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CV Critique Days - UM Career Center

Your CV is usually the first chance a search committee has to assess your candidacy for an academic job, so you'll want your document to be as strong as possible. Our CV Critique Days in April offer individual feedback on your document. Contact our Information Desk at 734-764-7460 to schedule your half hour appointment:

Monday, April 6, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, April 7, 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Thursday, April 16, 2:00-4:00 p.m.

Tom Lehker
Senior Assistant Director,
The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316

Posted by kkowatch on March 27, 2009 at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

Professional Portfolio Review & Tips

I came across this great resource from a listserv I was reading. I look at this site pretty frequently for job postings, but I've never really explored the other options. If you are a member of IAI, you can get your portfolio reviewed by professionals in the field.

Check this link out for more information. General information below.

Mentoring Program

The Mentoring Program serves to introduce experienced IA professionals ("mentors") to practitioners, newcomers to the field, students, and anyone interested in being mentored ("protégés"). We help by recruiting mentors, providing a listing to prospective mentors for protégés to review, and, if requested, making introductions based on criteria provided during registration.

This program is provided as a service to IAI members only. Mentors do not need to be members, but protégés do. If you are not already a member, you can join the Information Architecture Institute to participate as a protégé.

Anther resource that was offered from this discussion included:
"Designer needed: portfolio required"

Posted by kkowatch on March 27, 2009 at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)

Museum Studies Poster Opportunity

The Michigan Museums Association (MMA) is once again inviting college and university students in museum studies, public history, historic preservation, arts administration and related fields to submit proposals for paper presentations at the annual meeting of the MMA. The annual meeting will be held in Ann Arbor, October 13-16, 2009.

This year’s theme is “Embracing Change in a Time of Change.” Student presentations may report on research projects or practicum/internship experiences and should represent the student’s exploration of new or novel ideas, methodologies, techniques, audiences or responses to challenges found in museums or like organizations. The operative words are “new” and “novel.” We hope to avoid simplistic “show and tell” presentations. Presentations should be about 20 minutes in length.

Proposals should be 1-2 pages in length and provide a title, a 2- paragraph précis of the presentation, and technology needs (if any). A copy of the student’s resume including full contact information as well as their college or university and advisor’s name should be provided, also. Proposals should be submitted as Word documents attached to an email with the subject heading, “MMA Student,” and sent to cmuseum@cmich.edu. The deadline for submission is May 1, 2009 and students will be informed of their proposal’s status by May 15, 2009.

For further information, please contact me directly.

Bill Pretzer
William S. Pretzer, Ph.D.
Director, Museum of Cultural and Natural History and Museum Studies
Central Michigan University
103 Rowe Hall
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859
P: 989-774-7165
F: 989-774-2612

Posted by kkowatch on March 27, 2009 at 08:08 AM | Comments (0)

Upcoming Ann Arbor Spark Events

A couple interesting upcoming events sponsored by Ann Arbor Spark:

The Ann Arbor Spark Calendar of Events and links to registration, etc can be found here.

Job Search Brownbag: The Search for Work
Sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2009
Time: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Location: SPARK East, 215 W. Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti
Cost: FREE (You are welcome to bring a lunch and drinks will be provided.)
You are invited to join J.T. Pedersen and other highly talented and accomplished job seekers in an informative and interactive session. In his own words, "Becoming involuntarily unemployed, at any point in your life, can evoke any number of conflicting emotions. Then, the reality that you need to start a job search campaign provides yet another jolt. What do you do? How do you do it? What about this 'networking' thing? Please, join J. T. as he discusses 6 key components for self-promoting one's self in today's job market. If you have any questions about this or other talent programs, feel free to contact Amy Cell at Amy@AnnArborSPARK.org or 734-821-0075.

Entrepreneur 1.0 - The Elevator Pitch

Sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK
Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Time: 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Location: SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty, Lower Level, Ann Arbor
Cost: FREE
Speaker: Chuck Salley
This program will discuss the critical question of how do you describe your opportunity to a stranger who you meet when you share a brief elevator ride. How do you achieve the goal of getting the "Tell me more" response? How do you position yourself against the competition? What is your market positioning and value proposition? And, how do I answer all the questions in less than 1 minute? This session is normally taught as the initial module of Entrepreneur Boot Camp.

Job Search Brownbag: LinkedIn Training
A workshop focused on how to use LinkedIn to build your business and personal brand.
Sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK
Speaker: Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing
Moderated by J. T. Pedersen, Technical Business Consultant
Date: Thursday, April 2, 2009
Time: 11:45 am - 1:15 pm
Location: SPARK East, 215 W. Michigan Avenue, Ypsilanti
Cost: FREE (You are welcome to bring a lunch and drinks will be provided.)
A graduate of Michigan State University, Derek Mehraban has 15+ years advertising, marketing and interactive experience. Mehraban is focused on digital and internet marketing, event marketing, web search, web 2.0, social media marketing, blogging and generational marketing. Mehraban also teaches the New Media Drivers License (sm) course at Michigan State University. And blogs at The Digital Bus. For more information, contact J.T. Pedersen and/or Derek Mehraban.

Mingle & Match
Sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK
Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Location: SPARK Central, 330 East Liberty, Lower Level, Ann Arbor
Cost: FREE
Click here to register
If you are launching a startup, and need people to help you, come to this high energy event where you can have 1 minute to tell about your business and what kind of help you are seeking followed by a networking session.
To be a presenter, send a one paragraph description of your business concept, along with a description of the talent that you are seeking, to Amy@AnnArborSPARK.org.
If you are interested in joining a Startup, and are looking for excitement now and pay later, or want to just help a startup be part of the regional economic transformation, attend this event where you can learn about early stage businesses, and have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Questions can be directed to Amy Cell, at Amy@AnnArborSPARK.org or 734-821-0075.
Note: This event is for people that want to join a startup as a co-founder, investor, early employee or advisory board member. This is not an appropriate forum for service providers or companies looking for customers or clients. (However, we have compiled an "Entrepreneur Service Provider Directory," and if you would like to be included in that, please send a 1-2 paragraph description of your business, the services that you offer, and an early stage entrepreneur that we can contact as a reference to Mary@AnnArborUSA.org.)
Event Website: www.annarborusa.org

Posted by kkowatch on March 25, 2009 at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

Blog: Why Your LinkedIn Job Search is Failing

A great blog entry from The Simple Job Search about how to best utilize your LinkedIn profile. (Not on LinkedIn? Join TODAY!)

Note that I actually pulled this from the UM Career Center's website. They have a lot of great article links on their website, a new feature. It's great -- check it out!

Why Your LinkedIn Job Search is Failing
By Kevin Donlin | February 26th, 2009

Lots of folks are using LinkedIn to look for a job these days.

And lots of folks are failing.


Here’s the answer, short and sweet, from a blog posting by Dan Schwabel:

The problem is that most job seekers don’t optimize their profile, cultivate their network, join and participate in groups, use applications and exchange endorsements. That is basically everything you should be doing in a nutshell.

Let’s break those LinkedIn essentials down, in checklist format …

( ) Optimize your profile. It should be chock full of keywords that represent the job title you want, your skills, and any other words that will help your name pop up when hiring managers and recruiters search on LinkedIn.

Tip: Pretend you’re a recruiter, looking for someone who does what you do. Search LinkedIn. Did your profile pop up on the first page of search results? If not, which profiles did? What keywords are in those profiles? Copy and paste as many into your profile as will fit and apply to you.

