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iTrack -- How Great It Is!

I find that when I meet with students and ask them how they've been searching for their jobs or internships, they often respond, "iTrack". But when I ask them about their use of the different features that can be utilized, most don't realize that there are functions beyond that of the iTrack Job Postings.

First of all, everyone should check out the iTrack Jobs. These are jobs that SI Careers staff specifically choose to be seen by you, whether they come from our many recruiting partners, the NACElink system, or from postings that we find online or on listservs and add ourselves. Beyond the iTrack Jobs, you can also search the NACElink Network, which will give you access to all the jobs submitted by employers for all users of iTrack to see (not just SI). The best part about the NACElink jobs is that you can search by zip code, so you might find something that's interesting to you and only you right in your targeted geographic area, that wasn't added to the iTrack Jobs.

Back to the iTrack Jobs function... Everyone should set up a Search Agent as soon as they create a profile with iTrack. There are now instructions on iTrack on how to do this. You can set the system to email you once a day, week, or month -- whatever you prefer -- with a list of jobs that matches your search criteria. How easy is that?

Also, you can see what jobs were posted from over a year ago (when the iTrack system was launched) and find the related contact information. You can also search this information and find out if your preferred employers have posted jobs that you are interested in the last year (since July 2006). You can find this information by clicking on the "Archived Employer Contact Information" tab. Information on 4887 archived internships and full-time positions are stored in that area of iTrack. This is also a good resource for perusing job descriptions if you aren't quite sure what you want to do with your MSI degree.

Lastly, currently in iTrack, SI Careers has 801 Registered Organizations and 3487 Registered Employer Contacts. That covers a lot of employers! SI Careers makes all employers' information public, so your network of employers is huge! How do you find out who's in iTrack that you can contact? Click on the Employers tabs to find out who's in iTrack. You can search in this section by industry, find out detailed information about the organization, and also get the name of the main contact for the organization in this section. We are also more than happy to provide you with the contact information of other contacts if we have them.

If you have an iTrack tip to share, please do! Let us know if you have any questions! - Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on April 25, 2007 at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

"A Career for Information Junkies"

I wanted to bring attention to this article because it fits the interests of all of the student population here at SI.... This is especially relevant to those that are considering a specialization in Infomation Analysis and Retrieval.

"A Career for Information Junkies" By Marty Nemko Source

"We're already overwhelmed with information, and it's going to get worse. A savior is the Search Specialist, who for a fee, goes beyond what librarians have time to do. Search specialists surf the Net and databases such as Dialog and Nexis, and phone-interview the right people, providing you with a digest of the best information. Search specialists must specialize, for example, in aerospace engineering, politics, or medicine. How to get clients? Pick a specialty, give talks at its professional association, and write for its publications."

For more info on this career, check out (and consider joining!) the Association of Independent Information Professionals. The Member Directory is free and public - the contact information of the members (including personal email addresses) is available for anyone to view. A great resource for networking and online informational interviews!

Posted by kkowatch on April 23, 2007 at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)

Social Networking Can Be Hazardous to Your Job Search

I found this great article in last Sunday's Detroit Free Press's Career Builder section. I know that we all love social networking here at SI, but its important to be careful of what you post on your facebook or myspace sites. Having personally seen many of the MSI student population's personal sites, there are definitely things that you should be cautious of -- and note that employers can also look at your friends' sites too! What your own site may not say about you can just as well be conveyed by the people you hang out with. On to the article....

"Warning: Social Networking Can Be Hazardous to Your Job Search" by
Kate Lorenz, CareerBuilder.com Editor Source

That cute, affable guy who brags of his drunken exploits on FaceBook.com may be meeting a lot of other partiers online, but he's probably not getting added to the "friends" lists of many corporate recruiters. A recent study by the executive search firm ExecuNet found that 77 percent of recruiters run searches of candidates on the Web to screen applicants; 35 percent of these same recruiters say they've eliminated a candidate based on the information they uncovered.

"You'd be surprised at what I've seen when researching candidates," says Gail, a recruiter at a Fortune 500 company who recently began looking up potential hires on the Web. "We were having a tough time deciding between two candidates until I found the profile of one of them on MySpace. It boasted a photo of her lounging on a hammock in a bikini, listed her interests as 'having a good time' and her sex as 'yes, please.' Not quite what we were looking for."

