Employers report- Soft skills matter!

Employers report on the Top 10 Skills for Job Candidates

What makes an ideal job candidate? Of course, top candidates need to have the requisite major and GPA, and relevant work experience, but it’s their soft skills that make them ideal.

Posted by jckroll on April 08, 2013 at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

After the Interview: How Long to Wait for the Offer?

According to a recent article by NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers, on average, employers are reporting a four-week window between job interview and offer.

This time frame can vary by industry as government and academia tend to take a bit longer, but overall, four weeks is the average you can expect before that offer comes!


Posted by jckroll on March 01, 2013 at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)

Using Pinterest as a Job-Search and Branding Tool

Pinterest—a content-sharing social media website on which account holders “pin” images, videos, and more to their virtual pinboards—is gaining popularity for its broad spectrum of uses.


Posted by jckroll on April 25, 2012 at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

Job seekers getting asked for Facebook passwords

Resume, references, password: Job seekers get asked in interviews to provide Facebook logins

Posted by jckroll on March 21, 2012 at 02:30 PM | Comments (0)

10 rules for a phenomenal job interview

Job interview guidelines that will lead to success

Posted by jckroll on August 30, 2011 at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

Preparing for a Skype Interview

Skype interviews seem to be rising in popularity with many recruiters these days. This article provides some helpful tips on what to expect and how to prepare for one http://tinyurl.com/Skyperviews.

Posted by jckroll on April 27, 2011 at 09:01 AM | Comments (1)

Using Twitter for Your Job Search

Lifehacker's Katharine Brooks provides a good run-down on using Twitter to generate job leads, connect with industry professionals, and position yourself as knowledgeable in your field. Additional job search tips and tricks can be yours for the low, low price of a @sicareers follow.

Posted by embow on February 07, 2011 at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

Building Interview Skills: Intensive Preparation Strategies

It can be difficult to know where to start in preparing for an interview. There are so many pieces of advice available to the general public that the development of interview skills can be an overwhelming and stressful process. It doesn’t have to be that way. Mock interviews aren’t always the best initial strategy, and manicures are no prerequisite to landing a dream job. For the potential employee who has just started the application and interview process, it’s best to simply be knowledgeable. People who are aware of their high degree of knowledge are likely to be confident, well informed, and capable of sustaining dynamic conversation in an interview.

Know Yourself

It’s easy enough to have a résumé. But how much self-knowledge does that really reflect? A résumé is a basic summary of experience and skills, but there’s much more to a person than one or two pages of text. It’s important to know what makes you interesting, what qualifies you to do the work you love, and what you want out of a career. Employers want to see the full 3-D image that makes you a real person, so don’t make the mistake of limiting the amount of information you provide in an interview.

• To get more information on yourself, go back through any letters of recommendation that have been written on your behalf. These will provide positive snapshots of your skill sets, abilities, and work ethic. It’s usually a good idea to have a few short quotes or quote summaries from past employers or coworkers in mind when preparing for an interview.
• Determine the high and low points of your career and analyze why you experienced success or failure in those instances. This can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, which is useful information in an interview. It’s also helpful if you can suggest alternative ways to handle situations that have challenged you in the past.
• Figure out what you want out of your career. If you don’t know, then try to get an understanding of how work fits into your personal goals. Employers want to know whether or not they can sustain you throughout the length of your career and how much of your time you’re willing to devote to their company.

Know the Company and Position

Once you have a firm grasp of the positive facts about yourself, it’s time to figure out how you would fit into the company.

• Most e-mail requests for interviews will have information about who sent the message. Go to the company website, find the staff page, and figure out the role of your interviewer – what does he or she do to help the company grow? Would you be working beneath him or her? This is usually the case, so it’s important to know who your interviewer is.
• Find out more about the position you’re being interviewed to fill. Think about how your experience would qualify you to do this job well. What outstanding skills do you have that would set you apart from other interviewees? Comb the website to make sure you understand every detail and can talk freely about your knowledge of the company and what you could do for it.
• Think about what you would do first if you were hired. For example, is there anything about the company’s website that you would fix? If you’re an editor, find a block of shoddy text to re-write and show it to the interviewer. If you’re an expert in design, rearrange a page on the site. Lawyers can almost always find something to fix – maybe there’s copyright infringement on an image or a poorly worded summary of a legislative change. These are bold moves, but they make sure that the interviewer knows how proactive and hardworking you are.

Know the Questions

All interviews include the inevitable core of questions and commands such as “How do you prioritize important tasks?” and “Tell me about yourself.” Be sure to have answers prepared, but don’t allow yourself to sound rehearsed. It may help to write several responses to keep up a sense of immediacy and variety once you get to the interview. The following links include additional advice on how to develop interview skills, such as popular interview questions and preparation tips.

• This PDF from Sydney University has two sections that can help refine interview skills. The first section begins on page 3 and explains the importance of understanding the recruitment process of a given company or organization. There’s also a “Successful Interviewing” section that starts on page 17.
• The Iowa Resource Guide for Job Seekers has a wealth of relevant information for the potential employee. A “Preparing for the Interview” section can be found on page 9.
• This PDF is a checklist for interviewers, but it’s very helpful for anyone preparing to be interviewed. It can help you understand why interviewers ask some of the questions they ask, and it can also give you a chance to prepare strong answers.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching areas of online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Photo: Public Domain
URL: http://lh6.ggpht.com/_yTX1KlazeUg/SUpl2u6JggI/AAAAAAAAHuI/1aUHp0-HwsM/s800/295W%20in%20Cubicle%20Offices.jpg

Posted by kkowatch on July 23, 2010 at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

How to Answer Essay Questions for Information Related Positions

I was skimming through listserv messages yesterday and one in particular caught my eye. A professional at a SI-related organization wrote a very nice statement on what they look for when screening applicants for a position. This particular application process includes essay questions and the writer shares what sort of level of review goes into this part of the application and how to best answer essay questions that ask for the applicant to demonstrate knowledge and experience. Read on....

..".its interesting that you posted this, as I have been spending much of the past 3 days scoring applications for a position we have open in our division. I get asked to do this a lot, as I am reasonably good at it, and was coming across a common problem that I wanted to point out to people.

Like many large organizations, [our organization] does not rely on resumes for job applications, instead having a structured system that generally entails an initial screening of minimum qualifications (years of related work, educational attainments, needed credentials). Applicants that pass that phase then get scored on their answers to a series of narrative questions. This is generally the phase I am involved in. Once scored and ranked, the top candidates are then interviewed. Note that the only point at which a resume actually plays a role is after the interviews:
if a number of candidates are closely ranked, then the resume may be an element that plays into the final decision.

This is not particularly unique to [our organization] - this kind of process is fairly common in both public and private sector HR systems.

The reason is related to the hundreds of applications received for every job opening. Such volume necessitates a fairly structured system that ensures consistency and fairness so that we are comparing apples and apples. Resumes alone would not allow for this consistency on such a large scale.

The most common mistake I see in the process relates to the narrative questions. These questions generally want the candidate to demonstrate knowledge and experience, not simply state it. For example: In answer to a question regarding retention scheduling, simply saying that you have done it for x number of years is not sufficient. Saying how you did it - mentioning, for example, how you analyzed the operational needs, legal and fiscal requirements, and potential historic value of the records being scheduled - actually demonstrates knowledge. Maybe you had to research HIPAA requirements. Perhaps your schedule resulted in significant volume reductions in a given operation. These kinds of details, which don't have to be long, can really make a difference, as they demonstrate knowledge and experience.

I'm amazed at how many people pass over these types of questions with the most cursory answers, assuming their qualifications/resumes speak for themselves. They don't. You may have the best resume in the world, but given the process described above, if you don't pay attention to the narrative questions and demonstrate knowledge, you probably won't get too far in the process.

Posted by kkowatch on July 23, 2010 at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

List of Social Media Sites - Your Next Potential Employer?

One of the listservs that I subscribe to just collected a list of social media sites. I thought that for your benefit (and my own too), I would post these sites. If you are a social computing specialization here at SI, or just interested in this realm, you may want to check these out. Most I am pretty familiar with, but some are new ones that I've never heard of. If you have other sites that you frequently use that are social media sites or e-communities, please share them in the comments.


Posted by kkowatch on December 04, 2009 at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

The Federal Librarian Career Panel - Overview

In October, the SI Career Development Office hosted a new event:

A Day in the Life of a Federal Librarian Career Event- panel session, networking and more! Sponsored by: SI Career Development, ALA student chapter, SLA student chapter

We took notes of the panel and what the panelist shared and the questions asked are below, along with information on the panelists.

Also, an added resource...a University of Maryland MLIS student compiled a list of federal libraries that take volunteers. You can access this list as part of the Careers in Federal Libraries Google Group.

•Stacy Davis, Archivist, Gerald R. Ford Library

I have spent all of my archival career with the National Archives and Records Administration at many different levels. I started as an intern at the John F. Kennedy Library, and then was hired as an archives aid for the Office of Presidential Libraries. I worked as a part-time archives technician for the Still Pictures Branch of NARA while I went to graduate school and became a full time employee in that office once I graduated. Shortly after wards, I was hired into an archivist's position as part of an internal NARA archivists training program. I left the National Archives for a couple of years, but happily rejoined the agency as an archivist at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library. I have been at the Ford Library for nearly seven years and participate in a wide variety of activities, including textual reference, research room monitoring, accessioning, donor relations, managing the Library's participation in NARA's Archival Research Catalog (ARC), managing a new digitization program, supervising the Library's work-study student employment program, processing new collections, and assisting with public events and exhibits. I earned a B.S. in History from Central Michigan University in 1993 and M.L.S. (archival concentration) from the University of Maryland in 1996.

Larry S., CIA Library, Chief Technical Operations Branch

Education: Bachelor of Science Degree in Printing Management from California University of Pennsylvania, May 1984; Masters of Library Science from Catholic University, August 2007

Employment History:24 years CIA employee; 16 years as a compositor, typographer, and publications designer for the Agency's Printing and Photography Group; 1 year in Agency video production; 6 years experience in publications procurement and digital database acquisitions for the CIA and the CIA Library.

What I do Now:
Chief Technical Operations Branch - CIA Library since January 2009

Kristi B., Electronic Resources Librarian, CIA Library

Educational Background: Bachelor of Science, Mathematical Economics, Wake Forest University; Masters of Science in Information, Library and Information Services specialization, University of Michigan (2003)
Employment History: 5 years at CIA, including stints as the interlibrary loan and circulation librarian, and as a research librarian
Previous career in information technology - 10 years in the private sector, including Delta Air Lines and The Coca Cola Company
What I do Now:
Electronic resources librarian - CIA Library

Sara Peth, Manager, Information Research Services, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System

Bio: 25+ years in managing information research services as a librarian in the federal government, first at the US GAO (now called Goverrnent Accountability Office), and in my current position at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. I have considerable experience in using diverse electronic databases and Internet-based resources researching medicine & health, social policy, legislative and public policy issues. Currently, as a solo librarian, I manage the VA Ann Arbor Medical Library, maintaining a collection print and e-resources in medicine and nursing, and providing information services and education to VA clinical and non-clinical staff. I have a Masters degree in Library Science and a Masters in Health Policy & Administration, both from the Univ of Mich.

Marisa Conte, Clinical & Translational Science Liaison, University of Michigan’s Health Sciences Libraries AND previous National Library of Medicine Fellow

Marisa is the Clinical and Translational Science Liaison at the University of Michigan’s Health Sciences Libraries. Marisa was a National Library of Medicine (NLM) Associate Fellow from 2006 – 2008, and spent a year at the NLM, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that make up the National Institutes of Health.

Kim Brady, 2nd year SI-LIS student and Summer 2009 Intern- U.S. Government Printing Office

Kim will discuss her summer internship experience, as well as how to successfully navigate and apply for internships through usajobs.gov.

