Traveling for Business Already

…well, not quite yet! The person who was suppose to be attending Digipalooza is leaving so I am her last minute replacement. Therefore a portion of my day was spent negotiating travel plans and other trip necessities. There were some things that could not be accomplished today so I will have to look to them on Monday. Other tasks involved trying to fix an attach files issue for a Drupal content type which led to me sitting upstairs in the Children’s Library for awhile while the librarian tried to explain to me more about other areas of her request. I got to see all the children and parents who joyfully ran up to the librarian. It was pretty magical. Whenever she was busy, I snuck off into the stacks to admire their older reader’s book collection.

I then headed back to my office to figure out how to use Apple’s Keynote software. My thoughts about it is that is not as intuitive to use as PowerPoint but it had some pretty impressive results which were easy to manage. I managed to get most of the hang of the software by watching a couple videos on YouTube. I am not a formally trained graphic designer so I’m unsure about the results. I sent the proofs to the appropriate person for their input. As soon as they’re approved I’ll send them up the ladder to be put into the queue. I wonder if I could share the panels I create on here…
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Places to Watch for a Library Job

While searching for a library job, I subscribed to a number of RSS feeds, mailing lists, and followed accounts on Twitter. This list is geared towards academic/digital libraries since that was the job I was looking for. As I receive more email listings, I will update this post with other locations that I forgot to add. The sites are listed in no particular order.

Canada

North Carolina

Digital Libraries

Archives

General

Residencies

My Post-MLIS Plans

Now that the ceremonial lemon yellow hood is off and my family has returned home, it is time to plan the next steps of my career. This is a rough list of things I am setting up/working on in no particular order:

  • YWCA Archivist: I replied to a job seeking someone to manage their collections. Since my job hunt is on-going, I had to stress that I may have to leave at any time, but the executive director seems excited to have me begin working on their documents.
  • UNCG Digital Projects: I am meeting with my mentor tomorrow to discuss what goals I can work on this summer. I’ve been running quality checks on the Hansen Performance Arts Collection metadata for the past month (2 hrs/wk), but its time I finish up on those 400+ objects. My objectives are to try my hand at writing grant applications and really biting into the meat of being a digital projects coordinator.
  • Freelance Websites: The first website is not really going to come together for another year since it will be supplementing a book that has not been written yet. I’ve got the very basic foundation of the website online but since I know nothing about the book’s content, I can’t really design the rest of this Drupal-powered website yet. The second website is for the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Diversity Center which will need to be completed by August. I am a bit worried about it since it needs to be hosted by UNCG and produced using WordPress as the CMS. So far, UNCG is running behind schedule on getting the structure in place to support WordPress, so it looks like I will have to completely build the website on my own server first.
  • LISUNCG Webmaster: At some point I decided that I would continue my reign as the LISUNCG webmaster till the end of the month. I have some things to finish up for them (like the Guidelines for the Management of the Department of Library and Information Studies Website manual) that got put on the back burner this semester. I am trying to solicit a series of posts to schedule to appear all summer so the website has a continued active presence even though the new webmaster, my former assistant, will not take over till August. I may also be training a LISUNCG summer graduate assistant to work on the ICL website.
  • Library and Information Studies Alumni Association (LISAA) Webmaster: I have not heard officially whether or not this is happening, but I may be the first webmaster for my alumni association. If so, I will completely revamp the association’s web presence!
  • Publishing: I have done a lot of work for my LIS department as I earned my MLIS. However, putting in so much time means that I neglected other areas of interest such as publishing. I know that the work I did was niche, but I think some valuable lessons came out of it. WordPress and Drupal are beginning to appear more frequently in online library discussions so I think my article(s) will find an audience.
  • Digital Libraries/Digitization/Library Websites Blog: I know that when designing a professional blog you should have a single focus in mind for what you’re going to talk about. Since these three areas are of interest to me and closely related, I think I can develop an inclusive blog dealing with these three topics.

New skills to obtain:

  • Javascript
  • PHP
  • AJAX
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Database design
  • Drupal theming
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • vuDL (open source digital library) software
  • Dspace

While it’d be nice to gain immediate mastery of these skills, I am not a trained computer programmer. Time is limited so I want to gain fluency and then overtime gain mastery.

