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Recently in Getting a Job

Ready to Go!

It was nice to have a few weeks off but I'm ready for classes to start again.  2020 is going to be an important year for me.  Not only is it a big birthday year (I'm entering a new decade!), but it's the year I'll be graduating.  Since I have a lot to do between now and the end of the year, I started browsing the Simmons Career Education Center website to see if it offered anything to help me through the process.  It turns out that the CEC offers a lot of services to students and alumni.  I was a little overwhelmed by all the options, to be honest, but I found two things that seem especially useful: the resume review service and the career fairs.  I could use some feedback on my resume.  I am not sure it's as strong as it could be, so I'm going to make an appointment to have someone from Simmons review it.

This will be especially important because I'm planning on attending at least one of the career fairs that Simmons will be offering in February, March, and April.  I don't think I can make it to all three, but I'm going to try.  It's never too early to start thinking about job opportunities and making connections.  It's good to practice talking to employers about who I am and what I am looking for in a library job.  Plus, I get to hand out my business cards along with my updated resume.  All Simmons SLIS students can order business cards through our Student Services office , and I ordered mine last year when I started classes.  I think they will come in handy at the career fairs.

While I'm happy to have a plan for the coming months, I'm also happy to focus on the present.  Classes start this week and I am excited.  I switched from Information for Diverse Users to Collections Development and Management because I thought it would be useful to learn about that aspect of library work.  For this class, each student gets to pick a library to focus on for assignments throughout the semester.  This allows us to get an in-depth view of how the collections process works.  I also finally get to take the Metadata class.  I've wanted to take it for a while, but I couldn't fit it in my schedule until now.  Overall, I think this should be a very productive and enlightening semester.       

Classes | Getting a Job | Resources | SLIS


SLIS Career and Networking Fair - Come for the Networking, Stay for the Swag & Brownies

Every spring, SLIS Student Services puts on the annual SLIS Career and Networking Fair for the students and alumni of the program. I am have been looking for some summer internship or part-time opportunities in Boston and I really wanted to attend this event as an informative experience, and a chance to practice my networking skills (something that still stresses me out constantly and I am always trying to improve). I am so happy I went. Even though I did initially have to hype myself up a bit with some caffeine. It was really nice to attend a career fair that was actually catering to my specific field. In undergraduate, I attended one career fair and since my college had a lot of business and technology students I did not feel too well represented as an art history student. There were definitely ways I could apply my liberal arts degree to different careers at the fair but it was nice to have that taken care for me at the Simmons SLIS Career Fair.

Some of the top highlights from the career fair were:

  • Professional Headshots! Making a LinkedIn has been on my to do list for some time now, so having a good, professional photo of myself has finally kicked me into gear on that front. Pro tip: Do this first thing so you don't have to take off and try to restick the nametag you get for the event.

  • Talking to such a diverse group of organizations. I spoke with people from archives, public libraries, academic libraries, a corporate library, a law library, and there were so many more options. Pro tip: Plan enough time to talk with everyone you want, I missed speaking with the Cape Ann Museum because I got to the event later than I anticipated and they packed up a little early.

  • All the swag. I'm talking pens, pencils, stickers, tote bags, candy, folders, those things you stick on the back of your phone that can hold your charlie card, there was so much stuff to pick up and I was not shy about asking for all the things. Oh and the event was also catered, huge perk for any type of student! Pro tip: Either bring or look for someone giving out tote bags first, you will be getting so much information that it is impossible to carry it all while still holding your resume and having a hand open for introductory handshakes.

Overall, even though I am still in the program and not looking for a full-time gig yet, I think that the career fair was a really invaluable opporunity to speak with current library and information professionals. Just being myself (and as friendly and outgoing as an introvert on two cups of coffee can be) was really helpful to see where people with library degrees can go. There were a lot of Simmons alumni recruiting at the event and I had some really informative conversations about what people recommend for me as someone still in school to diversify myself in the field. Even at times when I felt awkward walking up to tables and initiating a conversation, I knew that it was an opportunity to improve and practice my elevator pitch that I can really nail down for next year's fair when I am actually starting to look for full-time work after graduation!