( ) Build your network to at least 50 people. You did? Good. Build it to 100 people, then 250.

( ) Join and participate in at least 3 groups. Examples: your university alumni group (duh), industry groups, city/state groups, etc.

( ) Put applications on your profile. They allow you to show off what you’re reading or PowerPoint presentations you’ve created. Very nice. Find applications here.

( ) Exchange recommendations with others. This is ESSENTIAL. Do this now, today! The best way to get good ones is to first give them. Learn how here.

Tip: Just get this recommendation thing done. I recently counseled an unemployed manager who has failed to get a single recommendation on his LinkedIn profile after 6 months of “trying.” He isn’t really trying, of course. But his job search really does suck.

Posted by kkowatch on March 24, 2009 at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)

Applying for Government Jobs? MORE Tips for Writing KSA's

Since I've been writing a lot about federal jobs lately (we did have the CIA Librarians visit us yesterday also!), I thought it would be good for me to provide more information on the writing of KSA's (Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities).

The WRK4US is currently having a great discussion about this (and the topic comes up pretty regularly on that particular listserv). You can see the thread at https://lists.duke.edu/sympa/info/wrk4us You'll need to login and look at the Archives, specifically March 2009.

Links for assistance and advice:

Posted by kkowatch on March 24, 2009 at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

Good News!

Hiring Freeze Lifted for Federally Funded Jobs

The Smithsonian Institution is lifting its hiring freeze for workers paid from federal funds now that Congress has approved a 7 percent increase for the museum complex's budget, which began in October. Budget figures for fiscal 2009 announced yesterday total $731.4 million in federal funds for the Smithsonian, up from $682.6 million in fiscal 2008. The increase includes about $31 million more for salaries and expenses such as utilities, security and operating costs.

A hiring freeze remains in effect, however, for jobs paid from Smithsonian trust funds, spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas said.
The increased federal funding comes from the $410 billion omnibus spending bill that was signed into law last week. Increased facilities funding will help revitalize some Smithsonian buildings. Improvements are planned at the National Museum of Natural History, the National Zoo and support buildings. Federal funding represents about 70 percent of the Smithsonian's annual budget of $1 billion.

The Smithsonian also is receiving $25 million from the federal stimulus package. About $5 million will be spent on repairs at the crumbling Arts and Industries Building, which has been shuttered on the Mall. The zoo will receive a $11.4 million more for fire protection and other upgrades to animal holding facilities at its Front Royal, Va., research center. -- Associated Press

Posted by kkowatch on March 20, 2009 at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

Have you considered AmeriCorpsVISTA?

I going to be shortly writing a blog about seeking jobs related to the $787 billion economic stimulus plan, but I wanted to post an article about the expansion of Federal Programs for Service.

Back in the day, you had to be under 23 or 25 (I can't remember which) to participate as an AmeriCorps volunteer. However, there is no age limit now, and students/people with three years experience are encouraged to consider the AmeriCorps*VISTA program. (Note that the VISTA program is different than the regular program and places people with experience in higher level, administrative roles). See the comments for more information.

See here for more information on eligibility.

Note that I've edited this post three times because I want to be sure that I'm conveying the right thread of information by posting this. I'm afraid of two main schools of thoughts developing from this post: 1. That the economy is so bad that graduating students should consider options like AmeriCorpsVISTA as an option rather than pursing a full-time job OR 2. That this is a normal option that people pursue after SI. Neither of these are true... we are still seeing regular placement for our recent grads and soon-to-be-graduating students and although the economy could be better, there are still jobs out there and as long as I've been at SI, our graduates have pursued professional positions and further education after graduation. So, the presence of this post is really only for students/readers that are interested in the option of doing service-oriented work after graduation -- or, even as an option for you to share with family, friends, etc.

On to the article...

House Passes Expansion of Programs for Service

Published: March 18, 2009

WASHINGTON — The House voted Wednesday to approve the largest expansion of government-sponsored service programs since President John F. Kennedy first called for the creation of a national community service corps in 1963.

The legislation, which passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 321 to 105, would more than triple the number of service positions by expanding AmeriCorps and creating volunteer programs focused on education, health care, clean energy and veterans. The total number of positions would grow to 250,000 from 75,000 now in AmeriCorps.

The Senate is expected to adopt a nearly identical bill early next week.

The action by the House came three weeks and a day after President Obama in his first speech to a joint session of Congress called for “a renewed spirit of national service for this and future generations,” and lawmakers said they were answering his challenge.

The broad expansion of AmeriCorps, at a cost of nearly $6 billion over the next five years, would establish Mr. Obama as the boldest proponent of service programs since Kennedy exhorted Americans to “ask what you can do for your country.”

Mr. Obama, in a statement, praised the House vote. “At this moment of economic crisis, when so many people are in need of help and so much needs to be done, this could not be more urgent,” he said, adding, “It is up to every one of us to do his or her small part to make the world a better place.”

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, said, “This has been a great day.”

Critics, however, expressed concern about the cost of the measure, and some said the money could be better spent, perhaps on raises for members of the military. A single Democrat joined 104 Republicans in opposing the bill; 251 Democrats and 70 Republicans voted for it.

In addition to expanding the number of positions, the bill would raise the education stipend for volunteers to $5,350 — the same amount as a Pell Grant.

The legislation is a top priority of the first lady, Michelle Obama, who has said public service will be a main focus of hers in the White House. She founded the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program, after leaving her law career.

Representative George Miller, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said Mrs. Obama had pulled him aside at a White House dinner to introduce herself and express her keen interest in the bill moving quickly.

At a lunch with Mr. Obama the next day, Mr. Miller recounted the conversation, aides said, prompting a jovial warning from the president. “Speaking from long-term experience,” he said, “it sounds to me like you better get that bill out of committee.”

Kennedy’s service program, which began after his death, was called Vista, Volunteers in Service to America. The House bill is the GIVE Act, for Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education. The Senate legislation has a simpler name: the Serve America Act.

Mr. Obama’s budget provides $1.2 billion for the expansion of programs in the next fiscal year.

The House bill seeks to encourage middle school and high school students to engage in volunteer activities, allowing them to earn a $500 education credit to be used for college costs. It also establishes “youth engagement zones,” a new service-learning program intended to establish partnerships between community organizations and schools in high-poverty neighborhoods.

The bill seeks to establish Sept. 11 as a national day of service though it would not be a formal holiday.

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland and a major proponent of the legislation, invoked the nation’s long history of service programs, saying, “This is not about programs; this is about value.”

Posted by kkowatch on March 19, 2009 at 03:23 PM | Comments (2)

Seeking Michigan! Archives

This isn't really a job-search oriented topic, but I thought that some readers would find this new development interesting (and it could eventually be a potential source of employment for someone!)

From the Archives & Archivists Listserv...

Come check out www.seekingmichigan.org! Among other things, you'll find digitized maps, photos, oral history, blue prints, sheet music, Civil War records and Michigan death records. There's also a blog (named "Look") and a "Teach" section for educators.

More details can be found in the official press release, which I've pasted below. - Bob


Following is a news release issued by the Department of History, Arts and Libraries today.

'Seeking Michigan' Web site employs today's technology to deliver Michigan's history to information seekers

The Department of History, Arts and Libraries today announced the launch of the Seeking Michigan Web site (www.seekingmichigan.org), a growing collection of unique historical information that - through digitized source documents, maps, films, images, oral histories and artifacts - creatively tells the stories of Michigan's families, homes, businesses, communities and landscapes.