"Another time I went to a candidate's site and found racial slurs and jokes," Gail continues. "And there was yet another instance where a candidate told me he was currently working for a company, yet he left a comment on a friend's profile about how it 'sucked' to be laid off, and how much fun it was to be unemployed!"

As the amount of personal information available online grows, first impressions are being formed long before the interview process begins, warns David Opton, ExecuNet CEO and founder. "Given the implications and the shelf-life of Internet content, managing your online image is something everyone should address -- regardless of whether or not you're in a job search," he says. Because the risks don't stop once you're hired.

Twenty-three-year old Kara recently took a job as a management consultant at a high-profile practice in the Los Angeles area. An Ohio native, with no friends or family on the West Coast, Kara put up a profile on MySpace in the hopes of meeting new people.

Kara was judicious in how she set up her site: "I didn't fill out that cheesy questionnaire many people post, where you describe your best feature and say whether or not you shower every day." she says. "I used a photo that was flattering but not at all provocative and was even careful what music I chose."

Within a few months, Kara met many others online who shared her interest in biking and water sports. One Friday morning, Kara decided to call in sick and go surfing with a few of her new pals. That weekend, unbeknownst to Kara, her friend posted some of the day's pictures on her profile and sent Kara a message saying, "We should call in sick more often."

Unfortunately for Kara, her boss happened to be patrolling MySpace to check up on her college-age daughter and came across Kara's site and the dated photos!

Mortified, Kara says she learned an important lesson -- not only about honesty, but about how small the world of online social networking can be and how little control you have over any information put out there.

Not all employers search candidates and employees online, but the trend is growing. Don't let online social networking deep-six your career opportunities. Protect your image by following these simple tips:

1. Be careful. Nothing is private. Don't post anything on your site or your "friends" sites you wouldn't want a prospective employer to see. Derogatory comments, revealing or risqué photos, foul language and lewd jokes all will be viewed as a reflection of your character.

2. Be discreet. If your network offers the option, consider setting your profile to "private," so that it is viewable only by friends of your choosing. And since you can't control what other people say on your site, you may want to use the "block comments" feature. Remember, everything on the Internet is archived, and there is no eraser!

3. Be prepared. Check your profile regularly to see what comments have been posted. Use a search engine to look for online records of yourself to see what is out there about you. If you find information you feel could be detrimental to your candidacy or career, see about getting it removed -- and make sure you have an answer ready to counter or explain "digital dirt."

Kate Lorenz is the article and advice editor for CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Posted by kkowatch on April 18, 2007 at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

Employer Feedback to SI

After a busy term of recruitment at SI, SI Careers gathered a lot of great feedback from our recruiting partners. It seemed only right to share this information with the student population to help you in your future job searches. We wanted to make sure that everyone could benefit from this information that was shared, as the employers provided some very valuable tips on networking and interviewing that applies to all candidates, no matter the organization or function.

The following is a summary of the information collected:
• Dropping by to say hello at the job fair. Employers who interviewed after the Employment Information Fair on April 16 were surprised that the candidates that they had pre-selected to interview did not stop by their tables at the event to say introduce themselves. This small gesture demonstrates to employers a certain enthusiasm for the opportunities for which they are recruiting (and is also just good networking). Had there not been a similar environment (i.e., job fair), an introductory email would have accomplished the same outcome. This may seems like a small action, but it distinguishes people.

• expoSItion. Employers stated that this was an outstanding opportunity to meet with students who were potential employees or on their pre-selected interview lists and to have a discussion with them in the context of a project they had worked on. This was stated as a truly valuable to our employers. Some employers asked if a similar venue could be set up if their future visits do not coincide with the expoSITion, as they really enjoyed the extra exposure to the candidates and their work. It most likely would not be as formal or require such preparation, but the work/project related context was considered to be very helpful in giving students another way to demonstrate knowledge, skills, communication, and confidence.