 

Events | Getting a Job | Jobs | Resources | SLIS | Students


Jobline for the Win

Somewhere along the way, I seem to have decided that I had too much free time as a full time student and part time employee. Looking towards the summer and itching for some real world library experience, I was trawling through the weekly Simmons Jobline posts for something that might fit. A few things caught my eye, but I knew my resume could use a revamp.

Luckily for me, Maria's post in December about meeting with Amy Ryan (former President of the Boston Public Library) for resume help gave me with the motivation I needed to meet with her myself. I was still somewhat intimidated, but went in with high hopes. Together we tore my resume to shreds, then let a new and improved one rise from the ashes! Amy was simultaneously so approachable and knowledgeable! I left feeling armed with a rad resume.

Apparently the Watertown Free Public Library felt the same! I submitted an application for part time circulation work (as advertised on the Jobline) as soon as I'd made the edits Amy suggested, and was called for an interview a few days later. It was great to visit a library so packed with Simmons alum-librarians. I did my version of a touchdown dance waiting for the T when they called to extend the job offer!

Completing the onboarding for the WFPL job, I thoroughly enjoyed the training videos featuring people with thick Boston accents. As someone who has only had 'real' employment in New Jersey, it was a "We're not in Kansas anymore" moment for sure!

I should be starting the circ job in a few weeks, and can't wait to put what I'm learning in my classes into practice! I somehow also managed to snag a nannying job watching some super great kids, so this is the story of how I went from one job to three in the span of a week. Wish me luck. I'll let you know how it goes!

 

Getting a Job | Real World | SLIS


Senioritis

If you haven't been able to tell from some of my posts, I've been battling an extreme case of senioritis this semester. Now that the sun is out and the birds are singing it has become even harder for me to get down to work. I'm sitting outside right now watching my kids play and I just can't think of anything more interesting to write about. You see, there's a very small part of me that wants nothing more whatsoever to do with libraries, databases, websites, research, emails, and due dates from the moment I turn in my last assignment of the semester. This really is the final countdown for me, and I am so beyond excited to be almost DONE.

Then there's the question, that I've been getting a lot lately, of what I plan to do after I graduate. What I really want to say to people is: "Do I have to do anything after I graduate!? How about just enjoy my accomplishment and not having any more homework?" It's fine, I know what people mean. This reference and instruction internship may have the distinct possibility of turning into a part-time job, and I've been telling people for a while that I might look for part-time work after I graduate. In many ways, working part-time at the Fairfield University library is EXACTLY what I want to do with my degree and I can't think of a better opportunity or situation.

At the same time, I am in the enviable position of not necessarily needing to work to support my family. My husband and I have always felt that the best way for me to support my family is to be at home with the kids while they're young. But if I went back to "just" being a stay-at-home mom (for now), doesn't that mean that all the time, money, and work I put into my degree would be wasted? Well, that's for me to decide. When I applied to Simmons, I had no other long-term goal in mind beyond realizing my dream of going back to school and earning a Master's degree. I will have accomplished that, so maybe it's enough.

Anyway, there are a lot of big life decisions ahead for our family and many factors to consider. Beyond a doubt, 2019 is shaping up to be a momentous year with lots of transitions and changes. I don't know exactly what the next chapter holds, but I do know that I will always feel proud and grateful for all the learning and growth I've experienced during my time at Simmons.

Getting a Job | Librarians | Real World | SLIS


Resume Review & Planning for the Future - Ready to Upload

Whenever the end of the semester rolls around, I always start thinking about the future. I have a very day-to-day planning style throughout the semester. I plan my days out and try to focus in the moment so as not to overwhelm myself with how much I have going on. Luckily for me we have the Library and Information Science Student Association (LISSA) on campus that sends out emails every week with all the events going on around campus! This is how I found out that Student Services was organizing resume reviews with Amy Ryan, a former president of the Boston Public Library and honorary advisor at SLIS.

I have to start off by saying I am a shy, sensitive soul (shocking for a library student, I know) and was genuinely terrified of having someone look over and critique my resume and cover letter. Especially someone as impressive as Amy! I was very worried about the regular things about one's resume, is what I have enough or not enough? Should I put my education above my work experience? Is an object statement necessary? Is it eye catching enough? Does it really have to be all on one page or is that just a myth forced upon us during undergraduate?