From the panel session…

Sara Peth – Solo Librarian, VA Ann Arbor Medical Library
I was one of Victor Rosenburg’s first student at UM-SI when it was still SILS (School of Information and Library Science). I took one of his first classes in information science and got my first job from a recruiter that came to class from the now United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). I was with the GAO for twelve years until budget cuts closed the Detroit office. I moved on into other information technology jobs, and then got my current job at VA. I later went back to school and got a second masters degree in public health policy. I think that a second master’s degree is very helpful if you want to specialize in the information industry.

My first job was working in information searching, network and LAN administration, and working as a technical advisor on GAO audits; I also authored two reports. Now, as a solo librarian, I get to do everything. There are 2,000 employees at the VA, so I do a lot of technical management, trouble-shooting, and set-up learning modules.
As a medial librarian, the second master’s degree is very helpful. I got this job through someone who knew about the opening and as a former federal employee, I was somewhat able to circumvent the normal job application process. I also had a leg up on writing the KSAs (Knoweledge-Skills-Abilities) – which soon may be going away. It’s your ability to be versatility, work with a wide variety of people and deal with bureaucracy that will make you successful in a job like this.

Stacy Davis – Archivist, Gerald R. Ford Library, NARA
The Ford Library is part of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Subsequently, there are a series of regional archives and presidential libraries. The Ford Library is part of the federal agency, but it is off by self at the same time. Our staff is responsible for everything in our own little world.

I got into world of presidential libraries by accident. I saw an internship flyer for an internship at the Kennedy presidential library while I was in graduate school, applied, got it, and have been at NARA ever since. Opportunities such as this can really shape your life.
Daily, I do reference, monitor research room, work with accessioning new materials, work with donors, other staff members, electronic systems, amongst other things.

My advice for people considering the federal career route is to apply earl as it can take months from closing date to start date. I suggest that ARM students apply for archival technician jobs; once you get your foot in the door, you can move around agencies easily and quickly move up to more professional-level positions.

Marisa Conte - Clinical & Translational Science Liaison, University of Michigan’s Health Sciences Libraries AND previous National Library of Medicine Fellow

Currently, I work at UM, but I’m here to talk about my experience as Fellow with the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The NLM maintains many databases (i.e. pharmacy database), does lots of work with policy at national and international level. Working at the NLM is not for one who’s looking for a traditional library position. The service model at NLM is product development-oriented and in the realm of policy development. Internal customers are the focus, not the general public unless in that particular division.

Another different thing is that funding is very different; some of money that funds us from Congress is kept for operations and some is given out as grants/funding to external organizations. Because appropriations vary from year to year, a project may get discontinued from year to year (from Congress).

In order to get a position at the NLM or other federal agencies, pretty much all the hiring is done through USA jobs where you will need to fill out KSAs. Apply for a job that you think is a fit, whether or not it’s the level you think you want as you can move around easily once you are in.

At the NLM, there are many opportunities for catalogers and programmers. There are a wide range of technical services FT positions.
Regarding the fellowship program… this is an opportunity set up for immediate graduates. You’ll spend one year at the NLM; the second year is optional. As a Fellow, you will rotate through different areas of the library; the second year is a completely project focused. I did journal-oriented project to see how publishers were complying with funding; one with a web analysis of how people were using sites and flowing through them; and I did the information architecture for web portal. Ability to develop new skills is a must for this sort of work.
During the second year as a fellow, you are given a list of fifty or so institutions with project proposals to consider. That’s how I ended up at UM. I was assigned to a project Biomedical center for information computing; it was a great place for me to develop skills and work on the interests that I had. Luckily, the project continued and I got to stay on as UM created a full-time job for me.

I can honestly say that I would not be where I am now if not for the NLM fellowship. There’s no way that I was going to get an experience like this anywhere else except at the NLM in an entry-level position.

Also, a perk, the NLM funds many other fellowship opportunities that are short-term. I just got back from Woods Hole, Massachusetts where I spent a short period of time learning about medical information. This was a week-long funded fellowship.

Kim Brady - SI Student Representative, Summer Intern at US Government Printing Office

I interned last summer (2009) at the United States Government Printing Office (GPO). I landed in Washington, D.C. by accident; I really didn’t know much about careers in the federal government but in my process of application, I learned a lot about how to find and apply to these jobs.
At the GPO, whose mission is to keep America information and act as the official publisher of all government documents - I worked with the historic shelf list. I did work with the physical card catalog. There are about 600,000 records in their card catalog that are not electronic from the 1800s to 1973. With another intern, we converted the records to basic MARC records. We converted about 5300; this was a pilot project for GP) to learn how long and how much it takes to complete this project.

I also did work in technical writing. I wrote some SOPs (standard operating procedures) that were implemented at GPO and I also produced some training materials for the integrated library system.

The best part of being in Washington, D.C. was to the opportunity to network and take part in professional development activities. I went on many free events that included a tour of NLM, the Library of Congress (LOC), the Georgetown University Library. I also attended a GPO seminar that’s an annual event with federal depository libraries and other information-oriented organizations and professionals.

And, I attended a career event sponsored by the Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC) and the LOC. This was a job fair sponsored by FLICC and the ALA federal library roundtable. Both of these events gave me a lot of insight into federal career options.
What I learned from my experience in applying for federal jobs and internships….

The Usajobs.gov portal is a terrific resource for finding jobs. You can browse by occupation type and specific functional categories. You can also set up job alerts in usajobs.gov. I sent one up for the library and archives occupational fields. You can also set up an alert for internships.

If you have any interest in federal career, I suggest that you get on usajobs.gov and start creating a personal profile on USAjobs.gov. The process is very time intensive and detailed. However, by doing this in advance, when a posting comes up, you’ll be ready to go. This is important because many of the job postings have a very short window for application and you won’t have time to do everything well.

Also, check other agencies that may not use uasjobs.gov for postings. There are handful of agencies that don’t post their jobs via the site so be sure to checking those posting regularly also.

FLICC also has lots of listservs for different library areas—jobs, librarians, cataloging, reference – etc – Signing up for these Listservs is a great way to stay in the know about upcoming jobs. Sometimes these jobs come out on the Listservs before they are even posted to the public.

I also suggest that you take advantage of government documents roundtable and/or federal archivist roundtables in DC; many events like this are free to students. Also, there is the Careers in Federal Libraries listserv. On the list, there are students and working professionals who share information about the area. There’s an email digest, interviewing tips, resume review . It’s a Google Group.

So, to answer the question, how did I get this internship without knowing what I know now? I really don’t know! I found the posting on Wednesday on usajobs.gov and it was due to close on Friday. I applied and got it. However, I used SI career resources, other SI students, other professionals in the field to help me. My main point of advice is to start now!

Larry S. – Chief Technological Operations Branch, CIA Library

After a career of over fifteen years in printing and graphic arts, setting types, design books, graphic design, I re-invented myself. I got into video production, then publication procurement, which then became the acquisitions arm of the CIA library.

In 2005, I was asked, “Do you want to go to library school?” Two years later, I graduated from Catholic University with a library degree and here I am still working with acquisitions, combining collection development with budget. My job entails a wide range of duties, requiring my knowledge all being pulled together and utilizing an understanding of federal budget (who has money and who doesn’t).
Now I work in management where I run the technical operations branch/tech services where I supervise eight people. I take care of cataloging, shelving, and, yes we still work with print – serials, special collections, intra-library loan, circulation management, electronic resources, and also facilities management (i.e. do the lights work, are the carpets clean, etc?) A recent concern is determining how are we going to handle the flu?

In terms of career management, my employee Kristi wrote her objectives for her job. At our library, you are in control of your career. You get to write objectives that are work related and oriented towards the organizational mission – it’s a good way to work.

For recruiting, applicants should apply via the cia.gov website. We look at all applicants, whether we have an opening or not. However, the posting stays up always as the hiring process can be lengthy so we keep is posted just in case. The website is an online form that you follow; its pretty self-explanatory.

Right now, we’re looking for librarians that are well-rounded. We like to hire well-functioning librarians who can work in all areas including acquisitions, reference, technical services. Specifically, we are seeking a circulation librarian at this time.

Kristi B. - Electronic Resources Librarian, CIA Library

I’ve worked at the CIA library for five years. I’ve had three job titles and four job assignments. Therefore, it’s important to be flexible if you want to work at a library such as ours. Some of the assignments where what I chose, some were assigned.

Even though you may apply for a position that’s open, it takes so long to get people in that when you arrive, you get the job that’s open – not what you want. I was a reference librarian here at the CIA; I’ve also been a deployed librarian where I was placed with the analytic group and trained them and assisted with their research with for their work. There are lots of rotations and there’s the ability to work with State dept or Department of Defense, which includes the option to live overseas or travel overseas to do research tools work. To say the least, librarians at CIA and in other intelligence areas are in demand.
My current job is in ERL. I’ve never done it before, but I can write own job description. I’m representing the library’s interests to the inside tech team – they sit with us, but aren’t librarians. The group has database skills, but don’t know why we do what we do, so we let them know which databases are important and they help to replace antique systems and track analytics. It’s fun and challenging; I go to lots of demos and tech fairs with the IT folks to see if things are a possibility. I’m also on a lot of committees and I contribute to those.

For example, with several other media people, I track metrics regarding the help desk, shelving, circulation, etc. There is also lots of in-house training. CIA has many opportunities for inside training including project management, computer skills, amongst others.
Fed Link is the federal consortium. They do a lot of trainings in DC. There are also many conferences; these are often in DC but attendance depends on the budget.

Regarding a career path at the CIA library, where you come in at may not be your dream job, but most assignments are only one to two years, so there’s flexibility. Make friends with your supervisor so they can help you… be aware of what skills you need. There have been employees that have left the library, developed other skills back and get a higher assignment, then come back.

I got my job through the CIA website. We keep job posting up all the time, but be warned that doesn’t always mean that there are jobs. However, there are openings now. Apply now, and wait; If you odn’t hear anything, apply again in 6 months. The more practical experience you have, the better. Also, if you have language skills, even better… plus, the CIA will support learning language skills. Note that the application process can take up to a year – typically six to nine months.

Questions from Audience:

Q: You mentioned how some people have worked in non-traditional libraries. What’s the definition of a non-traditional library? What skills are most important for those roles?

Sara: I came out of iSchool looking for a non-traditional library (a traditional library is considered to be a public library). However, the CIA has a traditional library setting. In a non-traditional library, you may or may not be in charge of a collection or checking books in/out – you will be working with information, information retrieval, etc..
Adaptability is most important. You need to take what you learned in school and apply it in many ways. For me, learning database searching was the big thing. I learned learn how to do things that no one else knows how to do. Also, customer service skills are huge. Your customers are the staff in the agency (for me, doctors, nurses, and facilities staff) and how I work with their different skill levels is important. I teach a lot of people how to use computers, as they don’t know how. Adaptability – and of course, technical skills. The more, the better. You need to have them and be able to apply them.

You may not have a specific skill being sought, but if you can apply a different skill and can write that out, that may be all you need to get in.

Question: Speaking of different skills and abilities for the library field, what opportunities of learning are there in your different environments?

Marissa: My undergraduate degree is in medieval literature. I then when to WSU and focused on informatics. All I knew was that I wanted to do something different and then I saw the application for the NLM Fellowship. I then changed me focus to health sciences research so that I could develop a strong knowledge set in that area. The NLM is looking for people who want to pursue this area, specifically, environmental, toxicology side of things is important and in demand.

In their FT positions, customer service is essential due to the team work and working with other staff. If you don’t have the technical services, you can be taught. Personal skills aren’t so teachable.

Kristi: My advice is don’t get intimidated by job descriptions. They are written for the perfect candidate that doesn’t exist. Most organizations are looking for people that fit, that can learn and are interested in learning new skills. Not everyone will fit perfectly, but candidates do have the ability to sell other abilities such as learning.

