects” pile?

One way to approach your response is to consider what an interviewer is trying to learn from the weaknesses question. Essentially, the goal is to not to make you feel unbelievable awkward, but rather to understand how well you know yourself (your self-awareness skills). Then, they’ll want to know how you would plan to address that weakness, or what steps you’ve taken to start working on it.

So what should you say (or not)? (more…)

How Portable is Your Professional Brand?

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By now most of us have gotten the message that we’re all self-employed, regardless of whom we work for.

We’re in charge of our careers and job opportunities, and that means being ready to land on our feet should a pink slip happen to land on our desk.

And a big part of that “being ready” is making sure that you’ve built up professional visibility – your brand – outside your employer.

Although losing a job is tough, finding a new one will be much easier if you’ve taken steps to become professionally visible outside the universe of your company and co-workers. What are some of the best (and easiest) ways you can do this? (more…)

What should you wear to an interview? It depends

Do an online search on tips on dressing for an interview and you’ll get lots of help – about 11.5 million hits, in fact. Everyone has very definitive “do’s and don’ts,” but the reality is that each work environment – and job within that environment – is at least slightly different from every other one.

Not only that, you’re equally unique. You may, in fact, have an amazing sense of personal style that enables you to pull off wardrobe choices that brilliantly speak to your strengths (rather than revealing your utter lack of fashion savvy, which is the case for many of us…).

Given the wide range of variables that may play into your choice of attire, one of the best ways to approach pulling together an interview outfit is to think about:

  1. the type of organization you’re interviewing with;
  2. the role you’re hoping to play within that organization; and
  3. what outfit makes you feel both comfortable and confident.

(more…)

Interview coming up? Questions to get to know them while they get to know you

One of the best ways to distinguish yourself among other job applicants is to ask thoughtful, targeted questions during your interview, both in response to questions asked of you during the interview and at the end of the interview, when most applicants are asked if they have any questions to ask of the interviewer or interviewing panel.

Assume you may go through at least a couple of interviews, and use each one to ask questions that will give you additional insight not only into the job itself, but also into your potential boss’s management style and the company’s or department’s culture.

First interview questions – getting the lay of the land

If it’s your first interview, you’ll probably want to ask basic questions about the organization, doing so in such a way that indicates you’ve already gained a good understanding of the employer and its industry (including libraries). For example, “My research indicates that [company] is known for outstanding customer support. Are there ways in which this job supports that effort?” Other questions might include: (more…)