Seeking Michigan's first major project is the digitization of roughly 1 million death records covering the years 1897 through 1920. These records - never before available electronically - are indexed for easy searching by name, death date, location and age, and hold tremendous research opportunities for genealogists, historians and students.

Whether they are interested in Civil War records, photographs, architecture, music, photography or family history, Michigan enthusiasts are sure to discover a brand new side to Michigan through this unique online resource, a collaboration that has long been in the making between the Archives of Michigan and the Library of Michigan. Site design and digitization of resources were funded through various grants.

"Seeking Michigan takes great information from both of our agencies and makes it available to everyone in a convenient and easy-to-navigate Web site," said State Librarian Nancy R. Robertson. "We were inspired by the state motto in designing the site. If you look, you will discover stories, photos and much more to connect you to our state's pleasant peninsulas and one-of-a-kind past."

With plans in place to add much more material, Seeking Michigan currently includes:

-More than 100,000 pages of Civil War documents; -Approximately 10,000 photographs; -A variety of Michigan sheet music; -Roughly 1 million death records; -A rich section about Michigan's 44 past governors; -Works Progress Administration data (circa 1936-1942) about land and buildings throughout rural Michigan; and -Oral histories with notable Michigan residents.

According to Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan Historical Center, Seeking Michigan boldly moves the archives and library experience outside of the bricks and mortar of the building in which the collections are housed. By employing the latest Web technologies and social media, the site aims for an enhanced user experience. "We want to give visitors historical content and, whenever possible, the context for that content," she explained. "For K-12 educators, there's also a 'teach' page that links up with related resources and grade-level content expectations."

Clark noted that Seeking Michigan will open up Michigan's history to a whole new market of information hunters. "Seeking Michigan is definitely a big boost for those who already have an interest in our state's history, including scholars, authors, genealogists and publishers," she said. "What we're very excited about is the prospect of introducing new generations of Michigan residents to the Michigan they thought they knew and helping them forge connections with our state's remarkable past."

Seeking Michigan was made possible with generous funding from the Talbert and Leota Abrams Foundation, a Lansing-based nonprofit that primarily focuses on funding library and educational science programs. Since the mid-1980s, the Abrams Foundation has provided more than $2.5 million toward the development of the Library of Michigan's and Archives of Michigan' genealogy collection, including the digitization of the death records so crucial to family historians' research efforts. The National Historic Publications and Records Commission provided additional funding.
The Library of Michigan Foundation (www.michigan.gov/lmfoundation) and the Michigan History Foundation (www.michigan.gov/mhfoundation) helped facilitate the funding process for Seeking Michigan and provide donors the opportunity to contribute to Seeking Michigan and many other initiatives.

The Archives of Michigan is part of the Michigan Historical Center. The Michigan Historical Center and the Library of Michigan are agencies within the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL). Dedicated to enriching quality of life and strengthening the economy by providing access to information, preserving and promoting Michigan's heritage and fostering cultural creativity, HAL also includes the Mackinac Island State Park Commission and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/hal.

Bob Garrett
Archives of Michigan
Telephone: (517) 241-1382
E-mail: garrettr1@michigan.gov

Support preservation of Michigan's historic lighthouses through your purchase of a "Save Our Lights" specialty license plate. Find out more when you discover your connections at www.michiganhistory.org .

Posted by kkowatch on March 18, 2009 at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

Article: Librarians Confront New Uncertainties Over Training and Jobs

Librarians Confront New Uncertainties Over Training and Jobs
From the Chronicle of Higher Education

How many academic librarians does the world need? More than it’s likely to have in a few years, as the baby-boom generation ages out of the work force, the prevailing theory has been. But the economic crisis may be changing that, and the job prospects and skills of tomorrow's librarians were hot topics at the 14th biannual conference of the Association of College and Research Libraries, which ended here on Sunday. Preliminary figures showed 3,036 registrants for this year's conference—a better number than the organizers expected, given the economy, and very close to the attendance figures for the 2007 conference, held in Baltimore.

“We’ve been hearing for a long time about the impending crisis in the library work force,” said José-Marie Griffiths, dean of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ms. Griffiths, who spoke on a panel on trends affecting libraries, helps lead a long-term study, “The Future of Librarians in the Workforce,” being conducted under the aegis of the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

So far, that study appears to support the theory that future demand will exceed supply. There are about 30,000 academic librarians with American Library Association-certified degrees working now, Ms. Griffiths said. Over the next 10 years, 46 percent of those are expected to leave the work force. That attrition, on top of an expected increase of 3 percent in new positions, would more than absorb the qualified candidates coming out of library schools.

A prolonged economic downturn tends to disprove theories and disrupt plans, however. Librarians may delay retirement or postpone career changes. During past recessions, “library jobs continued to steadily increase,” Ms. Griffiths said, but there is no guarantee that pattern will hold this time around.

Slim Job Prospects

For now, uncertainty rules. Word at the conference was that many academic libraries have moved slowly to fill vacancies, reluctant to make new hires until they know for sure what budgetary constraints and cuts they face.

“There are just a lot less jobs than there were even three months ago,” Paul Solomon, an associate professor in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, said in a conversation after he took part in a panel on recruiting and retaining the library work force of tomorrow.

Another member of that panel, Barbara B. Moran, a professor at Chapel Hill's library school, also noted openings were scarcer. “The entry level is hurting,” she said in response to a question from a recent library-school graduate. "It is a tough job market this spring.”

Ms. Moran also mentioned “deprofessionalization” at academic libraries: a shift away from hiring workers with degrees in library and information science.

That development came up again at a staged debate on whether the master’s in library science has any relevance for the future of the academic library. The moderator, James G. Neal, vice president for information services and university librarian at Columbia University, referred to the growing role of “raised-by-wolves feral professionals.”

“We’re seeing a softening of the announced requirements for academic-library positions,” Mr. Neal said, calling that “a change of some significance.”

It grows out of increased demand for library workers with skills in many different arenas, not all of them digital. If you need to hire a Tibetan-studies librarian, as Mr. Neal did last year, a candidate with a Ph.D. in that subject area may be a better fit than one with an M.L.S. or M.L.I.S. degree.

The debaters—Liz Bishoff, director of digital preservation services at the library cooperative BCR, arguing for the continued relevance of the degree, and Arnold Hirshon, executive director of Nelinet, another library cooperative, arguing against—almost seemed to agree that the degree per se is not the problem. The question is whether it equips students to connect people and systems and information, as Mr. Hirshon put it. Library schools “too often teach the transient skills that rapidly become irrelevant.”

New Competencies

Meanwhile, conference-goers had plenty of opportunities to brush up on their skills and pick up new ones. The conference was hands-on and content-rich, heavy on poster sessions and multimedia presentations that focused on new applications and online resources that help get the work of the library done. Social networking was a big draw. Rooms filled for sessions focused on how libraries can use such tools to get the word out about their services and to connect with faculty members and students.

Joseph Murphy of the Yale University Science Libraries steered librarians away from blogs and toward Twitter, which allows users to share short updates and links instantly. “In this mobile world, I don’t have time to read blogs anymore,” he said. “I’m going to say it publicly: A blog is old-fashioned.”

Twitter can eat up a lot of staff time, he said, but is one of “the new competencies” librarians need to build in order to stay connected with users. Eventually, he said, he hopes to see reference materials delivered via such services.