Stacy: At the Ford Library, customer service is important in dealing with the general public (anyone from first graders to PhDs), adaptability, willingness to learn, and being excited about what is being done or the focus of the library. I now know more about Gerald Ford than I ever thought I would!

Sara: I was brought in to modernize the library here in Ann Arbor. They had a card catalog and clunky computers and were totally unorganized. I automated everything. I took what was really a dead facility and made it useful again. My background was important – my ability to be adaptable and it was also important to pay attention to what the job description said and note what was required and what was desired. Currently, when we review applications, we are looking for the key terms – some are ranked, some are scored – and if you fall into the right area, you get to move to the next step. Those that are not appropriate to the job are pulled out. Then the applications go to the department that’s actually hiring.

Your ability to match your abilities/skills to what is being asked is important. But, in a medical library, you don’t necessarily need a medical degree; its more about what you can bring to the job as a whole.

Q: For CIA…For many of the jobs you are put into, employees don’t have the skills for when they start the project. Who are employees networking with to get those skills?

We get on-the-job training – also have the consortium to get help. However, the CIA Library does have a “donut”: people with twenty years of experience and people with five years or less. The gap in between is the problem of seeking out experience, so we have to go externally.

Q: KSAs – can you speak to them – what are they looking for?

Sara: KSAs are no fun. They were developed when the government did not accept resumes. It was seen as a way to get at what do applicants know. With the USAjobs.gov site, that’s starting to go away – the resumes are starting to be more important. In some aspects, the KSAs are basically re-stating what you would put in your resume, but more in-depth. Books exist on this topic now that you can use to help answer the questions. There will be questions like, “How would you handle this problem?” Taking your skills and abilities and applying them to this position is the ideal way to prove to the reader that you are the person really able to do this job the way that they want it done. It’s like writing an essay. I had to write five of them for my job – some are only one. Some say just send resume.

Q: How heavily are the KSA weighted in the application process?

Each agency is different – KSAs are a way to demonstrate that you can write effectively – so equally important to the resume—but more detailed, etc

Kim: Be very specific; give examples of how you demonstrated this skill.

Stacy: Mine were about one page, single space for each one.

Sara: There are many tips on the USAjobs.gov website including tip on how to apply jobs, etc. Applicants that don’t make it through are because their resumes will be very brief, or the KSA won’t answer the question. Surprisingly, a number of people don’t answer the question or there will be lots of typos.

Larry: With the CIA, typos are a show-stopper for applications.

Kim: Developing the profile is very handy – but you will need to tweak it for every position that you apply to.

Q: The CIA is looking for librarians with what languages? What about training?

Larry/Kristi: Arabic, Chinese, East Asian languages, – the hard target languages. Languages that are spoken in countries that we have an adverse relationship with. Farsi.

Some people go to full-time intensive language training – but that’s budget driven. If you are going to be gone for 6 months, have to be able to use in the skills in the office. Language training in general is not a hard-sell and the training is easy to get. Once you get the training completed, you can get tested and if you score high enough, you may receive a language stipend.

Kim: Outside of the intelligence agencies, language skills are also important. Medical libraries, special collections, archives, the Library of Congress are of value being multi-lingual.

Q: Kim, when did you apply for your internship?

Kim: I applied in March. I had been applying to a variety of things for a while; then I accidentally found the posting. Last year was first year for GPO to hire grad students. I’d be happy to put anyone interested in touch with the GPO hiring contacts.

Sara: On a side note, don’t forget about temporary employees. Sometimes these opportunities can last for two to three years or even more! Grant-funded positions are different, but temp employees are a budget work around. Even if it doesn’t last, it’s a great way to get experience if you don’t have it or are caught up in that vicious circle of needing experience to get experience. Internships, volunteering, etc are also good.

Posted by kkowatch on November 12, 2009 at 02:15 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)

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)

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)

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)

Who's Still Hiring? The Federal Government!

You may have noticed that I'm talking more and more about federal jobs these days in workshops and in appointments. I strongly encourage students to consider this industry...there are many, many benefits to working for the federal government, and its not just the job security. Fed jobs pay well, you can work all over the United States -- or the world! -- and promotions can be timely!

Check out the below links to view three articles for some more information on this industry niche and how to get a career position...

WHO IS HIRING? Insider Advice on Winning a Job A Federal Government Job

Most employers decreased the number of new college graduates they planned to hire between August and October. Only government as a sector saw a significant increase in hiring expectations, while manufacturing and professional services remain essentially flat during this period of economic turmoil. (Source: Job Outlook 2009)
job interview

This month on JobWeb, author Lily Whiteman offers an insider’s guide to:

Why a Federal Job Is a Terrific Deal

Where to Find Your Job in the Federal Government

15 Tips for Completing the Federal Job Application (See Text below...)

Whiteman, a senior science writer at the National Science Foundation, has worked in six federal agencies, including the White House Conference on Aging and the President's National Partnership for Reinventing Government. She is the author of How to Land a Top-Paying Federal Job.

15 Tips for Acing Federal Job Applications

by Lily Whiteman

1. THINK LIKE A HIRING MANAGER: Most job applications (in the private sector as well as in the public sector) are skimmed fast by harried hiring managers—not read word-for-word, as if they were suspenseful John Grisham novels. So instead of aiming for a specific application length, craft your application for a fast, easy read by describing your most impressive, relevant credentials as concisely as possible, and by positioning your most relevant credentials as close to the beginning of your application as possible.

In your resume, format the names of your employers, your job titles, and degrees to stand out even to skimmers. Confine your description of each of your previous jobs to quick-read, achievement-oriented bullets. And break up your answers to essay questions by writing in short paragraphs and by using bullets and headings.

2. CONVEY ZEST: Most applicants believe that applications for federal jobs should read as dryly and bureaucratically as the tax code. Wrong! A job application that exudes life will wake up hiring managers, stand out from the pack, and help prove that you are an energetic go-getter who requires minimal supervision. (Look ma, no cattle prodder!) So mention in your application and interview why you are passionate about your field and/or target job.

3. PROVE THAT YOU’RE A PROBLEM-SOLVER: Brandish your problem-solving mettle by citing specific examples of your academic and work achievements in your job applications and interviews: your projects, papers, presentations, contributions to campus organizations, and leadership positions. In particular, emphasize the academic and professional activities that demonstrate your ability to solve the substantive issues addressed by your target job.

Crown your achievements with descriptions of the positive feedback you received, such as high grades, grade point average, honors, individual and team awards, promotions, assignments to special teams, and special requests made by professors or employers for your services. Also cite written and oral praise from professors, trainees, supervisors, managers, colleagues, clients, and customers.

4. ANSWER EVERY QUESTION: In most cases, an application for a federal job that fails to answer all questions will be rejected. So be sure to answer every question on each application—including every essay question (commonly known as KSAs).

5. ACE ESSAY QUESTIONS: Answer essay questions with a bulleted list of your relevant academic and professional credentials and/or descriptions of your success stories that parallel the demands of your target job. An effective success story:

* identifies your goal,
* the actions you took to achieve your goal,
* your results and why they were important, and
* the positive feedback you earned by achieving your results.

6. USE QUALITY CONTROLS: Most job applications are tarnished by typos, grammatical errors, and other careless errors. Error-free applications stand out from the pack. So don’t keyboard your application directly into an online application system that probably doesn’t have a spell-checker. Instead, create save, spell-check, and print your application in a word processing file. Then, review and edit it several times. Finally, solicit feedback on your application from friends or colleagues. Once your application is error-free, cut and paste it into the online application.

7. PASS THE 30-SECOND TEST: Show your application to a friend or colleague and ask him/her to identify your best credentials in 30 seconds or less. If he or she can’t do so, reformat and phrase your best credentials to stand out more.

8. MAKE DEADLINES: The window of opportunity for submitting most online applications slams shut at midnight Eastern Standard Time of the job’s closing date. This means that to be considered, each of your applications must be received—not just started—by midnight of its closing date.

9. SAVE COPIES: Save a copy of each of your job applications so that you will be able to recycle appropriate sections into applications for similar jobs. Also, note that announcements for openings are usually pulled from the Internet on their closing dates. So save all job announcements that you answer so that you will: 1) have the contact information of the agency contact person for the opening; and 2) be able to review the descriptions of your target jobs before your interviews.

10. FIX PROBLEM APPLICATIONS: What should you do if, after you click the “submit” button on an online application, you realize that your application contains a mistake or omits important information? (Oh, that sinking feeling!) Here’s the fix: Submit another application for the job before it closes. In most cases, your latest submission will override a previously submitted application as long as your target job is still open.

11. DO THE READING: Hiring managers look for applicants who show “fire in the belly” and are knowledgeable about their agencies--not applicants who act like “if it’s Tuesday, it must be the Transportation Department.” So before each interview, learn about your target agency by reviewing its web site (particularly its latest press releases), and by reading news articles about it. Incorporate your knowledge of your target agency into your answers to interview questions.

12. PREDICT LIKELY QUESTIONS: Federal hiring managers rely heavily on common interview questions. Therefore, you can identify likely interview questions by “Googling” for lists of common interview questions. Also, ask your trusted advisers to help you anticipate likely questions. Build your answers to these likely questions around specific examples of your successes.

13. PRACTICE FOR INTERVIEWS: Just like politicians prepare and practice their answers to likely debate questions before their day of reckoning, you should prepare and practice your answers to likely interview questions before your day of reckoning. (Remember: if you wing your interviews without preparing for them, you will set yourself up to crash and burn.) Then, role-play your interview with as many of your trusted advisers as possible, and encourage them to give you honest feedback.

14. SAY THANKS: Immediately after you get home from your interview—before you change out of your uncomfortable interview outfit—write a thank-you letter to your interviewer. Your letter should confirm your interest in the position, cite several ways that you would contribute to the organization, and mention several impressive characteristics of the position/organization that were covered in the interview. Repeatedly proofread your letter, and then send it overnight delivery. (Yes, a thank-you letter that arrives right away will score higher than one that arrives even one day later.)

15. NEGOTIATE SALARIES: Don’t buy into the myth that federal salaries are non-negotiable. One of the best kept federal jobs secrets is that salaries and other benefits—such as access to student loan repayment programs that are worth up to $60,000—are frequently negotiable. So whenever you receive an offer, ask: “Is this offer negotiable?” And justify why your stellar credentials warrant a salary that is higher than was originally offered by your target organization.

Posted by kkowatch on February 23, 2009 at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

Attention All you Cataloger-Wanna-Be's

An alumnus of SI recently sent SI Career Services a link to the following blog. The entry is multi-faceted in its points but talks about how students in their field need to have the same practical knowledge of the professionals so that they can convey an adequate level of knowledge in their interviews.

The example given is cataloging; however, this is true for all industries or specializations at SI. Ask people what they are reading about, learning about, and discussing outside of their coursework. Many SI students are very involved with other organizations or through professional memberships in ways that expose them to up-and-coming ideas and also some of the foundations of their knowledge base. These little steps can take time, but I can attest that knowing this information can make all the difference in writing your cover letters and in your interviewing experiences.

Read on... The Future(?) of Cataloging

As a Reference Librarian, I’ve been thinking about cataloging a lot lately. My biggest fear was confirmed while having lunch with a friend, who is wrapping up her MLIS degree with my alma mater, Florida State University.

She joined one of our library’s catalogers and I for lunch to discuss her internship at my library, where she will be learning cataloging under his direction. While we were in the middle of disucssing the challenges of cramming the whole scope of cataloging into five months, I brought up RDA.

She had never heard of it. I asked about her understanding of FRBR. “What’s that?”

I knew for a fact that she had taken an introductory class on the organization of information, as well as a class on indexing and abstracting. So I guess somewhere in there, I expected her to learn about these emerging standards.

Imagine the look of horror that spread across her face when we explained what they were. “But what if I had gone into a job interview and someone had asked about RDA or FRBR?” Exactly.