• Interviews. Employers throughout the term interviewed many students from SI and found some that are a potential match for positions and subsequently, were asked to participate in second round interviews or were offered full-time or internship positions. Employers shared with us that some students were well prepared for their interview and very enthused about the opportunities that they were interviewing for. However, others, as well trained and skilled as they were for the potential position, showed a remarkable lack of enthusiasm and failed to demonstrate that they had done any thinking or preparation for our specific opportunities. Students should be prepared to articulate not just why they are great, but why they are great for . To an interviewer, this demonstrates that the candidate has done some thinking of the role and the specific company. Employers stated that they could understand why enthusiasm may be a hard commodity at any given time, as students are frequently in the middle of multiple interviews or students may feel overly-comfortable in a familiar environments, but as interviewers, they don’t appreciate or relate to this. There was much missed opportunity, and it was a shame that the employers were in a position to conclude (in several instances) ‘good candidate…but not enthusiastic about the position’.

• Candidates not differentiating themselves. Employers explained that this occurred in 2 ways:
1. Students over-emphasized their skills with regard to methodology/techniques. It’s very important for students to convey and demonstrate that they are well-trained and experienced in the core research techniques/tools. But students should keep in mind that this only meets our expectations. Employers that come to campus already have such respect for the SI program that they would expect all students to be well-trained (that's why they are here!). What students also need to convey is how they have applied the skills/techniques, how they used them to achieve some benefit, and their insights and lessons learned from their application to real-world problems.

2. Students over-emphasized group work. Working with teams is a critical part of ‘real-world skills’ and it is recognized that many classes emphasize group projects. But students should always be prepared to articulate what their individual contribution was to any project. The interviewers recognized the value of the group project, but they hire individuals. They can only make a positive hiring decision when they get a strong sense of who the individual is (their individual skills, strengths, expertise, passions, and insight/perspectives). (SI Careers Note: We strongly emphasize that demonstrated teamwork is important in interviewing, but that while discussing your group work, students should specifically talk about the role they played in the project (less "we" and more "me")."

Please don't hesitate to contact SI Careers to set up a time to further discuss your interviewing strategy, to go over potential questions, or to just practice your answers. It never ever hurts to have someone provide you with feedback on how you convey yourself!

Posted by kkowatch on April 17, 2007 at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

Job Search Tips from SI ASB 2007 - Part 2

It's been a while, but it's about time for me to now to give you the last set of information collected from SI ASB 2007. Check out the website for more information on the sites, what students did, pictures, and their post-trip comments.

The following information has been collected from the National Science Foundation, the Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Library, the Museum of Televsion and Radio, New York Public Library, Netaid, and Columbia University Libraries. Unfortunately, because of my schedule, I was not able to visit the United Nations or the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, but if you are interested in information about or an internship at either of those locations, please contact me at kkowatch@umich.edu

At the National Science Foundation – Office of Cyberinfrastructure I got to meet SI celebrity Dan Atkins and also meet with two other staff members. All seemed very pleased at the idea of having an intern there for the summer and was interested in hearing from students about what they might be interested in working on. For full-time employement, NSF hires pretty much only PhD's but others are hired through civil service appointments. I checked out their employment site and there are a few positions on there that may be of interest to HCI and IEMP students.

At the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), I got to go on a tour of their gorgeous Art Deco central library, which is newly renovated on the inside and under construction on the outside. Brooklyn is a beautiful part of New York that I wish I would have had more time to enjoy. I did get to buy a bagel and a cup of coffee from a guy in a truck while I waited for the library to open, which was an interesnting point of my trip!

BLP is the 5th largest public library in the US with 1500 employees (1000 FT, 500PT) spread out over 50 branches. There are over 100 job titles – union and non-union. The libraries have some great technology systems in place for computer reservations and printing, etc. Clerical staff actaully run the libraries; as a result, the librarians do librarian work (cataloging, programming, etc) – not administrative work. BPL is always hiring librarians and also suggested the Technical Resource Specialist as another related position that might be of interest to SI students. Librarins are hired all over all the time -- check out their employment website for more information. The BPL represenative that I met with suggested that if you are interested, send your resume in even if there is not a position posted. BPL offers up to $100 in reimbursement for interview travel costs and $1500 relocation benefit

