Career advice | Mentoring | Social networking
“Focus on WHO instead of HOW” — Dean Jackson
There’s a famous story of Edwin C. Barnes, who in 1905 had no money or expertise. However, he was an ardent fan of the inventor, Thomas Edison.
Barnes wanted to become business partners with Edison. He knew that if he became partners with Edison, there would be no limits on what he could accomplish. He took a freight train to New Jersey and walked straight to the Edison Laboratory.
He was wearing musty and scrappy clothes and told Edison he wanted to go into business with him. Edison was impressed by the boldness and made Barnes a floor sweeper. Read more…
Mentoring | Coaching | Career Advice
July 10, 2018
HBR Staff/Richard Newstead/Getty Images
“Tell me about your career goals.” How often have you said this to a person you’re managing or mentoring, only to get a blank stare in return? Perhaps the person confides that they don’t know what their goals should be, or even whether there are opportunities to advance at your company. How do you begin to provide support?
Career dissatisfaction is a growing challenge in today’s world, which is why we’ve decided to do things differently at Weight Watchers, with the help of LifeLabs Learning. The results of CEB’s 2015 employee survey capture the problem well: 70% of employees surveyed (across many industries) reported being dissatisfied with career opportunities at their company — a disturbing figure given that it is one of the biggest drivers of engagement and retention. At the same time, 75% of organizations said they expected to face a shortage of necessary skills and knowledge among their employees. So, on the one hand, employees feel they can’t advance fast enough, and on the other, companies believe employees are growing too slowly. How can such a blatant and dangerous contradiction exist? And what can we do about it? Read more…
Career advice | Professional development | Librarianship
By April Witteveen | June 28, 2018
Voices of experience on switching roles or types of libraries
The term librarian embraces many kinds of jobs, and often the first place someone lands isn’t the perfect fit. Browsing the classifieds can turn up postings that pique a library worker’s interest but may be in another type of library from the one where they’re currently employed, or the job description may comprise a different skill set. These librarians we spoke with have all made a midstream jump, and they share their insight on what it took to move into a new branch of the field.
Preparing for the Shift
As someone who’s made the change from metadata librarian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to high school librarian with Fairfax County Schools, Springfield, VA, Lisa Koch recommends first taking time for self-reflection. “What is it about your past position that you liked? What are you looking for in your new position? What can you do now to connect your present position to the future?” While the fundamentals of librarianship will inform job descriptions across the field, she notes that there can also be “important differences” that deserve consideration. Addressing gaps in knowledge or experience through volunteering, part-time work, and professional development will be worth the time. “You will have a better sense of potential concerns your [future] employer may have and identify potential areas of growth,” says Koch. Read more…
FROM HIGHER ED TO HIGH SCHOOL Former University of California, Santa Barbara metadata librarian Lisa Koch (ctr.), now a high school librarian for Fairfax County Schools, VA, in the library with the “amazing” teachers of Robert E. Lee H.S., Springfield
Networking | Conferences | Lifehack
by Jordana Valencia
May 09, 2018
Whether it’s attending startup events, social gatherings, or happy hours, networking is a necessary part of every entrepreneur’s life. Seventy-eight percent of entrepreneurs agree that networking is crucial to startup success, which is why there are a myriad of articles online about how to master and love the art of networking.
But networking can be extremely draining. Imagine the countless hours entrepreneurs spend talking, traveling, and socializing with contacts and potential investors. Excessive social interaction can be physically and mentally exhausting for anyone — even extroverts. In fact, many of the founders I coach describe networking as draining, saying it sometimes robs them of the energy they need to work on actual business operations. Read more…
Career advice | Professional Development | Mentoring
by Ellen Mehling | January 11, 2018
Q: When I attended library school a decade ago, it was with the intention of working in a public library, but I got drawn into corporate work as a metadata specialist. The work was interesting, the salary was good, and I had loans to pay off. Mission accomplished, I’d like to get back to my original intention. However, I’ve advanced far enough in my corporate career that I suspect my resume is a turn-off for most library hiring managers and have gained little traction in my applications. I’ve considered deeply the step back in pay and seniority I’d have to take, and I’m willing. What can I do to make myself a more attractive candidate?
A: I’d start by examining a large number of public library job postings that interest you, and compare your existing skills and experience to what employers are requesting. Consider which public library-related skills and experience are conveyed clearly by your resume, which ones will need some explanation from you, and which you don’t yet have.
For the ones that require explanation, remember that you are competing for jobs with others that clearly have the experience the employers want and you’ll have to convince the reader of your application documents to contact you for an interview – connect the dots for the hiring manager, make it very clear how your past experience and existing skills would translate or transfer to the new venue. Hiring managers may be skeptical about your suitability based on your past experience; you’ll have to overcome that and be very persuasive in your cover letter in order to get a chance to interview, and be able to explain clearly why you feel you’re a strong candidate in the interview. Read more…
Leadership | Career advice |Professional development | Workplace | Success
by Gwen Moran | January 2, 2018
Virtually every office has one: that employee who is the go-to contact and seems to knows everything and everyone. The office can’t run without her. No one wants to think about what would happen if he ever left.
Being such a critical part of the team has a number of benefits, including a measure of job security. But those indispensable team members don’t get just that way through arbitrary means. If you want to join their ranks, here are seven ways to get there.
Channel Elite Athletes
Elite athletes are constantly trying to improve their performance. They fine-tune the details that allow them to compete at the highest level—and that practice holds some valuable lessons for people who are trying to become exceptional at their jobs, says Porter Braswell, cofounder and CEO of Jopwell, a technology platform that helps black, Latino, and Native American students and professionals unlock opportunities for career advancement.
“What I mean by that is not the ability to run fast, jump high, and all the other physical attributes that come with being an athlete. But more of the tactical, being a good teammate, communicating well, knowing how to work hard, being disciplined, being able to multitask—all the things that come with that athletic mind-set. Competing: That’s the mind-set one has to be in before I believe they can perform well,” Braswell says. Read more…
Library careers | Academic libraries | Career Advice
by Susanne Markgren | January 23, 2018
Q: I need your advice. I have nine years experience in public libraries. I completed my Library Science Degree while working full time. It has been a year since my graduation and I am itching to work in academic libraries. Before library school, I always thought I would end up working in public libraries, however since I have been exposed to all the available options — that has changed.
I enjoy working in public libraries but want to explore academic libraries and I think it is a better fit for my skills. For the past year I have been applying to academic institutions for entry level positions but to date have received no call backs. How do I move from a public library to an academic library with no academic library experience, because most academic vacancies require at least one year experience in an academic environment. Any advice on how I can make myself more employable without having the necessary working experience would be most appreciated.
A: This is a common question, and moving from one type of library to another can be a difficult maneuver, but isn’t impossible. And advice about switching from one type of library to another can be helpful, no matter what type of library. As Ellen said in a previous Q&A, “You’ll need a compelling answer to the question ‘Why are you seeking to make the switch from A to B?’”
Here are a few (other) suggestions:
- Revise your application materials. Look at academic librarian resumes to see how they are formatted and organized. Use the job description to emphasize the aspects of your experience and skills to best match the top job requirements — in both your resume and cover letter.
- Don’t hide the elephant in the room, use your public library experience to your advantage, to make you a unique candidate. Mention in your cover letter how your years working in public libraries will make you an excellent academic librarian – and use examples. Do you work with diverse populations, or a specific ethnic group? Do you have experience with programming, teaching, reference work, access services, systems, collection development? Do you work with high school students? Do you have unique customer service or language expertise? Be specific in your language and the tools you’ve used in your work.