The meetings with Amy were set up in half hour sessions and students from all stages in the MS program were encouraged to sign up and I am so grateful I did! Even though I am only in my first semester in the program, I wanted to get as much feedback, advice, and networking opportunities as I can! I was also very nervous about my lack of actual library experience. My background has always been in museums and development work. I had volunteered in an archive previously but I was not sure how much weight that would hold on my resume.

Amy was very helpful in reassuring me that my resume and cover letter were overall pretty good, but just needed some tweaks and embellishments on wordings. She also gave advice on what to stress to future employers as a student. I brought a printed copy of both my resume and cover letter which Amy was able to write notes and advice on. This was so incredibly helpful to refer back to afterwards. On top of asking all my burning resume formatting questions (Amy agrees that resumes CAN be more than one page), I was able to ask her how best to network in this field.

Networking has always been the scariest thing to me about being an adult job seeker and now that I am in a field I really love I am somehow more nervous! She recommended reaching out first to someone you are comfortable with, such as your local library that you frequent or your professor who shares an interest in the field. She talked about how it is important to think of networking like build any other relationship. You want to not only be their associate but on some base level, their friend. She also mentioned the importance of checking in with the contacts you are trying to build frequently. I was always too shy or nervous to start building these type of professional relationships but her advice on just simply asking for permission and how most library folk are excited to meet with current students really helped put my mind at ease. So much so in fact that over winter break, I will be helping out at the library and media center at my old high school! My aunt is the media specialist there so who better to help me start gaining experience and honing my networking skills then family! Plus best of all I'll be back in sunny Florida working on my tan, getting some vitamin D, and most importantly not waiting for the bus in freezing New England temperatures!

 

Getting a Job | SLIS | Students


Pondering the Future

So, readers, my little summer break is almost over.  My new class starts next week (LIS 415: Information Organization).  As I've mentioned in a previous post, it's an online class again and I'm excited to start.  I am a little bit ambivalent about the shorter timeframe, but I'm really excited about the topic and I've already started in on the reading. 

Over the past few weeks I've been pondering my future a lot.  Currently, I'm doing the Archives Management concentration within the MS in Library and Information Science program.  Even though I'm near the beginning of the program and am still taking my core classes, I can't help but wonder whether or not the Archives Management track is right for me and if I should instead be doing the design-your-own option.  I've been doing a lot of informal networking lately, and through my discussions with other librarians I've started to think about what I really want to do with my life once I graduate from Simmons, and if archives will play a role in that.  I started to think about this when doing course planning and seeing all of the awesome LIS classes Simmons has to offer and trying to pick what electives I'd want to take in the future.  It's just so hard to choose as all of the classes sound so fascinating.  On one hand, I don't think I'll fully know whether or not archives are for me until I actually take an archives class.  I don't think I could go wrong either way, but I feel I'll miss out on something great, whether it be some amazing electives or archives classes, no matter what I choose.  But, this is the time to figure out what I want.  Right now, I work in an academic library as a reference assistant and I love it, so maybe academic libraries are my future!  Maybe something completely different!  Who knows what the future could hold for me- but the one thing I do know is that I'm going to love each and every class I'm going to take at Simmons. 

If you want to learn more about the course offerings at SLIS click here.

Getting a Job | Librarians | Real World | Summer | classes | skills


Job Hunt

Before I applied to Simmons, I did thorough research on the Master's of Library Science programs and what types of jobs you can get after you graduate.  Unfortunately, what I did not have was experience working in a library.  The only experience that I had working in a library was volunteering in middle school to help sign people up for the summer reading program (I'm pretty certain that doesn't count).  The thing that was stressed over and over in the information sessions that I attended before applying, and while meeting with my advisor, and in class was to get experience during your time at Simmons.  So, right now, I'm looking for that experience. 

The Archives Management concentration does require an internship course, LIS 438: Introduction to Archival Methods and Services, so I know I will get some experience when I take that class.  However, I'm not taking that class now so I'm hoping to find something before I take that class, whether it be a paid job, an internship, and/or more volunteer experience.  As I said before, SLIS really encourages getting work experience while at Simmons, so much so that they created the Simmons Jobline which advertises professional positions, pre-professional positions, internships, volunteer opportunities, and opportunities for current students.  The Jobline is an incredibly important tool and has been so useful to me in my job search. 