MLIS programs should be at the leading edge of exploring emerging trends in our field. They should be preparing their students for the rapid change that we experience in libraries, and equipping them to evaluate and make tough decisions regarding formats, standards, and techniques of description

I’m not picking on FSU alone here. In my time at VSU, I’ve served on and/or chaired several search committees. The number one reason that candidates aren’t selected is that they lack experience, or reveal their ignorance in an interview. It is my opinion that since librarianship is a practical science, it should be practiced by its students, at least in the form of a mandatory internship.

And no, I’m not talking about folksonomies and tagging here. Although they are fun and very useful, they are no replacement for standards-based high-quality metadata. I would never want my library’s catalog to look like my personal photo collection–with spotty tagging and organization at best! Reference librarians, library staff, other catalogers and users all make use of high-quality cataloging metadata for locating the specific items that they need. All it takes is a single mistake in a cataloging record to ensure that an item is lost to its user forever. Catalogers: take it from a Reference Librarian–what you do is important.

So, my plea is this:

If you teach in an MLIS program, stay in touch with librarians to know what your students should be learning to be prepared for the real world. Look at the entry-level job ads that are being posted, and ask if the average graduate of your program will leave with the skills necessary to do that job. Look at the advanced-level job ads that are being posted, and ask if your students are being instilled with the intellectual curiosity and passion that will lead them in that direction. Make internships required for all your students, so they can at least get a taste of what librarianship is really like.

If you are a cataloger, constantly strive to improve what you do, and stay in touch with the cataloging community. Think about the long-term effects of your description choices–after we’re long gone, our bib records will remain, either informing or misleading the next generation. And please pass along your skills and passion to the next generation by offering mentorships and internships.

If you do it for no one else, then do it for our users. After all, they are the ones who truly suffer if tomorrow’s catalogers are unskilled, and that perfect resource can’t be found.

Follow the title link to view many reader's comments.

Posted by kkowatch on January 15, 2009 at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

Your Winter Break Internship Search Guide

A first year student at SI recently requested that I map out a winter break internship search plan. I thought that this would be a great blog topic to share with you all, so here you go…

In the coming weeks take time to think about where you want to do your internship (in terms of both organization and/or geographic location) and what function you’d like to be working in. Consider whether you’ll want to move away from Ann Arbor for the summer or not. I do want to share the internship search success often comes easier to people who are more geographically flexible; however, finding a local internship is not at all possible – in fact, over 50% of our internships are in Michigan!

Take some time to think about organizations that you learned about in class – or organizations that are close to your interests, hobbies, ideal geographic target, or are known leaders in the function/industry that you are most interested in. I suggest making a list of twenty organizations that you are interested in working for during your internship. A “dream list? isn’t unrealistic for coming out of SI, but it’s always good to balance your list with a few “amazing organizations? to a few that you would consider as “shoe-in’s.?

Then, go and check out the website of each of those 20 companies. First, check to see if they have internships posted. Then, book mark their employment site on your computer so that you can easily access it in the coming months. I suggest checking corporate websites and other organization’s websites about once a week to see if position and internships have been updated.

Then, start cross-referencing your list of companies with the wide range of resources that SI Career Services has to offer you.

Start with iTrack. Check first to see if there are internships posted for the company you are interested in. Then, check to see if there are contacts for the company that you are interested in – if so, email them and ask them if they know of any upcoming internship openings and who is the main contact person for them. You can also request from them tips or advice on how to apply for internships with them.

You can also use the Student-Alumni Network to see if there are SI alumni working at the organizations – or even in the close geographic area – that you are interested in. Then, email them and ask them not for an internship, but for advice on how to find an internship in the area and/or suggestions for other people to talk to if they aren’t the appropriate contact for your specific interests. If there is a specific posting that you are applying to, ask them for tips on how to tailor your application documents – and you can ask them to review your resume and cover letter before sending it. And, don’t forget about checking contacts on LinkedIn in the SI Alumni group that you could contact regarding companies that you are interested in.

Back to iTrack. A little known secret about iTrack is that all internships that have been posted are archived in the system and easily accessible to you under the Jobs Menu choice – then select “Archived Employer Contacts and Jobs/Internships.? Here, you can look at internships that were posted last spring or summer and check out the org’s website to see if they have been posted again or you can email the contact requested applications details. This is a great way to plan ahead and see what is again going to be posted. I checked today as I wrote this blog and there are 554 archived internships in iTrack – and 226 currently posted ones. That’s almost 800 internships to consider!

If you want to broaden your list of organizations, Hoover’s (accessible through MIRLYN) is a great tool for learning about other orgs that fit your search range. Type in your preferred company name in the search box, click on the company’s entry, then, scroll down… You can get valuable information on what industry to search for to find other similar companies – and it will also suggest for you their top competitor – sometimes companies that you may never have heard of but are an even better fit for your interests and targets. You can find this information either under “Competitors? or by clicking on “Find Similar Companies? which allows you to narrow your search.

Don’t forget about listservs! If you aren’t on at least one professional listserv that is relevant to your specialization or career interests, you need to sign up now! You can find some great lists of listservs on the SI Career’s Online Resources site at http://si.umich.edu/careers/online-resources.htm under Job and Internship Resources by Specializations. Many of the internships that you see on iTrack are from listserv postings and contacts. You can also use the contacts that come with being part of a listserv community in order to find leads to an internship at an organization that you are interested in. If a contact from one of your “dream organizations? posts a message, follow up with them and ask them about internship opportunities at their organization. You may be surprised what your enrollment in this program can do to open doors.

Also, don’t discount your national jobs sites such as Indeed, simply Hired, or Monster. I’ve heard from students that have posted their resume on Monster that they have gotten relevant leads for positions. Just remember to keep it updated! Doing a quick and regular search on these sites isn’t a bad idea – just don’t focus all of your attention on these sites. You will have much better luck with industry specific sites such as Dice.com, the ALA jobs site LibraryCareers.org, or the Nonprofit Tech Jobs site.

If internships are posted, apply! If you would like me to take a look at your resume and cover letter, please let me know. Always, always, always have someone look over your documents before you send them – especially for your dream-list companies! If you’ve applied to one internship with a company and didn’t get it and there’s another one, go ahead and apply – just make sure that your application materials are updated and different!

There are many other resources that you can explore but this is a good start and should keep you busy for the next few months. Note that the number one way of finding an internship for MSI candidates is via networking… so I strongly encourage you to use job postings and the contacts that we make accessible to you equally. Apply to a position – but try to find a contact within the org – hopefully an alumnus – that can help move your resume along.

Questions, comments, words to share!? I’d love to hear them. Happy Internship searching…Kelly (kkowatch at umich dot edu)

Posted by kkowatch on December 18, 2008 at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

5 Tips to Help Your Resume Stand Out Among the Rest

With many states declaring a fell-fledged economic recession and others soon to follow, competition in the job market is becoming increasingly fiercer as the days go by. With so many people vying for the same position, you must do everything in your power to get the edge on your competition.

Your resume, along with a well-stated cover letter, is the first thing a prospective employer sees when considering you for a position. Most of the time, a very brief amount of time is spent reading resumes, so you must stand out in your prospective employer’s mind right away or you won’t even make it to the interviewing stage. Read the following list of tips carefully and do your best to make your resume stand out among the rest.

Use a unique design and style.

Are you using Microsoft Word to create your resume? Most of your competition is probably using it as well. Templates can be helpful tool that get you started or give you a format to work with, but don’t rely on them completely. It is very likely that if you decide to use a template, your resume will look like many others and get lost in the shuffle. Make yours stand out, get creative with fonts and sizing of letters, but don’t go over board. Make a layout that enhances your image.

Prioritize your information.
Chronological resumes are preferable, but not always applicable to everyone’s unique situation. Consider listing the most relevant information related to the job you seek first. Remember, the more time the employer spends looking through your resume to see if you are actually qualified, the more rapidly he or she loses interest.

Learn the buzz words for the job and use them.
This shows that you have done your homework and that you are savvy in matters related to the job you seek. Make sure to infuse your resume with industry-standard lingo and buzz words—but make sure you are using them correctly. This applies to the way you decide to spin your work history as well. Use descriptive titles that reveal what kind of work you did rather than dulled-down titles, for example: instead of Sales Manager, Manager of Sales and New Business Acquisition. You get the point.

Share Your Accomplishments.
Without bragging, you must inform your potential employer of any and all pertinent successes you have had in your education or career. Success in the past will more than likely be repeated, and if your resume is one success story after another, you will certainly stand out from the crowd.

Eliminate Unnecessary Information.

Remember, you have a very brief amount of time to communicate your abilities to your potential employer, so don’t waste their time with extraneous information. Eliminating information that doesn’t relate to the position you seek will give your resume a streamlined feel and ultimately make it easier to read and skim through. Emphasizing your strengths early will be what helps you stand out, not your ability to be long winded.

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of photography jobs. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com. Kelly Kilpatrick writes regulary for the Career Overview Website. The website provides career professionals, job seekers and students with resources to make more informed career choices by providing them with relevant, reliable and up-to-date career and job information.

Posted by kkowatch on November 05, 2008 at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

Unusual Job Search Tatics...

You always hear stories about people doing unusual things to get a job...sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I'll confess that once I sent a potential employer a box of limes (yes, there's a story behind this!) and I got an interview and a job offer. So, the extra effort can pay off... with the right person. Read on...

Finding a Job Using Uncommon Search Tactics
By Anthony Balderrama, CareerBuilder.com writer

Rules are meant to be broken. Think outside the box. Be original. These are all clichés meant to inspire and remind you that creativity can often be rewarded in life.

Yet, even the most adventurous of us can't overcome our reservations when it comes to job hunting. Everything you've been told about the application and interview processes emphasizes being professional. Don't try to be funny in your cover letter. Wear a conservative business suit. Show how you'll fit in as one of the team. In other words, do what everyone else is doing.

For some people, that just won't do.

Tony Beshara, author of "Acing the Interview," has seen his share of unusual job search methods over the years, ranging from quirky to bold. And several of them have been successful.

"For a marketing job, the candidate bought a pair of baby shoes, wrapped one in a box along with her résumé and sent it directly to the hiring authority," Beshara remembers. "The box had a tag that said 'Let me get my foot in the door and you will be pleased.' When she went to the interview, she took the other shoe with her, which was a great way to start the interview."

Another job candidate who was hoping to land a sales position sent his résumé to the hiring manager with miniature star tickets that fell out when you opened it up. Across the top he had written "Hire a Star."

Quiet and clever tactics don't work for everybody, though. Beshara recalls another job seeker who decided to wear a sandwich board that read, "Brand new, hardworking MBA needs work." He then stood at one of Dallas' busiest intersections during the morning rush hour.

"He had a job by noon."

Even advertising your job hunt to thousands of morning commuters seems insignificant when compared to the gutsy move of John Gaines, a copywriter in Seattle. During his weeklong freelancing stint at an ad agency, he decided he wanted a permanent position with the company.

"The Monday after my assignment ended, I came in early and fished some important-looking papers out of a recycling bin. I found an empty office with a computer whose monitor didn't face the door and sat in it surfing the 'Net for a few hours every day."

He walked around the office at regular intervals carrying the papers and interacted with other employees. If they asked what he was doing, he told them he was a freelancer who was "handling some paperwork." He eventually had another freelancing stint with them that became a five-year relationship.

Other tactics aren't as premeditated or elaborate.

When marketing and management expert Mark Stevens met with a candidate whose credentials showed great promise, he was disappointed when the interview didn't go well. The applicant wasn't engaged in the interview and as soon as he left he threw away his résumé.

"The next day, I received a FedEx package from him, with a book of poetry on human loss and a loving letter about how his mother had died that week," Stevens remembers. He knew he hadn't made a good impression and asked for a second chance. Stevens gave it to him and ended up hiring him.

When you're hunting for a job, keep in mind that these unorthodox methods worked for these job seekers. Not only did they have the guts to try them out, but they also encountered hiring managers who were willing to take their efforts seriously.