Suggestion for SI students interested in BPL:
Should be interested in public library customer services
Prior experience as interns or from part time jobs
90+ languages are spoken at the BPL branches – multi-lingual abilities a plus!
Willingness to work with kids and youth
Lots of programs
Promotion from within – you can move up very quickly
Also many opportunities in non-library work – IT, HR, etc
Different visions, ideas accepted to increase programming, etc

I took the long route to the Queens Library from BPL and got to experience the NYC subway system at its best! At Queens Library, I met with SI alumnus Laurel Sandor (MSI 2001). Laurel, formerly of Michigan, told me that she has had a fantastic experience at QL and that they very frequently hire entry-level librarians. She recommended that you look for Queens at the ALA Conferences.

Summer internships are not routine at QL, but are a possiblity as is getting paid if the timing is right. If you are okay with being unpaid, an internship is even more possible. Contact me (kkowatch@umich.edu) to get contact information. Laurel also shared some great information on the area libraries, so if you are considering moving to the New York city area for a librarian position, let me know and I'll pass on her information.

My next stop was at the Museum of Television and Radio where I had a fun-filled couple hours with Douglas F. Gibbons, (SI Alumnus) Director of Library & Information Services. Doug shared with me some fantastic stories about UM in the late 1960's and early 70's (for example, The Doors played at his homecoming dance his sophomore year -- who would've thought!?) and also more stories about all the cool things you get to do and the people you get to meet when you work at MTR (i.e. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Lucille Ball, and all the national televion network executives!). Anyway... back to business...
It sounds like MTR is a great place to work; hence jobs are hard to come by. However, Doug had some great tips for SI students that are interested in the field:
Volunteer (at WUOM for example)
Be aware of news, journalistic styles and points of views
Take at least one or two (or more) computer classes
Dabble in all sorts of those things —including what you don’t want to do (i.e. cognates) to increase your relevant knowledge base
Get a mentor – a great mentor
Do things you haven’t done before – volunteer to do things you haven’t done or to learn new things or to meet people. (i.e. be a host – greet people at events) – get exposure!
Learn music, history, politics -- interest things that you can talk about with anyone!

MTR has been working to update their technology and getting a new digtial asset management system in place. There are many ideas and many smart people there, but a limited budget. If you want to intern there and you have a good idea or some applicable skills, let me know and I'll put you in touch with Doug.

On my last day in New York City, I visited Columbia University Libraries where I got to sit in on the closing reception for the ASB interns. The project coordinators were all invited and had just wonderful things to say about the program and all the SI students. Columbia University has 25,000 students, only 4,000 of which are undergraduates. It's a gorgeous campus and the sun came out just as I was leaving, so I got to witness it in its glory because it was nearly 60 that day!

The reception I attended turned into a roundtable discussion in which I was able to collect more tips to pass on to you. There are several generalist libraries at Columbia. Sometimes the "librarians" need a specilized PhD to work with faculty and serve their needs appropriately, but it really depends on the area of study and the faculty preference.

Internships are a way to demonstrate ability to jump in and learn, beyond that of classroom experience. Make sure to get a reference from your internships!

Tips for job and internship searchers:
1. Take advantage of professional organizations: set up informational interviews, use them for a targeted job search. Find a regional, state, or national group and make a phone call to make this happen.
2. If you are interested in working at a CUNY library or some of the other city libraries, a second masters is a necessity. (MLIS plus a specialty masters–but it can be in anything).
3. Cover letters are more and more important -- consider yours carefully before you send it. Preparation for interviewing is also very importation. Research and practice!
4. Create a professional voice for yourself outside of your job. Find an outlet for ideas and views. This extends beyond the core library responsibilities and can include teaching, publishing, and involvement.
5. Be proactive and flexible. In NYC, there are many organizations you can get involved in – i.e. NY Archivists Roundtable. Take advantage of such organizations to get invovled, show intiative, and to learn new things.
6. Find a mentor to be a resource and to bounce ideas off of. They can help you generate ideas about your external strengths and what you have accomplished and what is your potential.
7. Determine the type of position or type of institution you want to work in (in the future), then work to gain the skills to make it happen through school and work experiences. Pay attention to qualifications in job descriptions and work to achieve those specific qualifications.
8. Be mobile – geographically, but also among library types – academic, public, special, etc. All experiences can be valuable!
9. Take advantage of grant funded positions – they are limited term assignments but can provide great experience and can turn into a full time, permanent position