At a session on “Beyond the Buzz: Planning Library Facebook Initiatives Grounded in User Needs,” two librarians from George Washington University talked about a survey they did last year on students’ use of Facebook and how the university’s library could tap into that space without scaring students off. “Librarians have recognized that that’s where our users are,” said David Bietila, one of the presenters.

Participants in the survey said they would feel comfortable using Facebook to contact a librarian for help with research or an assignment—as long as the contact came from the student. They “seemed very concerned that the librarian would do something weird—poke them or jump into the discussion on their wall,” said Elizabeth Edwards, also of George Washington, who helped run the survey.

“Definitely don’t send applications or 'poke' students unless they’ve indicated they’re interested in those things,” Ms. Edwards advised. “And don’t be upset if a student doesn’t friend you.” If Facebook doesn’t do the trick, try Twitter or something else, she said.

One audience member pointed out that Facebook can be a way for students to make less academically productive use of the library. At his institution, he said, someone used Facebook to share a list of best secret places to have sex on campus—and posted the access code to the library’s closed stacks. Being an academic librarian in the 21st century has its risks.

Posted by kkowatch on March 16, 2009 at 04:28 PM | Comments (0)

Spend the Summer with Volunteers for Peace

(Note that this is most likely not a PEP-eligible summer experience.)

Volunteers for Peace (VFP) offers over 3,000 volunteer projects (sometimes known as “workcamps”) in more than 100 countries. VFP’s projects for spring/summer 2009 have just been announced today. Registration for most projects is $300, which includes room & board (but not transportation, of course)—less than staying in a youth hostel for the same amount of time! Projects typically last 2 to 3 weeks. Around two dozen U-M students participate in VFP programs each year. See a U-M student’s report on her VFP experience in France at: http://internationalcenter.umich.edu/swt/work/resources/workcamps.html.

Registration has just been opened for summer 2009 projects. VFP is kindly providing an advance preview for U-M students for a 3-week period starting today (March 13). If you register between March 13 and April 3, you’ll have the best chance of getting your first choice. After April 3 this site will be opened to the general public and places will go quickly. Applicants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants in these projects come from around the world.

VFP offers a limited number scholarships (in the amount of the registration fee)—the DEADLINE for applying for a scholarship is Monday, March 16—see: http://www.vfp.org/scholar.html

Below is the URL for the early-access list of projects, courtesy of VFP: http://www.vfp.org/2009.html

Bill Nolting and Kelly Nelson, U-M International Center, Education Abroad Office, tel. 734-647-2299, http://internationalcenter.umich.edu/swt

Posted by kkowatch on March 16, 2009 at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

Random Thoughts on Twitter and (of course) Job Seaching

I usually like to post articles and things that other people say on this blog, but I've got some questions to ask and some thoughts to share.

Twitter. Do you twitter? I'm twittering... and I don't get it. I even spent some time today signing up to follow different orgs and people that I'm interested in... and I'm still not seeing anything earth-shattering. As a person who likes to keep my inbox and computer desk top *really* neat, I find that having to keep another tab open all day long (in addition to my Pandora tab), I'm feeling cluttered. And then I have to check it, refresh it, skim it... to my disappointment. What am I looking for? Its not as fun as Facebook... I've had students and other people share with me that its a great resource for job searching and for getting informed on industry trends and company happenings, but I've yet to see anything really informative come through.

I did read this really interesting article in Time last weekend (Desperately Trying to Quit Twitter By Lev Grossman) about Twitter and I found that I was envious of the author's experience... I even went so far to look up my favorite authors, but no luck, they don't twitter.

However, I signed up to follow CollegeGrad.com (they emailed me about Twitter) and I've found that they have some good topics to follow.

A few recent entries included:
TheCollegeGradResume and Cover Letters: Do's and Don'ts: http://tinyurl.com/ag93yd

TheCollegeGradN2 Publishing is seeking applicants for its growing advertising entrepreneurship program here: http://tinyurl.com/dylubx

TheCollegeGradFree career assessment will put you on the right career path.: http://tinyurl.com/dfmp27

TheCollegeGrad CollegeGrad recognized as one of the "Top 100 Edu Tweeters" by Online Degree World: http://bit.ly/GshyI

(I also just did see that the new Whole Foods is doing taste tests which is a plus... maybe I am coming around to Twitter!)

So, there is good stuff out there, but you have to looking for the right twitter friend to find it. I'll be adding updates on Twitter Friends to add that are related to job searches. TheCollegeGrad is a good start. The Resume Cover Letters: Do's and Don'ts article is a great start for some really good, basic advice.

If you have thoughts or suggestions on Twitter, send them on. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Posted by kkowatch on March 12, 2009 at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)

Worried about the economy? Companies are Still Hiring!

Our very own Judy Lawson forwarded me this article and I thought that this positive bit of news should be shared...

Even in a recession, some companies are hiring
By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer Christopher S. Rugaber, Ap Economics Writer – Mon Mar 9, 7:48 pm ET

Help wanted: pharmacists, engineers and nurses. Believe it or not, even some banks are hiring, at least for their technology teams. While the recession has claimed 4.4 million jobs, the economy has created others, many of them for highly trained and specialized professionals. More than 2 million jobs openings now exist across a range of industries, according to government data.

Job seekers beware, though. An average of nearly five people are competing for each opening. That's up sharply from a ratio of less than 2-to-1 in December 2007, when the recession was just starting and nearly 4 million openings existed.

Human resources executives say companies that are hiring are benefiting from a top-notch talent pool as applications pour in from a larger base of job seekers. The number of unemployed Americans has soared, to 12.5 million last month, from 7 million when the recession began. professionals.

Broadly, jobs are being added in education, health care and the federal government, the Labor Department said, with the government adding 9,000 new jobs last month alone.

But beyond those areas, jobs can be found in a variety of sectors. Some places that are hiring, such as companies that make nuclear power equipment, haven't been hit that hard by the recession. Others, such as discount retailers, are actually benefiting from the downturn as shoppers turn thriftier.

Even some businesses at the center of the economic meltdown are managing to add a few employees. Banks involved in recent mergers, for example, are hiring information technology specialists to help integrate companies, said Tig Gilliam, chief executive of the Adecco Group North America, a human resources firm.

Some mortgage lending companies, notably those never involved in subprime or other exotic loans, are actually growing and hiring as larger competitors have folded.

"We've been busy," said Terry Schmidt, chief financial officer of Guild Mortgage Co. in California, whose company has doubled in size, from around 450 to close to 900 employees, in the past year and a half.

The new hires originate home loans and process them, among other duties.

"We're finding that the talent pool — the level of talent and experience — is much better than we've ever had," Schmidt said.

Mortgage servicing companies — those that collect payments for the lenders that originated them — are also hiring as lower mortgage rates fuel mortgage refinance applications.

Marina Walsh, associate vice president of industry analysis at the Mortgage Bankers Association, said servicers "are just scrambling for workers."

The nuclear power industry, meanwhile, doesn't seem to have noticed the economic downturn. It is adding thousands of jobs as it gears up to build as many as 26 new nuclear power plants in the next decade.

Corporations such as Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Company and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy are hiring engineers and adding other workers as they expand manufacturing facilities, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade group. (GE Hitachi is a partnership between General Electric Co. and Tokyo-based Hitachi Ltd.)