Although wearing a sandwich board on a highway isn't the most reliable way to land a job, that job seeker did set himself apart from the thousands of other new MBAs fresh out of school. In a competitive job market, look for any opportunity, big or little, to give yourself an edge over the other applicants.

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Posted by kkowatch on August 18, 2008 at 02:25 PM | Comments (1)

Michigan Career Opportunities

Be sure to check out these great career resources for Michigan opportunities!

Hot Shots: Career Connections Event in Ann Arbor
Are you a spring graduate looking to join one of the hottest growing companies in Michigan? Would you like to attend a fun career networking event in Ann Arbor on May 21? If the answer is yes, then be sure to check out Hot Shots: Career Connections at Vinology which is featuring some of the hottest growing companies in Michigan, including MyBuys and BoomDash. Both companies are looking for Spring graduates to join their sales teams.

For details, to view the full list of participating companies and job titles, and to register for the event, check out: http://www.annarborspark.org/events/event-calendar/?i=2565

Job Search Assistance
Are you trying to find a list of growing companies that hire college graduates for entry level positions? Would you like to find a list of helpful links that can make your job search easier? Are you interested in learning about career events? If the answer to these questions is “YES!? Please check out this link:

This portal was created just for you – college students that would like to stay in Michigan for internships and upon graduation. We have almost 200 companies and a number of helpful links, and we are adding new companies each week to help connect talent to the great opportunities right here in Michigan. Please feel free to contact Amy Cell at Amy@AnnArborSPARK.org with any questions, comments, suggestions and other feedback.

Posted by kkowatch on May 16, 2008 at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

Have to do a Presentation at an Interview? Tips!

It's not uncommon for master's students to have to do a presentation on a topic when interviweing for a post-graduate school position. A soon-to-be graduting SI student provided me with the tips/guidelines provided to him by the organization he was interviewing with for his presentation... this should be helpful for those that aren't quite certain about which approach to take, what to include, etc...

To assist the candidate in preparing for the presentation, the following should prove helpful:

• The presentation is to be on the assigned topic. The candidate chooses what approach to take.

• The candidate should state at the outset what assumptions he or she is making about the composition of the audience being addressed and its knowledge level; e.g., a group of librarians with considerable knowledge of the topic; a group of board members who know little about the topic, etc.

• The presentation should last for XX minutes. The presentation will be timed, and the principal interviewer of the candidate will indicate when the allotted time has expired.

• The presentation may be videotaped by division personnel.

• The presentation will be given before a group of X to XX staff and will normally include staff members whose positions require giving presentations and presenting workshops and seminars.

• After the presentation, attendees will rate the candidate on a seven-point scale in the areas of organization and presentation. An average of the ratings will be used as a weighted factor in the hiring decision.

Criteria that will be considered in rating the candidate's organization are whether the purpose or goal of the presentation is clearly stated, whether the information presented is well chosen to achieve the goal, whether the content is organized around a few key points, whether the amount of time per point covered is appropriate to its relative importance, the degree of helpfulness of any handouts or visual aids, and whether the content is presented in logical order.

Criteria that will be considered in rating the candidate's presentation are whether ideas and explanations are well expressed without distracting digressions; pacing, intonation, enunciation, volume and speed; the use of proper grammar; the use of undefined, specialized language inappropriate to the assumed audience and its knowledge level; whether good contact is established with entire audience; the timing of anecdotes, explanations, visual aids, demonstrations, etc.; and the presence or absence of fidgeting or distracting mannerisms.

Posted by kkowatch on April 18, 2008 at 04:25 PM | Comments (0)

Still Searching? Have You Tried...?

Its the end of the term, the sun is out (finally!) and everyone is packing up to head off to see friends, start an internship, go to a new career or something. Or maybe not. Maybe schools over and you're still looking for something to do with your time and you feel like you've exhausted every resource out there. But have you?

Here's the first half of my top ten list of things to be using for your job or internship search. One resource often is not enough for a successful search; it often takes a combination of things and a little bit of networking to make your search make you happy.

Throughout all of this, networking is key. I recently had a SI student come to me and tell me that throughout this term, what he had learned was that an ounce of networking was worth one thousand pounds of portfolio and cover letter writing. So true! And it made me laugh, because as important as those formal job search tools are, if you don't follow up on them or get someone to advocate for you, sometimes a great cover letter isn't good enough. So that's numero UNO. If you haven't met with me or Joanna, your faculty, your friends, your parents, the UM Career Center, alumni, and let them know that you are SEARCHING for a JOB and effectively let them know what you want and why you’re good, then you're not networking.

Numero Dos: iTrack. I'm not talking about the jobs in iTrack -- well, at least not just jobs in iTrack. iTrack has so many other functionalities that I don’t think people really use. For example, did you know that you can look at the contact information of over 4000 companies in iTrack? This is a new resource that was recently released, but its true. 4000 companies, organizations, libraries, non-profits, government departments, whatever you want. There's one in there for you. And if the one you're not looking for isn't in there, let me know and we'll do some outreach immediately. You can also look at the Archived Jobs and Employer Information to see what jobs got posted last week, last month, last term, or last year. This is useful because most internships – and a lot of jobs too -- are cyclical and sometimes an organization may have forgotten to post a great internship with us this year that they did last year. So, check that option out too!

Numero Tres (I don't know why I'm counting in Spanish, but I just am!): Listservs. These are my favorites! Not only does reading all these fabulous listservs make me learn about trends in the areas that you are interested in, but there are great discussions and job postings out there. If you aren't on at least one specialization-relevant listserv, you are missing out! You can link to our online resources at http://www.si.umich.edu/careers/online-resources.htm click on your specialization and in the PDF find a list of listservs that you can sign up for. I'm serious -- this is where its at. And don't just read these listservs, ask questions! Join discussions! Ask if anyone is looking for an intern or if they know of any openings. It never hurts to ask. I see students from other schools ask questions all the time (and the occasional UM-SI student).

Numero Quatro: Informational Interviews. If listservs aren't my favorite resource, then informational interviews are. Seriously -- this is a goldmine of job or internship search information! If you don't know what an informational interview is, then you need to study up! What makes informational interviewing so great is that it gives you the answers to the questions you get asked in an interview. There are always those soft-skill questions that you get asked that you don't know what the answer is unless you've been able to ask someone that already works there. Are you a people or process-oriented person? Do you like autonomy or teamwork? What the best type of supervisor for you? The correct answer depends on the organization, department, boss. Its subjective and you can find out what the answer is before you get asked it. And, anytime you do an informational interview, you are pretty much guaranteed an interview if a job opens up in the near future. This is blatant networking – and everyone loves to talk about themselves to take them up on the opportunity.

Numero Cinco: Alumni. We have great alumni here at SI and they'd love to hear from you. You can reach out to alumni via the Student Alumni Network. A few tips for working with alumni. Don't ask for an internship or job. Instead, ask for help! Ask for tips, ideas, suggestions of people to talk to or to learn about what's going in their organization. You need to build a relationship with them before you can ask them for an internship or a job. It takes a little bit of time, so have patience! I often hear from SI students that they emailed the alumni, they got a response -- then what? Then you ask more questions, ask if they'll review your resume, if they have had interns in the past, how they found their internship when they were at SI. Trust me, these people know what you want when you connect with them. But make sure you do something for them -- at least say thank you! There are other UM resources for connecting with UM alumni through the Alumni NetWorks program. “Alumni NetWorks is a career service that offers graduates and current students the opportunity to gain information and networking contacts from one of U-M's most valuable resources, its alumni. Through this program, participants are able to contact alumni mentors who have volunteered to provide career coaching on topics ranging from information about their occupation and how to enter the job market to relocating to a specific city.?

And, don't forget about your undergraduate institution! There are always alumni there that want to hear about what you are doing and would like to help.

Numero Seis through diez are for next time. Questions? -- email me at kkowatch@umich.edu or stop on by. ~Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on April 18, 2008 at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

Michigan Career Opportunities - From Ann Arbor SPARK

Are you interested in staying in Michigan after you graduate? Are you trying to find a list of growing companies that hire college graduates for entry level positions? Would you like to find a list of helpful links that can make your job search easier? Are you interested in learning about career events? If the answer to these questions is “YES!? Please check out this link:


This portal was created just for you – college students that would like to stay in Michigan for internships and upon graduation. We have over 150 companies and a number of helpful links, and we are adding new companies each week to help connect talent to the great opportunities right here in Michigan. Please feel free to contact Amy Cell at Amy@AnnArborSPARK.org with any questions, comments, suggestions and other feedback.

Featured Michigan Opportunities of the Month:

Beyond Interaction
Based in Ann Arbor, Beyond Interactive is a digital marketing communications company that creates synchronized marketing programs that generate measurable success. Check out their job openings (such as data and software engineering) and apply online!

Con-way Freight, LTL
Con-way, one of the most successful and fastest growing freight shipping companies, is looking for exceptional people with top skills who thrive on challenge and desire to be the best. With headquarters in Ann Arbor, they seek talented candidates for sales, customer service, finance, purchasing,safety, IT and business development. Submit your resume online today!

Dow Chemical Company
In 2008, Dow announced expansion plans for a new solar power initiative with $50 million to be invested in Midland operations. Dow’s co-op and internship programs provide college students with work experience at a global company and the opportunity to evaluate Dow as an employer. For recent graduates seeking to broaden their experience, entry level jobs offer rotational assignments in a number of disciplines. Dow offers career opportunities in communications, engineering, finance, marketing and research. Check out their hiring process and apply online!

Fabri-Kal Corp
In 2008, Fabri-Kal Corp of Kalamazoo announced plans to expand by 160 jobs. Fabri-Kal is the sixth largest thermoformer in North America and primarily serves the food service and consumer goods packaging markets. Check online for paid internships and jobs. Resumes to HR at jopalewski@f-k.com

Google,one of Ann Arbor's hot new employers, is looking for the brightest minds in sales, advertising, business, marketing, product management and finance. Full-time internships are available. Bring your dreams and talents to Google's colorful table today!
Google Job Openings – Ann Arbor, Michigan
Google Internship Program

Posted by kkowatch on April 08, 2008 at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

Tips for Interviewing: Your Best Self

I saw a lot of discussion about this blog on a couple of the listservs I subscribe to -- and then a SI student sent the link to me. There is some great advice here about writing cover letters and interviewing, especially that of your search should be not about how great you are but about what you can do for the organization. Its a bit quirky, a bit irreverant, and I don't agree with everything that she says, but it gets you thinking. Enjoy!

Your best self Part of: Librariana

“Be your best self,? I told my students about job interviews. Two elements to that: being yourself (not somebody else), and putting your best foot forward.

Why on earth does this seem to be such difficult advice to follow? I am irked at what some librarians think is sufficient and acceptable behavior on the job market. People, I am gonna tell you this stuff once, and I don’t ever want to have to say it again, okay? Don’t make me go for my stompy boots.

If you cannot write a business letter, you have no business being hired as a librarian. That means the fiddly little bits like finding an actual name to write to, and putting a colon (a COLON, not a COMMA, and if you don’t know the difference you have no business with a baccalaureate degree, never mind a master’s) after the letter salutation. If I am on the search committee, damn straight I am not your friend. I might like to be your friend someday—but for now, I am a professional acquaintance and you’d better treat me as such. There are books and websites about business letters. Read and ponder.

The question you are trying to answer in your cover letter to me is not “Why are you awesome?? It is triply not “What do you want?? I don’t care what you want right now. (I will care once I decide to interview you, but I’m not there yet if I’m just staring at your application package.) The questions you are trying to answer are “Why should I hire you? How will you solve my problems?? You had better speak compellingly to that, and “I am awesome!? is not a compelling answer by itself. How do you know whom I want to hire, and what my problems are? I told you in the job description I wrote. This is why your cover letter needs to repeat as many of my buzzwords as possible.