The SLIS program at Simmons is a professional program, so what I've found so far is that every reading, every assignment, every activity, and everything you learn in your classes is something useful and is something you can use in interviews.  You are not doing any busy work at SLIS- everything is for your future career.  Before I started this program, I actually had a few interviews at libraries and I wish I had the knowledge from the program to draw on, because then I might have a library job right now.  I recently had an interview for a part-time library position, and I felt it went so much better than the interviews I had before starting this program.  They've even called me back for a second interview.  Wish me luck, and I'll keep you posted on how it goes! 

If you are interested in the Simmons Jobline you can find it here here.

Getting a Job | Real World | SLIS


It's the Final Countdown

* 26 days until I finish at SLIS West (our campus has to end a bit earlier than Boston because we use the Mount Holyoke Campus classrooms)

* 26 days until my digital libraries class presents at our graduation party, till I celebrate with SLIS West students and alums for our end of the year celebration, and till I get my special SLIS West tote bag signifying I am an alumna :)

* 29 days until I finish my SLIS Boston class

* 46 days until I walk at commencement in Boston

* 44 days until I figure out what to put on the top of my hat for said commencement (ideas welcome)

* an unknown number of days until it really feels like spring

* 1, 418 days (if I'm calculated correctly) until Amherst College celebrates it's bicentennial (I'm the Bicentennial Project Metadata Librarian, so this is an important countdown for me)

* and, well, I think this should end here- I'm getting a little nervous counting down the days of my life.

My momma did always say "don't wish your life away," and I have totally loved my time at grad school. But, I am pretty stoked about being done soon. This semester has been a tough one- my classes are great, but they require a lot of homework time, and getting this new job (which is awesome and I'm so happy and grateful) means I have a bit less of that time. So, ironically, I find myself occasionally wishing for May 3 to be here (that's my last class day) so that I'll more time. In other words, wishing time to go by so that I have more of it- which is a bit of a self-defeating thing, really. Simultaneously, the prospect of the last day of classes rapidly approaching makes me super nervous because I still have a lot of work to do to get ready for those last presentations!

It's all good, though, a little non-runnin-for-your-life stress is good for me. Plus, I've given up coffee and lots of other things to do an anti-inflammatory diet, so being jacked up about school is serving as an adequate replacement for my normally caffeine-fueled level of energy.

Anywho, enjoy the week everyone! We had to cancel our SLIS West panel on libraries in the New England states on Saturday due to the weather, but this Saturday's panel full of hiring managers talking about what they look for in librarian candidates should be pretty awesome.

~Manda

This week's The Great TP quote:
""Even our fears make us feel important, because we fear we might not be."
~Terry Pratchett, Nation

Fun | Getting a Job | Jobs | Real World | Students


Post Spring Break-a-thon

So long Spring Break, and thanks for all the fish! 

Spring Break was fun. You know: non-stop parties, sunbathing, margaritas, that kind of thing. JUST KIDDING! hahaha. buwahhahahahah! (I could go on but will spare you).

I'm in grad school and per my situation in life that was not my personal spring break experience. It was nice, though, to have a break from classes so that I could catch up on homework and reading for class (so exciting, right?!) and because I just increased my working hours. Why the increase in hours? Well...

I got a professional librarian job! Wohoo! I'm now the Bicentennial Metadata Librarian at Amherst College and thoroughly stoked about it. I get to create metadata and metadata guidelines for digitized collections that are going to be made available in ACDC (rock on! No, actually it stands for Amherst College Digital Repository). I'll especially be working on digital collections that highlight the history of Amherst College and its alumni and students for the upcoming Bicentennial of the college in 2021. So that's fun! It means that I'm going to pull some late evenings and keep having Sundays as The Day of Bountiful Homework Work (Saturdays would be this too, but I have class and work at the school) until the end of the semester when I graduate, but that's a-okay with me.

In other news, we have our Dean's Lunch this coming Saturday at SLIS West, and I always enjoy that event. The Dean of SLIS comes out to the west campus and has lunch with us in between our 2 Saturday class sessions. We get to ask questions, provide input on the program, and all that kind of jam. Plus, lunch is delicious.