Engineers of all kinds are in demand and are facing a rock-bottom jobless rate of about 3 percent, according to Gilliam of the Adecco Group North America. That compares with a nationwide unemployment rate of 8.1 percent last month.

Adecco is trying to fill about 1,200 engineering jobs, Gilliam said. They include product engineers who test the next generation of computer equipment, he said.

Other bright spots in an otherwise dismal labor market:

• Pharmacists: An aging U.S. population is taking more medicine and pharmacists are taking more time helping patients with chronic diseases manage their dosages, said Douglas Scheckelhoff of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists.

There is a 6 percent shortage of hospital pharmacists, Scheckelhoff said, while many drug stores are also looking to hire new pharmacists and pharmacist technicians, he said.

• Nurses: Hospitals also need more nurses to care for the aging population and to replace those nearing retirement, said Cheryl Peterson, director of nursing practice and policy at the American Nurses Association. Hospitals added 7,000 jobs of all kinds last month, even as the economy overall shed 651,000.

• Veterinarians: "There's a tremendous demand" for veterinarians, particularly to serve livestock growers in rural areas, said Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The government is also short of veterinarians needed to inspect slaughterhouses and undertake other food safety measures, he said. The Labor Department projects that the number of veterinary jobs will grow by 35 percent by 2016, DeHaven said.

Some companies are benefiting from the recession as shoppers shift to lower-priced stores. The economy has lost more than 600,000 retail jobs since the slowdown began, but discount retailer Family Dollar Stores Inc. is hiring.

The company plans to hire new workers for 200 stores it expects to open this year, said spokesman Josh Braverman, and will also add employees at some of its nine distribution centers. Family Dollar saw its sales at stores open at least a year rise by 6.4 percent in the three months ending in February.

Other companies prospering amid the economic gloom include liquidators — firms that sell the assets of troubled businesses.

Bill Angrick, chief executive of Washington, D.C.-based Liquidity Services Inc., which operates the Web site Liquidation.com, said his company expects record profits for the first quarter. Among the items his company liquidates are vehicles and networking and communications equipment.

Julie Davis, a spokeswoman for the firm, said it has openings for at least 10 people in its sales, marketing, operations and finance departments.

"We are absolutely in hiring mode," she said. The company employs about 700 people worldwide.


AP Business Writers Jeannine Aversa and Daniel Lovering contributed to this report.

Posted by kkowatch on March 11, 2009 at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

Entry-Level Interaction Design Narratives

As I was skimming through the listserv messages I receive, I saw an interesting thread in one email from a graduate student asking about career opportunities and how people got where they are today. Much to my pleasure, I saw that it was an SI student asking the question.

If you are a frequent reader of my blog, then you will know how much I encourage the use of listservs for job searching, networking, and as a way to develop your online presence. This particular student has utilized listservs for his internship search and for career exploration with excellent results.

See below for the question and (anonymized) dialogue that resulted. I think you'll see that there is some great advice here to heed!

Hello world,

HCI grad student here. As my fellow students and I near graduation
and explore all the different kinds of opportunities out there, it
would be extremely helpful to learn about your entry-level
interaction design experience.

What was your first ID job? Generally speaking, is there anything
you would have liked to be different? Which experiences were most
beneficial in the long-term?

Ah, nostalgia. :) My first job on the field was not even called
anything like design/HCI. It was 10 years ago, very accurately at
that, and I was in a developer position to design and program
auditorium control systems. These touch-screen things you all must
know and which never work as they should (Crestron, AMX, Cue and alike).

It was for a small retailer, though, where I was the sole responsible for the systems I made (they later on had others to scale up). Everybody thought it more of an engineering job, but it was really the whole package. It was also very much on shoe-string budget at times.

I did that to fund my studies, and it was fun while it lasted (Toyota Motors, Accenture, Finnish Defence Forces, etc.). There certainly was a lot to be hoped for too, especially when it came to established processing (none), but I think what was most beneficial was that it was so chaotic at times. You were able, and had to, experiment on your own and got to see various approaches and outcomes, some of which worked better than others. Additionally you got direct customer feedback from the actual users of the system and had to iterate and fix your things within the technical boundaries that were there. It also taught to speak and co-operate with others who built the wirings and designed electronics to support non-standard stuff.

Oh, those were the times indeed. :)


My first UX job was doing usability work on Windows 95 and Internet Explorer 1.0 back in 1994.

Looking backwards I wish I could have given myself the following advice:

1) Pick your manager. Early in my career I made choices that put the role and the project ahead of who I'd be working for. It took years for me to figure out I was happier, more effective, and grew more only when my boss was a good manager. A good manager will hire good people, will set clear goals, will teach you what they know, and will set you up to be happy (e.g. kick ass). A mediocre or bad manager, even on an amazing project will make you and everyone else miserable. I'd think hard about this in my interview loops, and even if given an offer I'd ask to speak to 2 of my potential manager's reports, plus use my network, to get as much of a sense of my new
manager as possible. I might ask for an extra phone conversation with my possible new boss (and if refused, I'd be very very worried. If I can't get their attention now, before I sign, I doubt I'll get it later). If given two different offers, I'd weigh the two bosses heavily in the equation.

2) Pick the company not the project. Projects get killed more often than companies do. Taking a non-sexy job at a great company gets you inside, gives you a safe start, and after 6 or 12 months you can find your way to the next cool sexy thing. But if you sign on to a great project at a lousy company, and the project is canceled, you're screwed.

3) Look to learn. It can be tempting to pick jobs where you are the only UX person. It seems more powerful and influential, which might be true. But you have no one to learn from or grow under about your trade. In interview loops ask yourself "what can I learn from these people?" If your career is just getting started, what you learn in the next couple of years might define the next 10. In all cases look to find a mentor in the industry, someone who can give you outside feedback and pointers who is not a co-worker. A good mentor's perspective increases how much you learn from every situation you
find yourself in.

4) Stay in touch with your fellow graduates. The network you've formed in school is tremendously valuable. It's hard to see it when you graduate, but those are industry contact points that are harder to create later. Facebook can be handy for this: make a "graudates of U of M HCI" group or something. Do what you can to stay in touch periodically, meet up conferences, etc. It might take a few years but I guarantee this network will give you advantages in the future.


To the job-seeking persons, especially new grads:

You might enjoy my column "How not to get a job in usability"

(and it might resonate with a few hiring managers as well)


When I finished grad school, I chose to work on a commercial software
product as both designer and researcher. I was hesitant about the
company but really thought the application was a good fit and I'd
get a chance to do a little bit of everything. But it really is like
Scott says - you should pick the company, not the project. While I
loved the product I worked on, and definitely had good managers and
colleagues, the company wasn't strong or supportive and very soon
the development team for my application was sent overseas.

Look for a company with potential for growth and that demonstrates
respect for employees with educational/training support, a team
atmosphere, and a pleasant working environment... and if possible,
that offers a chance to work on a variety of project types.

Class of '08 here, so while I don't have loads of experience to draw from, I can speak about some of the things I've noticed going on in the field right now, in terms of finding work.

I second Scott's suggestion to "Pick the company, not the project." My first job (actually an internship) was at a really great company that is very well-respected in the interaction design field. It was only for a few months, but it's since brought me many great job opportunities because it looks great on my resume.

I'm currently working at another high-profile agency where, just as Scott said, projects get killed all the time. But the company and client list looks great on my resume. My most exciting projects are outside of the office - in this economy, many people now need more for their web strategy than just a website, so I've been doing my most creative work "on the side" for friends and family. The benefit to this is I get to dictate what I do for them and how to do it, and I often get to experiment with new types of interaction and engagement. So I'm using the company I work for to build a good list of companies and clients on my resume, while using my "side projects" to demonstrate my abilities.