In other words, your cover letter is all about me. No, that doesn’t seem quite fair, but it’s what will get you an interview. Look, I’ll tell you a secret, okay? I’ve been on search committees. The way we do the first cut on applications is to sit around a table with a grid in front of us. Across the top of the grid is a list of the skills we asked for in the job description. Down the left is a list of applicant names. We sit there and we check off boxes. If you don’t have enough boxes checked when we’re done, you’re chucked. Get it now?

The other thing that will get you chucked is telling me why I should chuck you. I should not have to say this. It is common sense. But some cover letters I’ve seen go all-out to “aw, shucks? me into dumping the app into the garbage. Don’t do this. It is not charming, not endearing, not amusing, and (worst of all) not helpful to either of us. It is inane, people. I don’t want to hire somebody who focuses on their faults. If nothing else (and there’s a lot else wrong with that attitude), they’re depressing, and I don’t come to work to be depressed.

(I even know of one or two people who bring this behavior into interviews. Well, look, if you don’t want the job, why are you bothering exactly?)

It’s simple. If you have a skill I want, highlight it. If you don’t, look for experience or education that will transfer over well, and highlight that. If that comes up short, look for something that speaks to your aptitude, and highlight that. If you’re completely at sea, shut up about it. Maybe the rest of your skills will cover for that one area. Maybe not. Maybe we’ll see a transferable skill that you didn’t think of. Maybe not. But pointing out the deficiency will get you chucked, every time.

(When backed into a corner at interviews, mention transferable skills, say you’ve been reading the literature and are rarin’ to go, talk about how you learn fast—just do not say “I don’t have any idea how to do this? or “I’m scared of it.? Ever. Do not. Chucksville.)

Believe it or not, I understand the cold feeling in the pit of the stomach from feeling whole leagues out of one’s league. Been there, done that. I have never been so intimidated in my life as I was facing a roomful of scholarly-publishing muckety-mucks in London. I was lucky to have a sprained knee to distract me from stone-cold terror. But there are two ways to respond to that. You can hunch your shoulders, turtle up, and mumble self-deprecating mumbles, which only makes you look foolish—or you can go for broke. Maybe you’ll still look foolish; there are no guarantees in this life. But there’s a chance you won’t. A chance, against a certainty.

New MLS holders tend to put their education first on their résumés. I get that you’re proud (I do!), but this is greenhorn behavior. Don’t do it. Lead with experience. Why? Because everybody in the pool has a bloody MLS, okay? That doesn’t set you apart, and you want my eyes to light first on what sets you apart. The only time your MLS coursework is going to count is if you’re short on experience and we have to test for aptitude instead. So put education later, except perhaps in the (somewhat rare) case where you have another advanced degree (master’s, professional degree, or higher) that is directly on point for the position. For example, if it’s a business bibliographer or liaison position and you’re an MBA as well as an MLS, by all means put education first. Otherwise, don’t bother.

Nothing guarantees you a job in this field, sad to say. Some things, however, absolutely guarantee that you won’t land one. Please avoid them. Please. Source.

Posted by kkowatch on March 24, 2008 at 12:31 PM | Comments (0)

Winter Break Job/Internship Search Tips

These same tips are posted on a bulletin board here in West Hall, but since there aren't any students around, I thought I would get these up on the blog....

Happy Holidays to you all! - Kelly

Use holiday events for schmoozing with family, friends and acquaintances. You never know who will produce your next job lead. Attend as many events as you can reasonably fit into your calendar. You don't want to be obnoxious about your job search and aggravate friends and relatives. But, do prepare a brief statement that tells people you are looking for a job and the kind of job you seek.

Send holiday cards with your business card enclosed to hiring managers with whom you've recently interviewed. Send one to well-connected friends as well. Source

Create a job searching schedule with at least one item to accomplish every day. Don't get lazy or depressed; keep your spirits up by taking positive action during the entire holiday season. Source

Check the classifieds in your target job searching markets from late November through December. Those employers are still conducting their searches, unless they happened upon a "perfect" candidate. Continue to check the online job boards as well. And, don't forget to check company Web sites if you have selected employers for whom you'd like to work. Source

Check professional association websites for advertised positions. Source

Take seasonal work during the holidays to tide your finances into the New Year. Temporary agencies also see an increase in employer requests as companies struggle to complete annual goals and enable employees to use their vacation time. Source

"The holiday period, or last quarter of the year, is an excellent time to secure a new position," says Kim Batson, a career-management coach with more than 10 years of career coaching experience. "Companies are in a hiring mode October through December -- they want to start the new year with the right talent on board before the first week of January." She adds that because so many people believe it's better to postpone job searching until January, there's less competition during the holidays. Source

Networking at the Work Holiday Event
Whether you're attending an employer-sponsored party or holiday networking event, make the most of social gatherings by planning in advance. "Set a goal to meet, connect with and learn from three to five people at an event," advises Andrea Nierenberg, a New York City-based speaker and trainer and author of Million Dollar Networking. "Do your research before going so you know something about those you might meet."

Beverly Harvey, president of Beverly Harvey Resume & Career Service, stresses the importance of quality versus quantity when networking at holiday events. "Develop several good, solid relationships instead of trying to develop many relationships that won't be valuable," she says.

Conversations should be focused on the person you're speaking with, not you and your job search. That can come later, after trust has been built. "When first introduced to the contact you want to speak with, show genuine interest in their lives, interests and careers," Batson says.

This is also not the time to whip out your resume. "Do not bring resumes to holiday functions," cautions Nierenberg. The goal is to start building rapport and setting the stage for future follow up.

You can, however, give out business cards that relay your career field and areas of expertise. "Job seekers might want to use a business card that states their personal brand, i.e., 'Sally Smith, Human Resource Director, Specialist in Diversity Issues' or 'Tom Taylor, Operations Manager, Global Supply Chain Efficiency Expert,'" says Batson. Source

Follow Up
After an event, send a handwritten, personalized thank-you note to each contact. Include a copy of your resume, if appropriate. Also, because it's a season of gift-giving, it's a nice gesture to send a small gift with your thank-you letter to the most important networking contacts, if it's within your budget. Source

Network Purposefully
The holidays are a perfect time to reach out to people in your network and potential employers. It all starts with relationships -- don't do a mass mailing to everyone.
Take the time to call some people, attend events and parties, and connect with people to discuss job opportunities.

Try to target the decision makers -- it's a very sociable time of the year, and managers are more likely to be receptive to job seekers than at other times of the year.

Create a new resume version for networking contacts who don't necessarily have a job opening. This one-page resume should highlight your most important skills, qualifications and career history, as well as industries or companies of interest.
While this type of resume isn't as targeted as a traditional resume, it allows networking contacts to understand your career field. In addition, listing desired employers and industries may spark your contacts' memories about a related job opportunity or networking lead. Source

Keep Your Network Going
A good tip is to keep in touch and and strengthening your network over time. Find creative ways to stay on someone's radar screen. Set a search engine alert -- research your contacts and their interests, and stay in touch that way.

Continue communicating with your network into the new year. If there's been some change in your status, send an updated resume with a note about your new accomplishment.

You can also implement a method to manage contacts.
It doesn't matter if you're using contact-management software, a spreadsheet, a handwritten chart or an old Rolodex -– do what works for you and keeps you on track with your networking. Source

A few others of my own personal thoughts...

Update your iTrack Profile
Set up a Search Agent in iTrack
Check out potential contacts in the Student-Alumni Network
Check out potential contacts in the UM inCircle Mentoring Program
Bookmark the Employment Sites of your Targeted Organizations
Sign up for 3 Professional Listservs
Join a Professional Organization
Do community service and add it to you resume
Read a book that’s relevant to your targeted job or internship

Posted by kkowatch on December 21, 2007 at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

Article: How to Use Google to Find a Job

I'm always pleased to learn that someone is reading my blog -- espcially if they are outside of SI. Willy Franzen contacted me and asked me to share with the SI population an article that he wrote on how to use Google to find a job.

Willy Franzen graduated from Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations with a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations in 2006. During his time at Cornell, Willy took a strong interest in Negotiation Theory, Labor Economics, and Human Resources Management. See below for his personal explanation for his interest in helping others find jobs:

“After graduation, I took on a few contract jobs, but I knew deep down that I wanted to start my own business. I went through about 6 months of pretty serious job search, while also considering various business ideas. I became very frustrated with how difficult it can be to find meaningful information about company's career opportunities. You'd think they'd do a better job of publicizing themselves and extending their employment brand online. I became an extremely good job searcher, but still I was disappointed with what I was finding online.

I realized that I could help companies do a much better job of online recruiting, so I made it a goal to learn as much as I could about blogging, search engine optimization, job boards, and online marketing. In May of this year, I started One Day, One Job to begin putting what I had learned to use. One Day, One Job has a dual purpose. First, I want to help college students become smarter job searchers. There is so much employment related clutter on the internet, I want to help them wade through it and find the buried gems. Second, I want to help employers be more effective in communicating their employment brand online. By building One Day, One Job as a brand for college job seekers, I hope that employers will take notice and take advantage of our advertising options and consulting services.

I'm sure you find it odd that a guy who never found a full-time job after college is giving job search advice to upcoming graduates, but I think it makes sense. I think that those who quickly find a job don't see the weaknesses in the process as clearly as those who have had some job search struggles. I want to make the process better!?

You can also check out Mr. Franzen's Blogs...
Blog about jobs is at http://www.onedayonejob.com
Blog with advice for job searchers and recruiters alike is located at http://www.onedayonejob.com/blog

How to Use Google to Find a Job Posted by Willy Franzen on Sunday, November 11, 2007

Whether you’re a first-time job seeker or a seasoned veteran, searching for a job on the Internet can be a daunting task. At One Day, One Job we do our best to find truly great entry-level career opportunities and pass on information about them to you. Since we only write about one company’s jobs each day, there are thousands upon thousands of jobs that we pass over. Just because we don’t mention a company on One Day, One Job doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth your interest.

When looking for career opportunities online, most job seekers use different techniques than they typically use while looking for information on the internet. They focus their search on job boards like Monster, HotJobs, and Career Builder, vertical job search engines like Indeed and SimplyHired, and college career services websites (at Cornell we had CornellTrak, which was our own version of MonsterTrak). Despite the wealth of resources to search for jobs, it’s still difficult to find meaningful information about companies and the jobs that they offer. Surprisingly, there is a tool that you likely use every day that is also one of the best job search resources in the world. It’s Google. That’s right. If there’s information on the Internet, Google finds it. That’s why we’ve written this guide on How to Use Google to Find a Job. Not only will this guide help you find new career opportunities that you didn’t know existed, but it will also help you become a better informed job seeker, so that you don’t waste time applying for jobs that probably aren’t a good fit.

Why You Need to Be a Smart Searcher
Despite how it seems, Google isn’t magic. They do their best to organize information so that most people find the right stuff most of the time. For instance, when you type the word jobs in to Google, you will mostly find results from the major job boards, because that’s what most people are looking for. If you want specific information about companies and the careers that they offer, you need to be specific in what you search for. With a little extra effort in how you conduct your online job search, you can greatly improve the quality of the jobs that you find, while also learning significantly more about the companies offering these jobs. Now, before I tell you how to be a job search ninja, let me first explain a little bit about how Google works.

Google has robots that scour the Internet for information. These robots are somewhat particular about how they find information on the internet. These robots can only index certain information on the web, so that leaves a number of situations where information gets excluded from Google’s index. Occasionally webmasters don’t want their sites included in search engines, so they tell the robots not to look at their pages. The way a web page is formatted can also lead to exclusion from Google, because the page may be unreadable to the robots. Other times Google’s robots have no way of finding the page (there are no links to the page, and the webmaster hasn’t notified Google about the page), so the page cannot be indexed. Google will also intentionally exclude information from their search results - even if their robots have no problems accessing the information - if Google thinks the webmaster is trying to cheat the system or spamming.

