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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…)

You are a business of one

We are all self-employed.

In effect, you are renting your skills out to your current employer.

This is an especially tough idea for those of us in the LIS profession to come to grips with, because we’re trained to think of ourselves as being part of a helping community. And that’s true, we are. But it’s also true that every aspect of the profession – both traditional and nontraditional – has been affected by financial realities that lead to budget constraints if not cuts and layoffs. What does that mean for your career? (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…)

No job-hunting traction? Consider LIS temp, staffing, recruiting, and outsourcing agencies

In a tough job market, finding alternative ways to get your foot in the door of prospective employers can give you a serious competitive edge. One of the best of those alternative strategies? Signing up with one of the temp, staffing, recruiting, or outsourcing agencies that specialize in information work. (For more on the benefits of temporary gigs, see 6 Ways Temping Can Help Build Your LIS Career.)

What’s the difference among these types of firms?

Although there’s often overlap among these four terms, you can make some general assumptions when you hear these terms. (more…)

6 Ways Temping Can Help Build Your LIS Career

When you’re at a career transition point – say, just starting out in your career, struggling to find a job, or needing to “get a foot in the door” after a move to a new community – working a temporary job, or “temping,” can be your best friend.

It can also be a great solution for those who simply prefer the variety of temporary or project work to the predictability of a permanent position.

Temping Can Help Build Your LIS Career Options
In terms of career benefits, temporary LIS work provides you with opportunities to: (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…)

10 signs your LIS job might be at risk from smart machines

If we peer into the future of LIS careers, are there indicators that might signal what types of LIS jobs are most at risk for being automated or taken over by smart machines? (See Will smart machines compete for LIS jobs for more background on this  issue.)

Although automation is likely to impact different areas of LIS work in terms of when, and by how much, these changes disrupt our assumptions, authors Thomas Davenport and Julia Kirby suggest 10 job characteristics likely to result in worker replacement (or displacement) through automation in their Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines (HarperCollins, 2016).

Job characteristics that lend themselves to LIS job automation
According to the authors, the 10 job characteristics most likely to suggest it’s time to start watching your back are: (more…)

Will smart machines compete for LIS jobs?

In my work with LIS students and practitioners throughout the country, we often focus on where the new jobs and career paths might be emerging – which is a smart, useful approach. But the corollary question, and especially important if you are considering building a specific LIS skill set, is where the disappearing jobs and career paths are likely to be.

Will automation affect LIS jobs? Without question. Perhaps a more realistic question to ask might be what aspects of LIS work are likely to be replaced by automation or robotic intelligence?

Because if recent studies are any guide, the question isn’t if automation will replace information work, but rather how soon, and by how much. (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…)

LinkedIn recommendations – letters of recommendation, only better

In the old days, people would arrive for interviews with printed copies of letters of recommendation. Resumes would state “references available upon request.”

Now, however, as a jobseeker you have a much better and more effective way to showcase your strengths. When someone submits a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile, that recommendation can be seen 24/7, without you having to “present” it to an interviewer. (This is especially important when the majority of hiring managers will check out your LinkedIn profile before making a decision to interview you.)

Are LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations the same?
Not even close. (more…)