Of course underlying all these things is the continued job hunt! My department boasts that 92% of our graduates are employed within 6 months of their first application so I’m at the seven month mark. However, those early job applications from October to December 2010 were more or less practice applications. Since then, I’ve significantly strengthened my cover letter and CV skills.

This blog and my capstone website need to be integrated and redesigned to be more coherent pieces. First though, I need to find a new web host since this host is too under powered to let me automatically update my WordPress site! As soon as I secure a new host, I will be able to move onto my personal projects.

While my future is uncertain right now, I am confident that I will learn and achieve many new things until formal employment is found!

How I Job Search

An interview I did for a LIS management class at UNCG. I’m pretty driven to find a job before/soon after graduation after being unable to find work when I graduated college in 2008.

1) How many applications have you sent out and what was your general strategy?

I have sent out 36 applications since October. All of them were submitted online with one requiring that I physically mail in an unofficial copy of my transcript. I have had 5 “hits” so far and have received 12 rejections or the position was eliminated letters.

My general strategy:

  • I first went to the Career Center to get help fixing up my first cover letter and CV. I then realized they weren’t of much help since they were used to working with more general job applications.
  • I used this Excel form from here so I could track of my job applications.
  • Set up a Job Search folder on your computer. Create a folder for every job you apply for and save a copy of the cover letter, CV/resume, references, etc. other material you submit for each one in its own folder.
  • Have a master sample cover letter and CV which you can open and then resave in the folder of the job you’re applying to. This will help ease some of the stress of writing 50 cover letters.
  • I looked for jobs on a variety of online resources. If you want my list, let me know!
  • When I find a job ad that I want to apply to, I copy and paste the URL and the text of the job ad into a section in OneNote.
  • I then look at the due date. I then schedule a day for me to apply to the job in Google Calendar using the Task function. I call the task “Apply to this” (or “APPLY!” for very important jobs) and then include the job title, location, and URL in the comments section of the task.
  • As a member of ALA, I joined the New Member Round Table and sent a sample cover letter and CV off to be reviewed. I got a response about 4 weeks later.
  • I also created a list of references (with their permission!) which has the same header as my CV which you’ll see below.
  • I can now apply to a job in about an hour.

2) Could you post a couple of cover letters and resumes that worked for you leading to interview?
These cover letters and CVs may not be for the same job, but each of these have been successful.

  • Cover Letter 01 (pdf)
  • Cover Letter 02 (pdf)
  • CV/Resume 01 (pdf)
  • CV/Resume 02 (pdf)
  • References (same header as the CV/Resume)

3) What are some tips you have for the entire process including the interview and post interview thank you’s….

We’ll break this into sections…

Cover Letter

  • DO some research and find a name to address the cover letter to.
  • State the position title, the employer’s workplace, and where you found out about the job in the first paragraph.
  • Try to be a little creative with the body of your cover letter. As in, if they say “expert at such and such”, use their language “such and such” but say something more like, “I used such and such skills when I re-engineered the space shuttle to the moon…”
  • Try to stick to a page, but if you absolutely CAN’T, that can be okay every now and then when they want very specific examples for every single requirement.

CV/Resume

  • Congratulations! You’re in the big leagues now and can have a resume/cv that is longer than a page long. I’ve been told no longer than 3 pages for new grads.
  • If you can, use numbers/stats to back up how awesome you are. For example, “Increased production by 500%” or “Managed 22 employee”
  • Try to use action verbs when describing your achievements. Here’s a list of some verbs that you can use.
  • Have your last name, page number, and phone number in the top right of your header.

Phone Interview

You’ll probably receive an email to schedule the time from their HR/secretary. Be EXTREMELY courteous to this person.

  • Print out the job ad, your CV, and cover letter that you sent in.
  • Look at their website and do some research on each of the people you’ll be speaking to on the phone. Write down their title, their degrees, any major accomplishments that they have done. These are conversations pieces you can refer to during the phone and in-person interviews if needed. It is VERY IMPRESSIVE to have done your background reading on them.
  • Write down your answers to: 1) Why this job? and 2) Your responses to each of the required and preferred qualities listed in the job ad.
  • Write down a list of questions to ask them about the job, location, etc. that you couldn’t gleam off their website. Next are some sample questions that I’ve asked. You’re usually allowed to ask 3 questions when they’re done grilling you:
    • What goals will I be expected to meet in the first year in this position?
    • Tell me about the people that I will be working with/supervising.
    • (If tenture-track)What support will I have in reaching tenure-related goals? or How will I be supported professionally?
  • Sound excited!
  • Thank them for calling.
  • IMMEDIATELY write thank you emails to each of the people that were on the phone with you. If you don’t have time for that, send it to the head of the search committee and ask them to express your gratitude to the rest of the committee.