Most of the time, relevant job information shouldn’t be too hard to find in Google, but using the tips below will help you find more specific and helpful information than you would find using a simple search. This guide will be especially helpful when your online job search yields unsatisfactory results because the company that you are investigating has failed to optimize its Careers page (if a company’s Marketing team ignored search engine optimization, they’d likely be fired, but for some reason HR gets off the hook). So without further ado, How to Use Google to Find a Job.

The Search Basics
If you’re an experienced Google user, some (or all) of these search techniques will be familiar to you. If that’s you, feel free to skip ahead to the next section. There are many different ways of manipulating Google’s search results, but these are the methods that are most applicable when searching for jobs. Also, if you’re lazy, you can get the same results using Google Advanced Search, but I’d recommend reading through this section, because it’s much easier to find what you want when you understand how Google handles your queries.

Using Quotes
When you use quotes in Google, you are able to search for an exact phrase. So if you type in: jobs in Connecticut, you will find all types of pages that include both the word jobs and Connecticut (Google basically ignores the word in). However, if you type in: “jobs in Connecticut,? Google will only return results with that exact phrase somewhere on the page. This can be very useful for finding specific information that you are looking for.

Like Search Terms
Later in this article, I’ll discuss some of the career-oriented search terms that you should use in Google. That section is almost unnecessary because of this nifty little tool. If you put a ~ in front of a search term, it will search for the term you type as well as similar search terms. So if you want to search for: Connecticut jobs, you can type in: Connecticut ~jobs and it will give you results with Connecticut jobs, careers, employment and other like terms.

Addition by Subtraction
A lot of the time the problem with Google is that it gives you too many results. To more easily find the information you want, you can exclude keywords by typing in a – before a search term that you’d like to exclude. So say you would like to search for jobs in Connecticut, but you don’t want results from monster, careerbuilder, or hotjobs. You could search for: jobs in Connecticut –monster –careerbuilder –hotjobs.

Search a Given Site or Top-Level Domain
Sometimes you’ll find a company’s web page, but there is no sign of career information anywhere on the site. Assuming that the company will be hiring people at some point in the next 27 years, you could nose around the site until you find what you’re looking for, or you can use Google to do the searching for you. Just use the site: command. So if you are on companyname.com and can’t find their careers page, just go to Google and type in: site:http://companyname.com careers (leave out the www.). You may need to try a variety of search terms similar to careers (I’ll talk about which ones in just a bit) or you can use the ~careers command.

Another great use of this tip is that you can restrict the top-level domains that appear in your search results. For instance, if you are looking for jobs at colleges and universities you could use site:.edu before your keywords. To search for jobs at non-profits, you might be more successful using site:.org in your search. This can also be used to limit your search to results from certain countries’ top-level domains. So to search only sites in Italy, you could type in site:.it.

A Look into the Past
Sometimes Google preserves the past. If you navigate to a page and find that it no longer exists or has changed from what you remember, type the URL into Google; then click the cache button under the link in Google and see if they have an old version saved. You can also use archive.org and type in the address you’d like to see into The Wayback Machine. This is very useful for looking at past job listings that may have since changed, just to know what has been available at one time or another.

Can’t Remember Your Searches? Google Does.
If you have a Google account, you can enable Google Web History to remember your previous searches. This way, when you forget the name of some great company that you found on Google 3 months ago, you can check to see if they have any new job openings. Beyond remembering the searches that you made, it also remembers the links you clicked. Even cooler, you can search your own search history for keywords that you might remember. They should call this the Google pensieve.

Blogs Break News Before It’s News
Blogs can bring you news before it breaks to the major news outlets. More importantly, blogs report on news that most people (and the mainstream media) don’t care about. A blog about a local recruiter’s hiring difficulties may not be high on most people’s lists of things they want to read, but it might lead you to the opportunity of a lifetime. Google’s Blog Search is still in Beta, but it’s Google’s attempt to organize user-created content in a meaningful way.

Unfortunately the Blog Search results are a little more likely to contain spam and irrelevant information, but on the flip side, they sometimes have the most interesting tidbits. Remember that all the search tips that work with regular Google searches also work with Google’s blog search. You also have the option of refining the search by the date the post was published, so you can search blogs posts written in the past hour, day, week, or month.

Other Tidbits
If you would like to search multiple terms and are indifferent between one or the other showing up, you can use OR or | between the two words. To find sites with a given keyword in their URLs, you can use the command inurl:. For instance, to find sites with jobs in the url, you could type in: inurl: jobs.
Google Base is Google’s answer to Craig’s List. It’s not the best place to search for jobs, but there will certainly be listings there.
A zip code can be a great search term and it will really narrow down your results. Also, if you type in a zip code with a keyword like jobs, at the top of the search engine results page will be a link to Google Base’s jobs listings.
Be smart about abbreviations, acronyms, and plurals. Try all the alternatives. Sometimes Google knows what your abbreviations mean, like that CT means Connecticut, but other times you will have to search both the abbreviation and the full word. The same can be said for acronyms and some plurals.

Careers vs. Jobs
I’ve already mentioned how you can use the ~ in front of a search term to search for like terms, but I must reemphasize the importance of trying different variations of searches that are basically the same. The difference between “careers? and “jobs? is mostly semantics. To some, the word career sounds a little better, as it seems to entail a long-term commitment and may continue beyond a single employer. For our purposes, there is no difference between “careers? and “jobs,? but using both as search terms is extremely important.

I haven’t done any scientific research, but I’d say that its relatively evenly split between companies that have a “Jobs Page? and companies that have a “Careers Page?. So if you search “company name jobs,? you’ll likely find some results, but you may be missing their corporate site because you failed to look for “company name careers? or vice versa.

You should also take note that Companies never know where to put their Careers/Jobs page, if they have one. Some link to their Careers page directly from their home page, others link to it from their About page or Contact Us page. Some companies have no information at all for job seekers, and others throw a paragraph or less on an unrelated page. That’s why using Google to search will save you time over poking around a company’s site.

Companies also sometimes use terms like: employment, join our team, and work for us. I’m sure there are many more.

Working at (insert company name here)
If you’re looking to get in-depth dirt on what it’s like to work at a company, a search for “working at (insert company name here)? can be truly enlightening. You should always put this search in quotes when you enter it in to Google, otherwise you’ll get too many irrelevant results. Sometimes you’ll find a page on the company’s corporate site that details employee experiences, or you might find posts on The Vault’s message boards ranting about how much they hate the company (take these with a grain of salt, every company has pissed off ex-employees who take to the internet to try to right the wrongs done to them). Clearly every search will yield different results, but usually you can find some interesting tidbits.

Another great place to do this search is in Google’s Blog Search. This way you can see what people are saying about the company in the blogosphere.

Other searches that might yield results: “life at (insert company name here),? “a day in the life? (insert company name here), (insert company name here) fired, or (insert company name here) work/life balance.

Be creative in this type of search. Think about the burning questions you have about an employer, and then come up with keywords that might yield results that answer those questions.

Googling Names and E-mail Addresses
I’m hoping that you’ve at least Googled your name once to see what comes up. If you haven’t, try it. You’ll be surprised what shows up. More importantly, you need to realize that when your resume crosses someone’s desk, Googling your name might be the first thing that they do. So be prepared to explain that the first result in Google, which is a picture of you doing a keg stand, was actually part of a PSA you were in to help underprivileged children learn about the dangers of alcohol. By the way, if you don’t like what you find about yourself in Google, Lifehacker.com has an article on how to have a say in what Google says about you. So just like the Recruiter who might interview you is doing, do your due diligence and be a good job seeker. Use Google to research some prominent employees (CEO, CFO, PR person, etc.) at a company that you’re interested in. See if you can find anything that goes beyond their work life, just to get a sense of what types of people work there and what kind of lifestyles are suited to a job at the company.

There is always contact information on job postings. Use this information as keywords for your search, especially names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. You can find out a little bit about the person who may be contacting you about your application and his or her role at the company. More importantly you can see where else this position has been listed (niche sites) and what other positions have been posted by this same recruiter for this same company.

It may seem a little creepy to search for people you don’t know, but everybody’s doing it. You will be at a clear disadvantage in the hiring process if you don’t use Google to its full potential.

Stay Alert
Google allows you to receive daily/weekly/as it happens updates about the latest relevant Google results. You can sign up for Google Alerts to watch any search that you’d like to keep tabs on. It’s extremely easy to monitor all web sites, or just blogs in particular for the latest mentions of your search term. So once you optimize your searches to find the career information that you want, save them as Google Alerts and don’t worry about forgetting what you searched for or how you formed the searches.

I would love to see Google add RSS functionality to their Alerts feature (you can subscribe to RSS feeds for Google News and Google BlogSearch, but not normal web search). Indeed already allows you to subscribe to an RSS feed of any job search that you run. This is a rare instance where Google is behind its competitors in terms of technology.

Googling Job Titles
Another stupid thing that companies do is post their jobs using acronyms, abbreviations, or non-descript names. This makes finding these job postings through search engines exceedingly difficult. When preparing a web page for Google, having a descriptive title with important keywords is essential to not only ranking well but also getting people to click on your link. When you see job postings with titles like: IT FP&A Analyst, Systems Eng, or (my favorite) Analyst, you know that the companies are missing out on job seeker traffic. Some might say that people who are looking for those jobs know what to search for, which is partly true, but every company uses different acronyms and abbreviations. If I search for “systems engineer? I may not find a posting titled “Systems Eng.? The title of Analyst, whether it’s a job posting or a personal title, is boring to just about everyone. Why not describe what the job does?

So, companies need to figure out how to be more effective when posting their jobs, but until that happens you need to understand the errors that are commonly made when a job is posted (I won’t even go into misspellings, because that shows a serious lack of conscientiousness on the company’s part). By figuring out what abbreviations and acronyms to search for, you might find jobs that are buried on page 22 of the search results. The good news is that you’ll likely face less competition for this job than another job which has its posting search engine optimized. The bad news is that you might end up working for a company that just doesn’t get it. No company can successfully sell its products online without using focused, descriptive titles. Why should “selling? people on jobs be any different?

Now that you’ve hopefully read through the entire article, I have one last job search tip for Google. Be creative. Think about what you’re looking for, and then think of the different ways that information you seek might be described or posted. Using the techniques I’ve described, it’s easy to craft searches that will bring answers to your questions. Don’t overlook Google because it’s not focused on jobs like Monster is. Google will find almost anything you would find on other job search sites. I hope you enjoyed this article, and please add any tips that you’ve used to find jobs on Google in the comments.

Posted by kkowatch on November 16, 2007 at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

Getting to Know Your Resources: Part II

The Student Alumni Network at UM and other Alumni Resources

I was just demonstrating to one of the first year MSI's the Student Alumni Network and I commented to them, "I wonder if everyone even knows about the Student Alumni Network?" This wondering prompted me to write this blog!

So, what is the Student Alumni Network? Its a resource offered that gives SI students access to alumni who have offered to provide their expertise and tips to inquiring students. You can use the SAN to contact alumni about your internship or job search, what classes to take, or whatever else is on your mind. You can search registered alumni by Professional Title, First Name, Last Name, E-mail, Career Fields, Employer, Degree, Graduation Year, City, State, and Comments. There is at least one person in just about every niche of the career realm associated with SI -- sometimes many more!

You can find the Student Alumni Network on the SI website under the Careers heading. Note that the SAN will soon be shifting over to be part of iTrack. Keep an eye out for an email that announces this change soon.

Other UM-Alumni related resources that SI students and alumni can use are the following:

Alumni NetWorks is a career service that offers graduates and current students the opportunity to gain information and networking contacts from one of U-M's most valuable resources, its alumni. Through this program, participants are able to contact alumni mentors who have volunteered to provide career coaching on topics ranging from information about their occupation and how to enter the job market to relocating to a specific city.

inCircle is an online directory and networking community that contains all University of Michigan alumni and students. It offers all the basic functions of an online directory (the ability to search for friends and colleagues) plus the ability to create your own personal network. It's just like a Michigan version of Facebook or MySpace!