After Columbia, I wandered down Manhattan to the New York Public Library. I met with a HR representative there who coordinates the ASB program for the SI students. She gave me some information to pass on to the SI student popuation. SI students interested in FT employment, candidates should go to the website and apply. I already know of a couple SI-LIS students who have had offers from NYPL, so there is already an established recruiting relationship there. There is a range of "culture" at NYPL: the non-circulating libraries are quite different from the branch libraries. So, there is somethign for everyone!

For internships, it’s a bit more informal. Students should contact me (kkowatch@umich.edu) or the Director of the department that they are interested in directly for an internship.

My last visit of the the ASB trip was to Netaid where I got to sit in on Sameer Halai and Cheng-Lun Li's end of week presenations (also where I first heard of Second Life). Netaid is a pretty interesting organization who's mission is "Educating, inspiring, and empowering young people to fight global poverty." Although its not explicit, they are strongly invested in using technology to educate and to fulfill their mission (hence the interest in Second Life). The organization recently became part of Mercy Corps. Mercy Corps is opening The Hunger Center, which definitely will have job opportunities for those students interested in community informatics.

If you are interested in a full-time position or internship with Netaid, check out their website for information, or contact me for more information about an internship if you are inspired and have an idea of a project or work that you could share.

Posted by kkowatch on April 10, 2007 at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

How I found my summer internships...

While I hope many of you have already found your internship(s) for the summer, I wanted to provide some advice based on my internship search. While my search was relatively direct and only involved a few inquiries, I feel that there is one thing that made it easy: networking. As some of you know, I am primarily interested in government documents. While taking SI 579 Government Information in the fall, I met with the instructor during her office hours to discuss my interest in the field. During the meeting, she suggested that I contact Grace York if I was interested in an internship at any time during my studies. So prior to spring break I emailed Grace noting my interest in government documents and pointing out that much of the recent research on government document librarian training highly suggests an internship in a large government documents center. Within a few hours, I had a response that showed interest in my inquiry and an interview was setup. During this interview, Grace noted that the government documents center could only support a 3 credit hour internship. While I had some other possible locations in mind for the additional 3 credit hours, I asked Grace what she would suggest. She noted that a position as a map librarian intern or Numeric and Spatial data librarian intern would be a good match. She also volunteered to make additional contact with a few of her colleagues to scout out the opportunities. I later corresponded with Jennifer Green and had another interview/meeting to plan that part of the internship. At that time, Jennifer also implied carrying over my internship into the fall semester. While I'm not leaving Ann Arbor for the summer, I feel that the internships that I ended up with will be very helpful in securing a position after graduation. So if you still are looking for internships, consider talking to your profs or setting up a meeting with career service, they are bound to have ideas and connections regardless of your field of interest.

Posted by raycw on April 04, 2007 at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

Top Ten Job/Internship Resources for SI Students

SI Career Services recommends using a variety of resources for your job and internship search. Past MSI Employment Reports have shown that job and internship searches have been most successful when at least two to three resources were utilized throughout a search.

1. SI Student-Alumni Network / UM Alumni Network
2. iTrack - Check the Archived Employer Contact Information under the iTrack Jobs Tab for listings of additional contact information and job and internships posted in past years
3. Past SI-MSI Student's Intenships Listings
4. Hoover's (see blog below on how to use and benefits)
5. Networking with SI Faculty (and other UM Faculty)
6. UM Student Employment Web Site
7. Industry or function Listservs - Below is just a sampling of what's out there:
ACM SIGCHI CHI-Jobs Mailing List
Society of American Archivists
8. National Job Search Boards -- but not Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com. Use Vertical Search Engine Job Boards:
Indeed.com SimplyHired.com Jobster.com
9. Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce Member Directory / Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce Member Directory
Use these lists like Hoover's -- not for jobs, but to expand your knowledge of what employers are close by.
10. LinkedIn Join the U-M School of Information Group. Invite everyone that you know!

If you have something that you want to add, please do! Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on April 03, 2007 at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)