Q&A: How do I move from a public library to an academic library with no academic library experience?

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Read more…

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Get Into Learning Mode for Better Library Leadership | Leading from the Library

Leadership | Librarians | Professional development | Continuing education

by Steven Bell | October 26, 2017

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Telling library leaders that leadership is a constant process of learning is good advice but of minimal help to busy leaders with little time for learning, whether formal or informal. That is why a commitment to a growth mindset may be a leader’s best strategy for continuous improvement.

A foundational premise of Leading From the Library is that good leadership results from a commitment to constant learning. Whether you think leaders are born or made, the job involves a degree of complexity that requires constant attention to progress and adaptation to a rapidly changing workplace. This column has explored multiple vehicles for leadership education, from leadership development programs to studying lessons of great (and flawed) leaders. I hope that Leading From the Library is one of your go-to resources for learning about leadership, but there are dozens of good leadership blogs, newsletters, and Twitter feeds at your disposal. That there are so many good but competing resources points to the big challenge: Where do leaders find the time to develop their leadership skills and how do they develop a smart strategy for keeping up, one that allows for maximum learning in minimal time? The best are able to rigorously motivate themselves to pursue continuous learning despite time and distraction obstacles. Read more…

Simple Ways to Spot Unknown Unknowns

Entrepreneurship | Career Advice | Professional Development

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  Howard George/Getty Images

Leaders face complex and uncertain situations every day: What will sales be like next year? Will our new product succeed? What will the competition do? But the most challenging circumstances are often completely unexpected, because we never even knew to look for them. (In the parlance of Donald Rumsfeld, the former U.S. secretary of defense, they’re the unknown unknowns).

After I finished my master’s degree, for instance, I was planning on a career in academia. I applied to several doctoral programs, and wondered which I’d get into. The answer: none.

I simply hadn’t realized that the exact quality that made me an ideal candidate earlier in my academic career — a “Renaissance person” who was interested in many disciplines — made me anathema to doctoral admissions committees, which were seeking hyper-specialized applicants. I didn’t know how the game was played, so I was rejected everywhere. The experience taught me an important lesson: I needed to better anticipate my blind spots. But how? Read more…

 

7 Things That Make Great Bosses Unforgettable

Leadership | Management | Supervision |Workplace

Dr. Travis Bradberry | May 24, 2017

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Getty Images

Six times Google has topped Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Most people assume that Google tops the list because of their great benefits and all of the fun and perks that they pack into the Googleplex. But that’s just part of the equation.

Google knows that people don’t leave companies; they leave bosses. But unlike most companies, who wait around hoping for the right bosses to come along, Google builds each Googler the boss of their dreams.

Their people analytics team starts by researching the qualities that make managers great at Google. These managers aren’t just high performers, they receive high marks for their leadership from the people that report to them. They’re the managers everyone wants to work for.

Next Google built a training program that teaches every manager how to embrace these qualities. Once managers complete the program, Google measures their behavior to ensure that they’re making improvements and morphing into managers that Googlers want to work for.

Google is building bosses that are so good, they’re unforgettable. And why do they do it? In the words of Laszlo Bock, Google’s SVP of People Operations, “Our best managers have teams that perform better, are retained better, are happier — they do everything better.” Read more…

12 Tips to Get the Most Out of Attending a Conference

Conferences | Networking | Professional Development

by Kyle Ewing | People Operations | October 1, 2017

 

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It’s that time of year again! On October 4, more than 18,000 people will convene in Orlando for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. As the world’s largest gathering of women in tech, GHC can be an action-packed and incredibly rewarding experience. Over three days, there are hundreds of sessions, ranging from keynote addresses, to panels and presentations by industry leaders. Add in the largest career fair I’ve ever seen and conference-related social events, and it can be hard to know where to focus your time. But with the right approach, you can learn new skills, hear about trends in your field, and make lasting connections — both professionally and personally. Whether you’re a student off to your first big conference or a seasoned pro, here are some tips that fellow Googlers and I use to navigate events like GHC:

1. Make a plan.

Have a goal for what you would like to get out of the conference. Are you there to learn and gain knowledge? Want to make new networking connections? Is there a colleague or potential mentor who you want to support? Go through the agenda and devise a plan tailored to your goal. (Conference apps are great for this.) And have a backup plan in case that session you were dying to go to is jam-packed.

2. Divide and conquer.

If you’re attending with co-workers, try splitting up and then sharing notes. Regroup during meals or at the end of the day to share key learnings and takeaways. Read more…

4 Ways to Build a Personal Brand That’s Truly Authentic

Branding | Career advice | Professional development

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CREDIT: Getty Images

by Kristi Hedges | The Muse

We’ve all probably heard the hype about personal brands: We have to get one–and fast.

Yet, most people don’t really know what it is or how to go about making one.

Your personal brand is a reflection of the kind of person you are and want to be–your values, your motivations, your career goals. These then translate into how you act around the office, interview for jobs, and promote yourself on social media. But you can’t use your brand to get ahead unless you know exactly what it is and why it makes you unique.

So, how do you approach your personal brand in a way that’ll make it easy for you to explain, others to understand, and the world to appreciate?

Focus on these four things:

Read more...

ALA Code of Ethics 1: What’s in a code? | Podcast

Libraries | Ethics | Professional conduct

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Here’s BLL Season 2, Episode 2, In which I introduce my 3-part (though actually it’ll probably be 4 parts) series on the ALA Code of Ethics. What is the code? What are its implications in our daily lives as leaders? Just how blatant of a smart aleck will I be during my dramatic reading of the code?

Link to episode transcript

Links:

American Library Association Code of Ethics

FREE Course on Mastering Difficult Conversations

 

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