My other piece of advice to you and to anyone else out there who just starts working: don't let anyone pay you dirt just because you're a recent grad. My reasoning is that, since I just spent 4 years and about a quarter of a million dollars obtaining a professional degree, I deserve a fair salary commensurate with the experience of a mid-level designer.

Just FYI: "Entry level" is generally understood to be "immediately post-degree" and a couple years after that and your education is understood to include applicable experience. Asking for the compensation of a mid-level designer is a bit pushy and unlikely, generally, to meet with success. That you have internships and so forth in the field will usually push you to the high-end of that range, but isn't generally something to rely on.

That being said — if you've managed to pull it off, Good For You! But it isn't something most new graduates are going to be able to do. Bargaining hard for the best possible salary is a good thing. Bargaining from a false understanding of your own position is generally dangerous.

Posted by kkowatch on March 11, 2009 at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

Jobs for the MLIS other than a Public Librarian

One of the listservs that I subscribe to recently asked the question of what other jobs can i consider now that I have an MLIS (library degree) other than a library job.

See below for the responses and ideas! (And, I'm not at all surprise that the conversation takes a turn towards federal government libraries and environments.)

If you have other suggestions -- which I'm sure you do! -- add them as a comment.

Original Question:
Are there other good applications, in fields that actually have jobs, for an MLIS other than working in public libraries, particularly without needing to get a second master's degree? I understand that academic librarianship often requires an additional subject master's, law libraries sometimes require a JD in addition to an MLIS, etc. Basically I am just re-evaluating my career plans here before I proceed any further with additional student loan debt for my MLIS, making sure that there will be other applications for this degree that would have available positions and wouldn't require an additional master's degree.


Sure. There are always independent options (information broker, etc). I've considered these options myself as I don't particularly care for the public library and being an independent soul by nature, I might really enjoy it.

If you can do research, write well and work hard, you can get a job somewhere. This is because most college graduates don't write worth a fig, and nobody knows what research means. I make a good living figuring things out. What kind of things? Anything they want, and lots they didn't know they wanted. Get into some firm. Show them what you can do. They'll keep you.

What kind of job titles would these be? In my pre-library life I was a writer and editor, and I absolutely LOVE research. A job that combined writing and research would probably be my dream. I just have no idea where to begin to find such a job.

Technical writer is one I've seen a lot of.

Okay. Go to Monster.com right now. Type in "writer." See what comes up. Apply for grant-writing, tech writing and similar positions.

Do the same for "researcher," "analyst" and such.

Now I get to take a stab at my colleagues, which is always fun. You will often note that these jobs call for a lot of the sort of computer/programming skills that have a lot of letters. Sometimes you will see that they want a lot of statistical knowledge. Take this from me: you don't have to worry about that too much, and if they push it, you're better off working somewhere else. In the end, that sort of place will hire some dude who doesn't speak English but who can write code--and in the end, all they'll have is a lot of code.

Here is where your humanities grad shines. The boss needs an actual analysis of a customs law, not an exercise in data mining or a math project from hell. So do the reading and give her that. Amazingly enough, most business work is done in actual ordinary English writing. Of course, there are about three people in the country who can still write above an 8th-grade level, so you're golden.

Now that I'm on a roll, let me introduce you to the list of things nobody tells you aren't needed very much in modern bus-il-ness: the MBA. Computer programming skills. Math above arithmetic. Ever wonder what they did in business before WWII, when few administrators had gone to college? Somehow the fabric of the nation survived unrent. We even won the Big One with high school grads, but then, they taught writing in the schools. Did I mention that librarians read better books, too? But let that pass.

At any rate, your job is not to create numbers or puzzles--that's done for you. Your job is to take the results and write them up. Here's a useful exercise: you have an hour to describe the difference between the divorce laws of America and those of Britain. Your boss wants to know if he can file there and keep all the property. Take another hour and tell me whether prevailing wage laws are beneficial, from three different standpoints. If you can really write, you should be able to crank out 1,000 words and have half an hour left over. On the other hand, if you can't, maybe you can do a spell of data mining and show me how often the terms "divorce" and "britain" come up in searches every day. Do this sort of writing every day and you'll become bullet-proof to your employer. Do it without being asked, anticipating the old boy's needs, and you'll be a partner in two years. Learn to program computers and you'll be competing with some guy working out of a lean-to in Mumbai.

Send Kraft foods an analysis of their future markets in a part of the world they don't operate yet. Send your Representative a strategy for her next campaign. What the heck, you've got nothing else to do, and you are, after all, a writer.

Shoot, brother, if librarians would do some of this sort of thing they'd be (as the kids say) way further ahead. And if I have by chance slighted the math or computer communities by simplifying their jobs or diminishing the nature of their skill sets, I will apologize as soon as they lose the funny colored hair.

I do fun research and writing all day long as an archivist; it's why I love it. I get to dig into our collections for researchers who can't come visit us on site, work with those who are able to come and I pick selections to write about (you're welcome to visit our work blog on http://amovablearchives.blogspot.com). Generally I find out some sort of amazing fact every day. While I do have a second MA, it's not in anything related (and most other archivists I know just have one master's degree - either in library science or history, with a very few having both). Jobs are thin on the ground at the moment, but places like NARA are always hiring (and not just in DC).

We also get a lot of independent researchers who have been hired by television companies ('Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman' was actually inspired by our collections), publishers and individuals looking to
pay someone else to put together their family history. If you don't
mind the freelance life, there's definitely work available in those lines, judging from the number of researchers we're getting lately.

I certainly never had a goal of working in a public library and couldn't love what I do more.

When I started the program 3+ years ago, I /did/ think I was going to be a reference librarian in a public library. A year of doing that part-time has disabused me of that notion. I just don't have the temperament to do that every day. My first career was software engineer (no offense taken, MM) and my natural inclination is to show people how to find books and articles themselves, but most of them don't want to know. So much of the time I am a glorified store clerk and go fetch it for them.

I love libraries, I'm very comfortable working alone, I like variety, I live 2 miles from a university library, I love doing research, but I don't love having to choose a topic. I would be very happy--I think!--in a situation where people came to me with their research questions. In fact, my ideal of a librarian is still Bunny Watson ("Desk Set," 1957). My fear of a corporate librarian position has to do with not having the variety I need, and ending up in a rut.

I have a J.D. I haven't used much. I'm beginning to imagine a job as a research librarian for a law office doing a variety of legal work (always for the "good guys," of course), or maybe for the large pharmaceutical company down the road. Biotech is supposed to be a good field right now, too, and it can't all be outsourced as long as we still have a functioning FDA.

(New Question)How much attention should be paid to the 3-5 years experience? Even before this subject came up on this list, that was what I'd seen in the bulk of the postings.

(Answer) Apply anyway. HR people have only two modes: 3 to 5 and 5 to 7. Sounds like you're being sentenced to the penitentiary. Just apply. Some knucklehead makes them include that, though often it won't be required.

"If you can do research, write well and work hard, you can get a job somewhere," claims poster.

