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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.

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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…)

Find – and tell – your story

How to pull the narrative threads from your chaotic eclectic career

Recently I worked with an MLIS student whose resume prior to grad school was primarily retail, clerical, and a number of nanny jobs. She was stymied about how to weave her job experience – which ostensibly had nothing to do with LIS work – into a strong enough narrative to convince employers to take a chance on her.

Many of us have been there, done that. (more…)

Career takeaways from LJ’s 2016 Placements and Salaries report

jobs-in-block-lettersThe recently published Library Journal annual “Placements and Salaries” report, written by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s Suzie Allard, once again provides fascinating insights into how new graduates are faring in the LIS job market.  (Shout-out to Library Journal for continuing to annually undertake and publicly share this information with the profession.)

The good news: to quote Dr. Allard, graduates are looking at “a healthy job market characterized by rising salary levels and work that calls for both traditional and nontraditional skills and roles.”

Key take-aways: (more…)

Job-hunting? 5 ways to help your network help you

Yep, asking your network for job-hunting help can sometimes feel awkward.

But did you know that experts say less than one in three jobs results from an online application? That one statistic alone should quickly vault “reaching out to my community of colleagues” to the top of your job-hunting tactics list.

In order to give your outreach efforts (and your contacts) the best chance of actually being able to help you find a job, however, it’s important to do some prep work first.

Do these three things first
Before you send that first e-mail or make that first phone call request, you need to: (more…)

Social proof – when others tell the world how terrific you are

Yeah, yeah, yeah – you keep hearing that you should have at least a few recommendations from significant others (like previous bosses, not your spouse) on your LinkedIn profile page, but really – is it that important?

Actually yes, and the reason it is that important is a concept called “social proof” – which is when someone respected by others affirms your worth or value to them. In the same way you’ll try a new restaurant because your friend the foodie swears it’s terrific, social proof lets us substitute the judgment of a trusted friend, colleague, or professional for our own first-hand knowledge. Based on their (knowledgeable) judgment, we’ll give it a go.

Forms of social proof
In the online world, there are a number of ways to provide social proof. For example: (more…)