NELLS Leaders Looking for Jobs

Why are we here? Some are looking to polish their resumes, some are wondering where we should be looking for jobs, and others for skills in dealing with budget cuts and layoffs.

The program was facilitated by NELLS Co-Chairs Cheryl Bryan and Betsy Bray and Assistant Director for Human Resources at Cambridge (MA) Public Library Bertha Chandler.

Cheryl spoke on the subject of the Resume: The purpose of the resume is to get you an interview. Using a different colored (ivory or grey) paper is recommended. Do not add photos to your resume.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What are they looking for-what are their needs? Do not make it about what the job can do for you. Inform yourself about the position. Make your resume focus on how you fit the position. Begin with action verbs and avoid personal pronouns such as “I”, “me” or “my”.  Employers spend 25-40 seconds looking at your resume-make yours stand out.

The top part of your resume is the hot zone. Make it concise and coordinated. Be careful of mission statements on resumes-if you use one tailor it to the position you are applying for.

There are two types of resumes 1. Chronological  2. Functional

Functional format showcases your qualifications. This type of resume is good for those with diverse work history, little or no work experience, making career changes.  

References: Have people who can be positive about what it is like to work with you.  Do not put anyone on your list of references without their knowledge. You may put a few references and if interviewed present more references. A good reference list may speak highly of you and give you an in on an interview.  Simple reference list is all that is needed-do not attach actual reference letters unless requested.

Cover Letters:  Again-color is important. Cover letters are very important. It is an opportunity to sell yourself. Spell check-proofread–no typos or incorrect grammer!!  Tell the employer what position you are applying for and why you would be a good fit-what value you would add to the organization. You may explain gaps in employment or changing your career focus. Thank them for considering you for the position. Request and interview and follow-up (phone call to verify your resume was reviewed).  Be specific and use examples.

Hiring is a big investment for an organization.  Hiring in public libraries generally looks for follow-up phone calls-where academic libraries may be different-an email may be more appropriate. A job search committee most likely can not take phone calls. Point is-in a cover letter do not say you are going follow-up call and do not.

Email applications: Play attention to your e-mail address and subject line. Do not use emoticons and shortcuts.  Set up the email just like a cover letter. Do you reply or start a new string? Reply-it is good to look back.

If someone writes back an email and signs just their first name-is it ok reply with just their first name? Yes

“What color is your parachute”   by Richard Nelson Bolles is a great resource and likens an interview to going on a first date.

Interview Points:

Do not talk to much.

Behavioral Interviewing: Practice in front of friends or mirror. Think of stories of how you have handled different situations.

Research the organization you are applying to. How can you prove you are a good fit for the organization if know nothing about them.  Checkout budgets and online board minutes.  Networking can lead to some valuable information.

Be nice to everyone. The entire staff is checking you out.

Tell us about yourself: Do not start with where you were born-preschool. Begin with your skills that pertain to the job you are applying for.

Speaker Phone-Web Cam Interviews: phone manners-voice become very important. It was suggested to take notes of the interviewers names.

Presentation: Sometimes you may be required to present. Be prepared.

Take an index card: 3 questions you want to ask the employer and 3 great points on yourself-so at the end of the interview when you are feeling shot and they ask “do you have any questions” – pull out this card

Be on time!  Firm handshake.   Smile.  Eye contact during the interview. Body posture-sit up straight. Watch body language of those interviewing-they will let you know you are going on too long. Its ok to pause-think. Bring a pad of paper-bring out at the beginning of the interview.

Do not ask about salary or health benefits at the interview-only if a job is offered. Board relationship and perception of the library questions are good.

Do you mention your family? It is appropriate to mention you are looking to relocate to be close to family. If in a small town and people know you it is appropriate to mention you have child care in place.

Good question to ask? “What do you like best about working in this library?”

In a library-look for people people.  Retail experience can be a plus on an resume-you have dealt with difficult people.

As a candidate you have to be ready to present yourself sometimes to groups with little interviewing skills and you may be presented with some poor questions.

Do organizations notice when you apply for several positions over time and should I continue to apply to this organization? Yes – keep trying.  Sometimes you can not see the reasons why you were not hired. It may have nothing to do with you, but be totally organizational-may not be negative.

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