Beg to differ--personal experience speaking here. Call it sour grapes if you will, but these are not stellar bullet points on a resume, at least in this economy. There are thousands of job-seeking librarians who can lay claim to those talents; there are thousands of job-seeking humanities grads who can; there are thousands of job-seeking journalists who can; there are thousands of job-seeking laid-off teachers, editors, and others who can. If you can claw your way to the second round of interviews, good on ya, but I wouldn't advise waiting by the phone.

This isn't meant as a personal attack on the poster. I guess it's nice to have that kind of optimism, especially if, as he or she implied, it's supported by experience.

So ANYWAY--to the original poster, I'd like to say that my experience closely mirrored yours. I suggest that you explore the tech services option. After two years in a public-services public library position where "reference" meant telling people where the bathroom was, I decided I'd be much better suited to cataloging and acquisitions instead. Working behind the scenes removes the most menial and social-worker-like tasks from the job description. Perhaps you could look into cataloging/metadata, acquisitions, collection development, or if you have IT knowledge, maybe a systems librarian type thing. Good luck!

The only place I've lived where these skills are truly valued (and by that, I mean that you can see ads where firms are looking for researchers/writers, not that the job will pay all that well, especially to start) is Washington, DC. (It is also probably the place that would have the most interesting jobs in libraries and museums -- federal institutions, though, not local. I would think working for the actual city in a public library would be quite challenging.)

But off the top of my head, DC firms that would want to hire people with research and writing skills would include think tanks, lobbyists, law firms, national associations, legislators, etc. -- all of which exist in great abundance in our nation's capital. It also happens to be an AWESOME city to live in, but very expensive.

IMO, getting a good job in this economy all comes down to being geographically mobile. I just moved 1500 miles for a starting position in librarianship, and I don't regret a mile. The only bad part now is figuring out how to sell our house in Michigan so that my husband can join me.


Quite true, that. I'm sure all archivists in the Dallas/Fort Worth area are lining up for jobs at the George W. Bush Presidential Library that will be located on the SMU campus. Even if you hated W's policies (as I did/do), you have to admit that it'd be awesome to work at a presidential library.

I have noticed the same thing about the DC area. I have been using www.DCJobs.com to look for openings. Their postings usually deal with information management positions. You could also try www.USAJobs.gov. The Government has a surprising amount of library jobs, but you are going to be open to relocating and be open to competition, they get thousands of applications a month.

I looked at usajobs.gov and started an account a few weeks ago. Most of those library jobs are just ongoing open reqs, so that they have a backlist of applications to look at as soon as there is an opening.
Still, it was a surprise to me to find that there were so many government libraries, especially at Air Force bases. That could be interesting work.

Academic librarian jobs do NOT often require a 2nd Masters. It is important you look at the job ads for the type of academic libraries you want to work, the position you would be interested in, and the geographies you would be interested. Requirements for academic librarians very greatly and the 2nd Masters is not as common in today's environment.

Also, many of the situations you describe even happen in academic libraries, but they are less common. Since we are serving a specific population and need, we can by the use of policies restrict contact with public patrons. And depending on the size of the library, the tasks you dislike may fall to a paraprofessional and not the librarian.

I recommend shadowing or interviewing a few academic librarians to get a good sense of what they do. It will also let you look at different types of academic settings and see what you like.

Posted by kkowatch on March 10, 2009 at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

Free Resume Printing at FedEx Kinkos

From the Marketing Shift Blog...

In steady economic times, freebies and giveaways are associated with grand openings, holidays, a special occasion or festive event . But this economy is far from stable, and that's what inspired FedEx (NYSE: FDX) to take new approach to the time-tested promotional tactic.

On March 10, 1,600+ FedEx Office Print and Ship Centers will print up to 25 resume copies for free. The timely promo,called Free Resume Printing Day , was created to help job seekers who were casualties of the recession. FedEx office CEO Brian Philips said:

We understand that the economy has affected many people in a very profound way, and we want to help.Printing resumes is one small way we can use our resources to help those who need it

Here's the only rule: Orders must be placed and picked up in-store. Customers may place orders by submitting their resume in printed format or as a digital file, and the copies will be printed single-sided on resume-quality paper. Usually, promotional giveaways are designed to entice customers to buy more products once they've been lured into the store, but considering the promo's target audience, you can't expect them to have very much discretionary income.

Philips should be credited for executing a plan that's sure to boost the company's image and reputation among the general public.

Here’s the link to share with job-seekers:

Posted by kkowatch on March 06, 2009 at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

Job Searching in a Tight Job Market Tips

Just before spring break, SI Career Services Senior Associate Director Joanna Kroll gathered tips and suggestions from all the UM "experts" (aka the different career services staff here at UM) to share with our students. I wanted to share with you all the tips that were gathered from our colleagues. These are great little ways to get an edge on other candidates that are competing for the same job as you. Also are some figures and facts about the market and our students' employment outcomes.

According to the National Association of Colleges & Employers 2009 data…
--Job prospects for the class of 2009 are below those for the previous five graduating classes.
--NACE’s Job Outlook 2009 Quick Poll, conducted in October 2008, found an overall flat job market for this year’s candidates.
--Many sectors are projecting decreases: financial, automotive, real estate/development

Sectors that are showing growth include...
--Information Technology
--Green Technology & Energy

What’s going on around campus?
--Across the University of Michigan, on-campus recruiting activity has reflected a small decline (down 5-7%) for most colleges and schools. 
--SI’s on-campus recruiting activities are indicating the same decline (down slightly from 2007-08 academic year).  Positive news is that off-campus recruiting remains about the same.  The number of overall job postings in iTrack have not declined thus far.  Although there have been less Michigan-based postings.

But... There's good news for SI graduates and job seekers...

*US News and World Report released their pick for the Best Careers in 2009. Selection was based on criteria such as job outlook, average job satisfaction, difficulty of the required training, prestige and pay: Library Information Scientist AND Usability/User Experience Specialist
*Of the 106 MSI graduates in April 2008 and August 2008, 61% have reported their job outcomes so far (this percentage is in alignment with numbers from last year).
*2008 MSIs are reporting high levels of job satisfaction (Overall, 91%  satisfied to extremely satisfied -- 61% reported extremely satisfied -- 30% satisfied -- 9% somewhat dissatisfied -- 0 extremely dissatisfied)

2008 MSIs reporting professional jobs:
6% continuing education
93% in professional positions
2 reported non-professional positions

Things to Be Aware Of...
--Average job search length is taking longer- 4-5 months (over the past 5 years the average job search length reported was 3-4 months).
--Average starting salaries look about the same as in 2007-08.

