Archives for posts with tag: job search

The Globe and Mail had an article yesterday about the Canadian Federal Government upgrading the “Working in Canada” website to “let Canadians know what jobs will be required in the long term so students who are planning their education can look ahead and plan their careers.”

The good database-friendly librarian that I am, I went to take it for a test spin using an obvious keyword. Here is the result for “librarian“:

Librarians (NOC 5111-A)

Librarians select, develop, organize and maintain library collections and provide advisory services for users. They are employed in libraries or in a department within a library.
Included job titles: bibliographer, cataloguer – library, cybrarian, librarian, library consultant, library

There is related result for library managers, too. It is possible to think that this description is a little lacking. To be fair the description of essential skills is not too bad, but it’s a little sterile in my opinion. As a Data-fixer, the closest (non-librarian) job description is Database Analysts and Data Administrators. Right now, I’d say I’m somewhere between librarian and that.

This has me thinking about how I describe what I do to people I meet and potential employees.

What librarians do is important and relevant, but there is a sense that the name is still left in the dusty book shelves of old preconceptions. And, the job description the Feds are using  doesn’t look like it’ll help break down those stereotypes. Moreover, for people looking to sell themselves to employers or for employers looking to find people that can do what LIS people do, it’s really not that helpful.

There is something to the “Librarian” brand that we can and do capitalize on. I’ve watched the on-going  dialogue about the librarian term and new terms that are creeping into our job titles. I am totally fine with this.

If you think about it, I could just as well be a “Database Analyst”, but I prefer “Librarian.” This is perhaps because it signifies something greater, perhaps a commitment to values or a connection to a tradition of practice. Other job titles just don’t seem to carry the same weight.

I’m sure that we can all agree that writing cover letters is the worst. Any MLIS grad can probably relate to how frustrating it can be. Like when you’re excited about a job that is just a little off of where you usually plant your applications, and you just can’t get the mix in your letter right.

Recently, I found a posting that looked like it was written for me (except for a few things I’d have to pick up on the fly, but hey that’s what comes with new jobs). I sat down to write the cover letter, and bim bam boom a few hours later I was still staring at only a few sentences.

Now, there is a lot of pretty straight forward cover letter advice out there. The problem is that the questions involved are far from formulaic and almost demand existential guesses: Why do I want this job? Why will you want me for that job? And so on. With that starting point, boiling my work and school life down to a tasty demi-glace of a letter leaves my mind annoyingly blank. Read the rest of this entry »

This came to me via @indie_librarian via (@wawoodworth)

More details on this event here. (Note: fans of the #Partyhard library agenda are probably in love with this idea.) Also, check out this design contest.  It’s a pretty hip and locally driven aesthetic they’re breeding. As a design minded fellow, I can’t understate how much I like this kind of stuff. Good on you, CPL.

I saw all this and suddenly wanted a job at the Chicago Public Library. But really, what I want is a job where I can work with some community to build something similar. Data management is OK, but, man, I miss working with clients/users/information-seekers/people-about-town/etc.

For now, here’s to better living through design.

Rule of Thirds

My weekly update came from LinkedIn today. Nowhere on the internet is a profile I more readily let languish. I’m not the only one.

Most of us are begrudgingly committed to LinkedIn because of the ongoing buzz as a job seach tool. Following the advice of the Internet, I need to spend that 45 minutes and update my LinkedIn profile. Afterall, not much looks worse these days than an out of date profile.

And, then what?

I find it hard to invest time in a social media tool that makes me feel like I need a tie and my interview face to use it. Not to mention, where do I find the time for it amongst my professional and personal responsibilities.

I’m not a full-time social media guru, after all. Like a lot of information professional, social media is important, but only one part of my professional reality. So, I’ve been thinking about a social media strategy that could work for me (and maybe you, too). Read the rest of this entry »

Pins I make!There are two things I can speak on with a certain amount of moderate professional authority: library stuff and making t-shirts.