In-person Interview

  • You’re in the top 3-4 candidates! Be confident that you have the skills they need. At this point, it’s seeing if you are a good fit for their culture.
  • They’ll probably pay your way, hotel, and food. Lucky!
  • Dress in a business suit/skirt, comfortable shoes, and check the weather of the location you’re traveling to.
  • If flying, take one personal item (purse, briefcase) and one carry-on. Make sure your personal item is big enough to hold any papers they give you during the interview.
  • Be gracious, kind, and polite to everyone you meet. Wear a smile as often as possible.
  • If you’re going for an academic interview, you’ll be there for probably TWELEVE HOURS. Usually people are sympathetic and will lay off on you towards the end. Remember, they’re getting tired too.
  • If academic, you’ll have to give a presentation. It sucks, but you can do it. Usually you are given the topic and it will be expected to be done in PowerPoint. Bring it on a USB stick. Then bring a back-up one.
  • Make sure you take notes throughout the day and have questions to ask them. Grill them. You’re interviewing them as well.
  • Ask specifically about people’s management style, what the town is like, the cost of living, what to do for fun, if its likely your partner will find work…

Post Interview

  • Send a thank you email to the head of the committee. You should probably send one to the dean as well (if you’re looking at an academic library).
  • If you can, send a thank you email to each individual of the search committee.

Trip to Utah and Back Again

Sunrise in Greensboro

Sunrise in Greensboro

I left for a trip to Utah on Thursday, March 7th and then returned on Saturday, March 9th. In order to make it across the country, I had to be on the plane before sunrise. This leg of the trip took about 75 minutes. My plane took me to Atlanta for the rest of the trip (4.5 hours). It was a pretty uneventful ride. I sat between two native Utah residents. One was on his way to a wedding while the other was going to her granddaughter’s college graduation.

I spent my time academic skimming two books on emerging technologies in academic libraries, which was the topic I was presenting on. When I finished with that, I pulled out my netbook and discovered that Delta was having a special where you could tweet for free. My tweets from this part of the journey:

  • Nice: this flight has free Twitter access. I’m flying over the Rockies right now. :-)
  • Aww, I just took a photo but realized that the default Twitter website won’t let me upload photos.
  • So far I’ve academic skimmed two books, ate 3 snack bags of fruity chewy things, 1 teeny bag of pretzels, and paid too much for a sandwich.
  • Uh oh. We’re hitting turbulance! I’m above Utah right now.
  • Quite a bit of turbulance now! >___<
  • We’re beginning our downward descent. We’ve dropped about 3000 feet so far. I see a big river out the window.
  • Lots of shaking. We’re in the clouds. We should be there in a little over half an hour. I can feel the descent. We’re dropping rapidly.
  • And by rapidly I mean the angle is enough to make me queasy. I’d rather continue to be climbing high…
  • We’re at 30k altitutde and continuing to drop. The clouds are too thick to see beyond the wings.

(I’ve left my misspellings in. Ah, the internet/modern browsers have completely spoiled me.)

Waiting for Shuttle

Waiting for Shuttle

When I landed, I rushed outside in order to meet the shuttle that would be taking me on the rest of my journey. Unfortunately, there were some issues with this plan:

  • I had not caught that the name on the shuttle bus would NOT be the same as the one printed on the ticket.
  • The shuttle was an hour late anyways.
  • I had spoken to the shuttle operator about 3 times. He knew I was there and waiting. I did not dare to go inside in case I missed it. So, when the shuttle did come and the driver did not ask if the shuttering, teeth clattering girl was the one who had been calling the shuttle, I got quite upset. The reason for this being that I witnessed several other shuttles where the driver would ask people for their name to confirm that they were not suppose to be on his shuttle. It seemed to be pretty standard.