Job Search Tips & Advice
--Do something for your job search every day, but don’t let it consume you
--Let everyone know you’re looking for a job (and be sure they know what you’re looking for, aka your pitch)
--Job search activities should be 20% looking at websites for job postings and 80% reaching out to people/networking/informational interviews network early AND creatively!
--Be flexible with job expectations
--Be flexible with geographic preferences
--Have a back-up plan: be prepared to accept a position that could lead to your dream job (if your dream job is not available).
--Highlight transferable skills
--Consider industries that are more stable and may even be growing– government, healthcare and professional services firms.
--People pay a lot of lip service to the concepts of networking and the hidden job market, but now is the time to really pay attention to these career services buzz words! If you are unsure who is in your network and how they can potentially help you, do some research. If you want to expand your network, be proactive and use every opportunity to connect to people in your professions of interest. Networking can go far in helping you secure employment and contribute to your professional development.
--Pursue a more unconventional job search path:
*Hot recruiting trend (and more economical) for many companies means hiring for contract-to-hire positions
*Many companies partner with reputable, professional staffing/recruitment firms to help identify qualified candidates
--Figure out how your skill sets can transfer into growing industries such as healthcare and green technology. Pursue positions in these areas and always have a plan B or C if your dream job doesn’t materialize.
--Follow the money! The Federal Government is spending $789 billion. It would appear that transportation, energy, technology, and healthcare (Medicaid) are some of the areas the money will go.
--Network, network, network, and never stop networking even after you've gotten a job
--Now, more than ever, a well written resume is critical. Your resume must clearly and concisely communicate your accomplishments, skills and talents.
--Both the content and design must advertise and market your outstanding capabilities. One mispelled word or grammatical error will land your resume in an employers trash can.
--Thoughtful AND strategic networking: take the time to consider how the people you know (and who think highly of you) can help you in your job search.
--Think outside of the box. This is a great time to capitalize on one-year fellowships and short-term contract positions. These offer the opportunity to apply skills, develop professional networks, and position yourself for full-time opportunities as they arise.
--Diversify and think creatively by trying new job search techniques. You may need to consider Plan B or Plan C industries or geographic locations. Too often job seekers get sucked into online job board vortex, applying endlessly to posted openings. This is easy to do because it makes you feel like you've accomplished something measurable. However, it may not be the most effective use of all your energy.
--In a tight market, or when targeting a specialized field, networking is your most effective search tool. Finding people connected to posted jobs and finding people with jobs that are never posted will greatly increases your success rate. Devise a plan so you set networking goals (____ number of connections each week) then track and measure weekly progress. In the long-run, it will be time well-spent.
--Use unconventional resources to gain an "in" or to get a contact to an organization - and make a great impression, i.e. if you a reading an article in one of your favorite trade publications and someone from an organization in which you are interested is quoted, send an email or letter by post or LinkedIn message to the person responding to their quote and asking to set up a informational interview about their career. This can lead to insider information about potential positions, the application process, and a possible interview or job.
--Network early and often.  Expand the way that you are thinking.  Emphasize transferable skills, regardless of specialization:
1. Communication skills
2. Strong work ethic
3. Teamwork skills (works well with others)
4. Initiative
5. Analytical skills
6. Computer/Technical skills
7. Flexibility/adaptability
8. Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)
9. Problem-solving skills

And..What should you be doing now?
1. Most effective job search methods/resources reported by MSIs:
2. Networking- 85% indicate that networking directly led to job offer!
3. Company websites
4. Listservs
5. Job Posting Sites (field/industry specific– including iTrack!)

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
If something isn’t working, it’s time to step back, re-assess your plan, and adjust your job search strategy.

Posted by kkowatch on March 05, 2009 at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

It's About That Time for... Salary Negotiations

The question of "How do I negotiate my offer and salary?" is coming up more and more -- but don't fret if you're not there yet!

Salary negotiation is important as it can affect your long-term career salary outcomes. Note that even one or two thousand dollars can make a difference over the years. See the difference of $5,000.

You start with a starting Salary of $50,000. After two years, you get a 5% raise which takes you to $52,500. After two more years, you get a promotion with a 7% salary increase taking you to a salary of $56,175.

If you negotiated a salary of $55,000, after four years with the same raises, you would be making $61,793. So not only are you making more initially, but you'll make more money cumulatively in the long run.

Just this week, SI Career Services hosted UM Career Center's staff Paula Wishart for a presentation on this very topic. You can see her presentation at this link. However, without Paula with you to fill in the gaps, you may want to read up on this topic or talk to a SI Career Services staff person on how to make an opportunity to negotiate work for you.

Click on this link to get step by step instructions on how to negotiate your next salary offer.

Or... check out these links for more information...

Posted by kkowatch on March 05, 2009 at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

Article: Stimulus Package Makes It Harder To Hire H-1B Workers

If you are an international student looking for a job now, here's an interesting article on the job outlook...

Stimulus Package Makes It Harder To Hire H-1B Workers
Posted By: Technology Staff Editor On: 2/26/2009 11:15:51 AM In: Information Technology
written by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, courtesy of InformationWeek

The $787 billion economic stimulus bill signed into law Tuesday by President Obama will make it more complicated for financial services companies and banks that received federal bailout money to hire foreign workers on H-1B visas.

The new stimulus package contains provisions that for two years deem all companies that received federal funding from the Troubled Asset Recovery Program that was signed into law last year as "H-1B dependent." Till now, "H-1B dependent" has been a category of employers for which H-1B visa holders represent 15% of more of their workforce.

H-1B-dependent companies have additional requirements when hiring H-1B visa workers. For instance, those companies have to attest they've made "good faith" efforts to recruit American workers for positions for which they're seeking H-1B talent, said Elizabeth Espin Stern, an attorney and leader of the global immigration practice of law firm Baker & McKenzie International.

Also, the employers must attest they're offered a minimum of "prevailing wages" during recruitment efforts, haven't displaced a U.S. worker within the 90 days before or after filing an H-1B petition, and have offered the job to an U.S. worker who applied and is equally or better qualified than the H-1B worker.

If those companies attest they've followed the rules but are later audited by the U.S. government and found to have violated the requirements, the employers face possible financial penalties and being banned from participating in the H-1B visa program, said Stern. The provisions are expected to impact new hires, not existing H-1B visa holders in the United States looking to renew their visas, she said.

It's estimated that in the financial services and banking sector, less than 1% of workers have H-1B visas, said Stern. So while the new provisions will make it more burdensome for financial services and banks that have received federal bailouts to hire H-1B visa workers, the new rules themselves aren't likely to make an sizable dent in the overall demand for H-1B visas, said Stern. The United States currently grants petitions for up to 85,000 new H-1B visas annually. Originally, the H-1B amendments introduced into the stimulus legislation by Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called for companies that received TARP funding to be barred from hiring H-1B visa workers. However, the provisions that ended up being part of the final bill instead make it more complicated for these companies to hire H-1B visa workers by classifying the employers as H-1B dependent.

Nonetheless, the final provisions signed into law satisfy what the senators are trying to accomplish, said a spokeswoman for Grassley.

"The goal is to make qualified American workers a top priority," she said.

But attorney Stern said the biggest impact on employers will be in making it slower and more arduous to hire hard-to-find expertise. "Many of these financial services, credit card companies use H-1B for specialized IT talent related to risk management, enterprise systems," she said. "Why tie one hand behind their backs" in employing this talent? she said.

Immigration attorney Frida Glucoft of law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp said the biggest impact will be on foreign grad students attending U.S. colleges and universities who are seeking jobs in the United States in the fields of economics, technology, mathematics, and business.

"There will be a brain drain of talent that will go elsewhere," she said. "This is a slippery slope for the U.S."

Not everyone agrees. Donna Conroy, executive director of Bright Future Jobs, an advocacy group pushing for H-1B visa reform, said the new provisions are just a beginning for other changes she hopes will happen.

"This is a political victory," she said. "It's now an issue on the national radar screen."

In fact, more sweeping H-1B and L-1 visa anti-fraud and anti-abuse reform legislation is expected to be reintroduced into the Senate by Grassley and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said the Grassley spokeswoman, although a specific date has not been determined.

The senators introduced H-1B and L-1 visa reform legislation about two years ago that was to be part of President Bush's comprehensive immigration overhaul effort that failed to move forward in Congress.

Posted by kkowatch on March 04, 2009 at 12:27 PM | Comments (2)