Besides a budding LIS-worker, I am the owner and operator of Winged Beast Outfitters. What is Winged Beast Outfitters? It’s a graphic-fashion-design side project I started back when I was teaching. I sort of love it. Besides being a creative outlet, it’s sort of like playing Civilisation (except the game’s hooked up to my wallet).

The 2011 season starts this weekend (in Montreal for those who are interested in coming by).  It’s set to be a great show in a new venue for me. I’ll have some new products, and the return of old favourites is inevitable.

It’s not all bliss. Reconciling my lovely small business and my library career can be a challenge. I’m not just talking about time management and work-day focus (there’s lots of stock, reasonable tips on that). It can be hard, but I have a good handle on that.

I’m talking job search.

In interviews, I’ve often left my business out because it complicates the message I want to give potential employers. Or when it does come up, I get so excited it can railroad my answers.

Not to mention that Winged Beast Outfitters, or any small business, does not always fit easily onto a resume. In my case, it’s not LIS work. Because it now overlaps a lot of my previous  professional experience, the time-line looks funky on the page. It seems to muddle the flow of my resume and draw away from my LIS experience.

I really do believe there is tons of crossover relevance. All the project management, financial planning, event organizing, customer service and research skills are there and in full force, not to mention social media, marketing and web-design! And there’s record analysis(sales reports and trends) user needs analysis (seriously, you have to know your audience to an almost intuitive degree). And frankly, you have got to be self-motivated and creative to even stay half-way afloat. Read the rest of this entry »

Name of the Rose Library!

In past posts, I’ve alluded to the fact that I have a new job (in a LIBRARY!). It’s at CISTI, and I’m working as a Meta-Data Librarian. It’s proving pretty interesting, so far.

I know I complained about how hard it is to get a library job with the Feds in Canada, and I stand by that. I’m on a temp contract, and that means… well… it means I’m a temp. That’s pejorative. I like to think of myself as a Librarian Mercenary (hence the Ronin thing). A notion made especially dramatic by the fact that I was ushered in to help redeem a floundering database!

On a fun note: back in library school, I did a presentation on library architecture and themes of authority and power. Basically, it was about libraries as literal and metaphorical fortresses (like the library in Name of the Rose, which was modeled, in fact, on University of Toronto’s Robarts Library.).

CISTI’s building holds true with some of these traditional architectural themes, especially when seen during the day.

CISTI during the day

But! See it at night… Yep! Starship CISTI!

CISTI at night!

I was going to get my PhD in English Literature at one point. It didn’t work out. I’m much happier being a librarian.

The video is via xtranormal, which offers tools for throwing together short animated videos for the web. Basically, if you can type, they say, you can make a movie. It’s pretty easy.

Is anyone using this for online book talks or web tutorials? It could be a great way to spice up your library site/blog.

I made the video below in about 5 minutes.

Part of what inspired me to make this website was to get into what it’s like to be a newish librarian. It’s January 2nd, and this marks the anniversary of my search for sustained, and god willing, permanent library-type work.

I live in Ottawa and for a few tangible, personal reasons I’ve been looking for in that city (and a few other cities, too). Living in the nation’s capital means trying to get a public sector job. Frankly, like everywhere this particular job market is not  bullish.

A recent Ottawa Citizen article brought this into focus:

A growing list of jobless public servants, coupled with spending cuts and a shrinking pool of jobs, signals a staffing squeeze in the federal government not seen since the massive downsizing of the 1990s.

Maria Barrados, president of the Public Service Commission, says the number of workers on the government’s priority list for jobs is climbing and she’s braced for that list to grow as spending restraints kick in and more workers are laid off or declared surplus.

The latest twist is the commission isn’t placing as many of these workers in new jobs now that the growth in the size of the public service for much of the decade has all but stopped in its tracks.” (full article here.)

News like this doesn’t exactly fill me with optimism, but  the situation clear: a shrinking number of jobs and more people looking. Hardly a novel situation these days. Read the rest of this entry »