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Understand and communicate your value proposition

Once you have a good sense of what types of jobs you find interesting and the skills required for those jobs, your next step is to clearly understand how to position your strengths for a potential employer in a way that aligns with the organization’s needs as identified in the job postings you’ve read.

Overall, you want to target all of your “messages,” that is, your resume, cover letter, and interview responses, toward one key value statement: “I am the solution to your problem.” When you’re ready to apply for a job, your goal is to learn, from the job posting and doing as much research on the organization as possible, what problem, challenge, or opportunity it’s trying to address through the posted position, and then focus entirely on the value you bring that will help it successfully do so.

Basically, your communications should showcase four things:


The interview disconnect: why should we hire you?

Your ultimate goal for every interview meeting is to
make it easy for them to decide to hire you.
– Anne Langley


Working toward a dynamic, rewarding, opportunity-driven LIS career? If so, you’re likely to change jobs and possibly career directions at least several times (if not ten to twenty). Each one of those changes will probably involve a job interview. I know – arghhhh!

The good news? Learning a few must-have moves will help you, as librarian/author Robin O’Hanlon would say, ace the interview. (I cannot recommend her book, the source of Anne Langley’s quote, highly enough: Ace the Interview, Land a Librarian Job, Libraries Unlimited, 2016.)

There is one specific area, however, that you may want to really focus on. (more…)

Social intelligence, your boss, and you


A socially intelligent leader helps people contain and recover from their emotional distress.
If only from a business perspective, a leader would do well to react with empathy rather than indifference – and to act on it.

– Daniel Goleman, Social Intelligence

One of my 2018 goals was to read lots more books by authors I admired, including Dr. Daniel Goleman’s Social Intelligence: The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships (Bantam, 2006). Yep, that would be the Daniel Goleman who launched a publishing cottage industry with his Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ (Bantam, 2005).

You may have noticed I’m just barely skinnying this particular goal under my end-of-year deadline, but I’m happy to report that Social Intelligence was both worth the wait and the late nights spent making that deadline. Why? Because so much of what Social Intelligence addresses has an immediate and important application to your LIS career satisfaction. (more…)

Where LIS jobs are, what they pay for recent grads

Our snapshot shows placements are resurging in traditional library settings,
as well as continuing to gain strength in nontraditional areas that
benefit from classic LIS skill sets.
– Dr. Suzie Allard,
Library Journal’s Placements & Salaries 2018 report


Library Journal has released its annual Placements & Salaries report, and as always, the findings are pretty fascinating regardless of what LIS career path you’re considering. The depth and breadth of research completed by author Dr. Suzie Allard (University of Tennessee-Knoxville) is, as always, amazing and insightful. Some key points: (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.