Otherwise this week I'll be finishing up a cataloging assignment, and it's ridiculous how much fun I have referencing RDA and getting down to nitty gritty details like:
me: "should this have a space semicolon or just a semicolon immediately following the word?"
other me: "I think a space."
me: "hmm, well can you cite the RDA rule for that?"
other me: "no."
me: "well then, let's go to RDA and investigate! shall we?"
other me: "splendid idea! genius!"

I'm also finishing up a presentation for my digital libraries class on the International Children's Digital Library which has been really fun because that site is just cool and you can read kid's books in a lot of different languages! Digital storytime ideas are abounding. Plus I'm working on metadata for that class and reviewing DCRM (a content standard model- i.e., not the structure of how you describe something, but how and what you should describe about something. RDA is a content standard too.) so that I'm ready to create a best practices document with the rest of the metadata team in my digital libraries class. Lastly, I'm investigating the changes from FRBR to the IFLA LRM, how they might affect RDA, and especially how it might change or improve the way we treat aggregating works. It's okay if that last part doesn't make sense, you learn all this lingo in lib school. Or you don't. It depends on what you're into, friends! That's one nice thing about library grad school versus the nurse practitioner grad school I went to, unless you're in a specific concentration of the program, you can pretty much design your own curriculum and explore what you wish.

Anywho, busy week but good week. Hopefully this nor'easter won't make it to tough to drive to class in Boston on Wednesday night. Everyone stay safe, have a great week, and learn something new!

~Manda

This week's The Great TP quote (sorry I skipped this last blog post since I didn't want to sully his name by having it anywhere near my bad metadata poetry).
"It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history."
Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites.

Events | Getting a Job | Presentations | Real World | SLIS West | Students


The Interview Process

I'm in my last semester at SLIS West, and that means it's time to start applying for professional jobs! Woohoo! Especially because I'm primarily interested in working in an academic library, I've got to be applying for things pre-graduation whenever possible. Sometimes the academic library hiring process can take a little while, and I'm hoping to have a professional level job immediately after graduation if not before it. Of course, this all depends on jobs available and all that jazz. I have been lucky enough to get a few interview opportunities for professional jobs this semester, and the hiring/application process for academic librarian jobs is quite different compared to what I experienced as a nurse or as a library student. Sometimes it involves 2 interviews- one with just a search committee, and then if you're invited back, a longer interview day with more library staff. Sometimes it's just one interview. Often, for the longer interview day, you're also required to present on a topic assigned by the search committee.


So, yes, I know that having multiple presentations you have to do in every library class can be frustrating, but it also is totally worth it. Public speaking is tough, at least for me, and the only thing that makes it better is having to do it over and over again. So, thank you all you instructors out there who've made me give presentations in front of classes.


The longer interview day also usually consist of a tour, meeting with library departments where they may ask you questions, and a meeting with HR. Each interview day has been a bit different organization wise, of course, but a lot of them had all these main elements. What a difference from my nursing interviews that involved meeting one on one with the nurse manager and then maybe a quick tour! I think it's evidence, though, of the nature of academic librarianship. Libraries seem willing to really invest in their employees and there's a lot of internal (library departments) and external (other academic departments/people) collaboration. I won't lie, these type of interviews have been a bit more stressful for me than the ones from my prior career, but I just remind myself that nervousness and excitement involve nearly identical physiological responses. So, it's all in your frame of mind. So I'm telling myself "hey, you're not nervous, you're excited you rock star you!!!"


Good luck to all as they are applying and interviewing. If you're a SLIS West student- there's also going to be some events coming up in a Spring 2017 Career Series Panel: Nuts & Bolts of Library Resumes and Cover Letters on February 25 and a panel discussion with library directors and managers on April 8. See ya there!
~Manda


PS: This week's Terry Pratchett quote:


The Library didn't only contain magical books, the ones which are chained to their shelves and are very dangerous. It also contained perfectly ordinary books, printed on commonplace paper in mundane ink. It would be a mistake to think that they weren't also dangerous, just because reading them didn't make fireworks go off in the sky. Reading them sometimes did the more dangerous trick of making fireworks go off in the privacy of the reader's brain.
-TP, Soul Music

Getting a Job | Jobs | Real World | Students