So, by the time that things got worked out, it was two hours after I had landed. I had stayed outside in 43 degree weather and watched it rain, then hail, then lightening as I waited for the shuttle. Thank goodness that my boyfriend had told me to wear long johns and that I brought my feather down coat and wool gloves.

It all turned out for the best. I got to ride the shuttle up with some great locals: a professor, a chatty hair stylist, and a father and his daughter who were returning from a hunting trip. They pointed out landmarks, told me that no really, the mountain is right there but we couldn’t see it thanks to the thick snow. They were great! So while things were off to a rocky start, the locals totally made up for it. :-)

Going into mountains

Going up into the mountains

I’m not sure what all I can/should say about my presentation. I did not hit the 45 minute mark, but was told that it worked out perhaps better that I did not. Instead of 15 minutes of Q&A, there were 25 minutes. The bad thing about my presentation was that this library was already kicking butt and taking names. At least I’m current with what should already be being done in most libraries… I enjoyed my visit though a great deal. The people I met were fun and more importantly, easy to talk to. That is always a blessing when you’re shy like myself.

Window View

Window View

It snowed nearly the entire time I was there. Everyone complained about it while back home, it was in the 70/80s. I was pretty excited about it since I love snow. Only later back on the plane did I realize that I never stepped foot on Utah soil. I was always on asphalt/concrete. When there was a break in the storm on Friday evening, I got one tantalizing glimpse of the further valley and maybe it was the sunset colors, but it looked like Heaven.

Clouds Caught on Mountains

Clouds Caught on Mountains

My planes were late returning me home. The first because it was snowing pretty hard in Salt Lake City, so the plane had to be deiced. Then in Atlanta it was because the plane had to be rerouted due to a big storm in North Carolina (both of my mom’s skylights were broken due to the hail. My grandma said her car was dented!). My boyfriend was very patient waiting for my plane to arrive. He then took me to my favorite restaurant for dinner then presented me with these:

Cupcakes

Cupcakes!


Spring at UNCG

Spring at UNCG

Our department had our first library career day today. I wasn’t feeling too hot, so during the “speed dating” network thing, I slipped away outside to go for a quick stroll with my lovely boyfriend. The weather has been Hot ‘n Cold (a la Katy Perry) with us for the last two weeks, so some flowers have been tricked into blossoming. I did not realize at the time that I had caught the UNCG banner in this photo as well, but it makes this photo even more magical.

First Day of My Last Semester in Library School

Okay, so technically yesterday should have been my last day. However, it snowed (more like iced about 2 inches) so school was canceled. Today we had a two hour delay which did not effect my day of meetings.

  • I had a meeting with my advisor to discuss the trip to UNC Chapel Hill for the “The Curation of Social Media as a Public Asset” seminar. She also gave me some advice on being more confident in my job search and to look for transferable skills. I’m fairly tech-savvy so what I don’t know yet, I can definitely learn quickly.
  • Meeting with the Committee on Accreditation (COA) for our department’s upcoming American Library Association (ALA) accreditation review process. I was given a bundle of things to work into the website. It feels pretty nice to be involved and having a decisive voice in how we are meeting our strategic goals during this review.
  • Met with my two assistants for an hour. I showed them around the International and Comparative Librarianship Communitas website. When I came home, I sent them their marching orders for the rest of the month.
  • I worked on sprucing up the LIS website by making some graphics and/or changing things from the COA meeting. In my next post, I’ll post some screenshots of what I did.
  • Joined my online Metadata class. My boss spoke about the accreditation process and I was surprised that she pointed out (again) that I’m the webmaster. I’m humbled by her praise.
  • I finally ate dinner while watching the season one sixth episode of Fringe. Then I decompressed by discussing today’s events with my boyfriend. Poor thing knows way more about department politics/gossip than anyone should have to suffer through!

Fun side note I noticed today: in the past year, a lot of LIS programs have completely revamped their websites.

Add Leader to My Resume

Last Tuesday I officially signed off on a meeting as the team leader. Today was my official day of leading a meeting. I was a mess of nerves as I tried to do something I’ve only seen done a couple times before. The new loss prevention lady-in-training told me I did fine. All this only after I had spent a couple hours sneaking away from my regular duties to brush up on the skills I needed to master and topics to cover at the meeting.

So while I cannot post on here what my official new title is called, let’s just say it is an extension of my duties guarding and maintaining hazardous wastes but extended to the whole store.