And, don't forget your Alma Mater's alumni resources... UM has one of the greatest alumni networks in the world, but that doesn't mean that your own undergraduate institution doesn't have some fabulously connected people that you can contact. Oh, and one more thing... the cardinal rule of networking is that you should always give back in order to receive -- so, don't forget to register to be a mentor to your undergraduate school and to SI when you graduate! I'd love to tell future students that you would be a great alumnus to reach out to. ~Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on November 12, 2007 at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)

Tips for Finding a Job in the United Kingdom

At least once a week, I have one of the first year MSI's in my office asking me about the possiblity of an internship in the United Kingdom... the British Library has come up several times! My advice is always, "Go for it!" -- But don't expect it to be easy. The visa regulations for US citizens to work in the UK are strict. See below for some tips from one woman who made it happen.

Job Hunting in the U.K.(November 4th, 2007) by by Jaclyn Bedoya

Let’s say your wanderlust has flared up, maybe you’re an Anglophile, or perhaps your partner has found a dream job in London. Whatever it is, suddenly you’ve found yourself looking to find a library job on another continent. Having recently conducted a job search in the U.K., I’d love to share a few tips I wish I’d known.

How do you get there?
The first thing you’ll need to work out is your visa. If, like me and many of the ex-pats I’ve met here, you’ve moved for your partner’s job, you’re probably allowed to work as part of their visa. Otherwise, are you in a country that participates in the Working Holidaymaker scheme? Do you qualify for the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme? If you want a short term experience you can also seek inspiration at the International Relations Round Table’s International Exchanges Committee website.

Before you go
Before my husband and I decided to move, we had to gauge whether I would be able to find a job. I joined several U.K.-related library lists months in advance to check the volume of position postings. LIS-LINK is one of the most general and useful, but there are many more specialized ones at www.jiscmail.ac.uk. You can also sign up for the weekly Jinfo Jobs Update at www.Jinfo.com, which focuses more on the information sector than libraries, but does provide weekly listings in your mailbox.

Sites like www.lisjobnet.com, www.jobs.ac.uk, and the local newspaper’s online recruitment section can help you pinpoint the positions in your area. I also periodically checked the websites of the local city council (for public library positions), colleges and universities in the area, and large businesses who might be hiring. Be careful: as many places seem to be moving away from using “librarian,? I found I missed library positions unless I searched for words like “information? or “technology.? This is also useful in finding non-library positions for which you are qualified.

Every job searcher is told to network, but when you are moving to a different country this can be quite challenging! I e-mailed friends of friends, asked former coworkers and professors for contacts, and told anyone and everyone that I was looking for work in Scotland. (Incidentally, this made a great icebreaker!) At the ALA annual conference, I made a point of going to the International Librarians Reception and met as many people as I could. There, I spent the evening talking to a couple of Scottish library school instructors, who were very encouraging and helpful.

Last, you can work on your resume, which may need minor tweaks. Do you have acronyms or local spellings that might confuse the hiring committee? Are the buzzwords different? Although “information literacy? is big in the U.S., I hear it much less in the U.K. setting. Instead, people talk about “customer focus? and “value for money.? Consider joining the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the U.K. equivalent of the ALA, both because it’s important to show your commitment to professional development and because the newsletters provide useful information to help you integrate into the U.K. library scene. As U.S., Canadian, Australian, and EU postgraduate qualifications are accepted in the U.K., you’re able to join as if you held a U.K. degree.

You’re here!
Now that you’re in the country, it’s a good idea to sign up with the library and information recruiting agencies. They can help with both temporary and full time employment, are friendly and helpful, and are completely free! You can try Sue Hill, TFPL, and CILIP’s own recruiting arm, INFOMatch. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to have a lot of positions outside of London or other big cities, so it might also be prudent to try non-specialist agencies as well.

One thing I heard before coming to the U.K. was that libraries are much more flexible than in the U.S. about allowing you to switch “specialties,? and so I job hunted accordingly. Although I was a reference and instruction librarian in the U.S., it seemed those types of “liaison librarian? positions were much rarer here, so I applied for almost anything for which I was qualified. This may be your opportunity to try something different!

Many job listings give a day or week when interviews will be held — pay attention to these dates. I learned the hard way that interview times are assigned, not negotiated, when the only two librarian-level positions I’d seen in months scheduled interviews for the same day at the same time, on opposite sides of the city. Luckily, one interview was willing to switch, but only because another applicant also needed to trade.

Also, remember all that networking you did? When it comes to the nitty gritty of whether to ask for a different interview time, salary expectations, or employers’ reputations, having local knowledge can really be invaluable. David, one of the library school instructors I met at the annual conference, patiently helped me de-Americanize my resume and adapt my cover letter to U.K. conventions. He also mentioned that in the public sector, if a salary range is given, the organization will probably have budgeted up to the maximum — so you might succeed in negotiating up from the minimum.

With a bit of luck, and the work I put into preparing before I arrived, I was able to find a position within three months of arriving. I’m somewhat surprised to find myself in a systems librarian position, but although there has been a learning curve my institution has been very supportive and now I have a whole new set of skills. Adapting to the U.K. work culture has been a challenging experience in and of itself, but I trust that if you’ve been resourceful enough to find a job, you’ll do great at bridging the cultures as well. Good luck!


IRRT International Exchanges

Library Lists

Job Sites


Qualifications from Overseas

Recruiting Agencies

Jaclyn Bedoya is an Electronic Resources Advisor at Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has lived and worked on three continents.

Tags: bedoya, edinburgh, scotland, uk

Posted by kkowatch on November 05, 2007 at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)

SI Careers Site Visit: Enlighten

On this past Tuesday, Joanna and I visited Enlighten for a company visit in which we learned about their recruitment and employment opportunities for SI students and graduates.

Just in case you're unfamiliar with Enlighten, they are an Ann Arbor-based provider of internet services, in just about every fashion imaginable: Website Design and Development, Interactive Marketing and Branding, Broadband Applications, Interactive Customer Relationships, Integrated Product Launches, and eBusiness Optimization. For SI'ers, there's a function or job for just about everyone!

Speaking of SI'ers, while Joanna and I were at Enlighten, we really couldn't turn around without running in to an SI Alumnus. There are five MSI graduates at Enlighten that we got to chat with while we were there, and a couple other that either weren't present or had moved on to other professional experiences. Clearly, Enlighten values the skills and abilities that SI has to offer you.

We're expecting them to come to SI in the spring, so keep an eye out for information on their visit. They will be recruiting for internships and full-time positions. Note that they often hire full-time workers as contract workers and then later hire them on for full-time, professional employees. One skill that they said they are especially seeking is Flash, so if you've got it, they want it!

Just in case you're interested in working for a similar organization to Enlighten, you might want to also check out Campbell-Ewald, Fry Multimedia, Wunderman, and Digitas (who's visiting SI on Friday, October 26). Hoover’s also recommends Arc Worldwide, Avenue A | Razorfish, DraftFCB (visiting SI on Wednesday, October 31), Grizzard Communications, and Rapp Collins, among others, as competitors.

Posted by kkowatch on October 12, 2007 at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

Getting to Know Your Internship and Job Resources - Part 1

This is the first of many blogs in which I plan to share with you resources for your internship or job search. I'm going to start with the obvious ones today... things that SI has to offer and a few other resources here on UM's campus.

The most obvious Job and Internship Resources offered by SI is iTrack. iTrack is an online job posting board for jobs and internships, locally, nationally, and occasionally globally. By the time a MSI student graduates, chances are they have signed up for iTrack. I recommend that if you aren't familiar with iTrack (and I guarantee that you don't know all the little perks that it has to offer unless I've shown them to you personally), then you should definitely check out a blog that I wrote earlier this year on how to get the most out of iTrack: iTrack -- How Great It Is!

As I wrote this current blog, I checked iTrack to see exactly what iTrack had to offer you. Quantitatively, this is what there is:
3276 Registered Employers
3700 Registered Employer Contacts
379 Job Postings
232 Multi-School Postings
11 Scheduled Information Sessions

Not to shabby, huh? What those numbers don't show is that we've posted 2115 jobs since SI Careers adopted iTrack in 2006! That's a lot of jobs. That's about 17 potential jobs per student being posted!

You may be wondering where those jobs come from? SI Careers contracts iTrack (aka Nacelink) from a software vendor called Symplicity. Nacelink is a national job search board that hundreds of different schools use. That's where the Nacelink jobs come in. Employers have the choice of posting jobs with SI exclusively or through Nacelink to multiple schools. We get to choose which jobs go on the Nacelink job listings and the SI-only job listings. So, employers post jobs on iTrack. We also seek out jobs from listservs, job boards, and company websites that we think would be interesting to you and add them to iTrack and invite the employers to further a recruiting relationship with us.

Some features that you should definitely be taking advantage of in iTrack are the SI Job Postings, the Search Agent, and the Archived Employer Information/Job Postings (its easy to look back and see what jobs were posted this time last year – or what internships in the past spring – to see what you should be planning on being posted again this year or to drum up a new contact).

The UM Career Center is a career resource also available to all SI students. You can also sign up for their job board, the Career Center Connector, to look for internships and jobs. The Career Center also contracts with Nacelink, so the format of the system looks pretty close to iTrack, but the jobs and some of the individual functionalities are different.

For a fee of $75, you can also sign up to use the Ross Business School's iMpact recruiting system. If you are interested in learning more about this resource, please email me at kkowatch@umich.edu. Ross has many on-campus company presentations that you are welcome to attend free of charge; it is taking part in their on-campus recruitment that requires the fee.

Other school's recruitment boards (Engineering, Law, etc) are not open to students other than their own, but you can always attend the career fairs offered by these schools. Watch your SI email for information on these events and if there is something that you are searching for specifically let me know and I'll help you find it.

Next week, I'll talk about the Student-Alumni Network that SI hosts and also the University Alumni Network. Have a great weekend! ~ Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on September 28, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

iTrack Job Searching Update

We just received a notice from the iTrack vendor that searching for jobs on iTrack is going to be better!

Changes in the search functions for jobs will include:

> Target jobs for your targeted state
> Exclusion of nationwide jobs when searching by a specific state
> The ability to easily receive targeted job posting results without visiting the detailed search page.

These were part of the recommendations that were suggested that iTrack Feedback Forum that we held last spring here at SI.

SI Careers always welcomes usability feedback on iTrack for us to pass along to the vendor.

Posted by kkowatch on June 29, 2007 at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

Students Gets a Dream Job -- Because of his Blog!

A 21 year old got a job with the New York Times because of his blog. That truly is social computing at work! Check out the article on Brian Stelter at the Baltimore Sun.

I've received the recommendation from many different professionals and SI alumni to tell students to blog and participate in listservs for the purpose of increasing their network. I know that a bunch of SI students subscribe to professional listservs that post jobs and host discussions, but only once have I seen an SI student actually post something to one (and I subscribe to 20+). Participating in discussions on listservs or blogging about what's going on and what you are working on are forms of networking, especially if your work or comments are getting noticed. I recently found a job description that required two years of blogging experience - it’s true! If you haven't yet, sign up for at least one professional listserv in your field (email me for suggestions if you are at loss) and start blogging. Someone might notice and it may land you the job of your dreams!

Posted by kkowatch on June 12, 2007 at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

Feeling Bad/Hateful About Writing Cover Letters?

I have yet to find someone who *Loves* to write cover letters. Cover lettering writing in itself is an art, and even I, who has read hundreds of them, understand your pain and the challenges of writing the perfect cover letter: professional, interesting, and exactly what the reader (who you've never ever met) will think is exactly right.

As a way to keep in touch with what's going on in all the fabulous SI specializations, I subscribe to a variety of different listservs including LIBJOBS, Nonprofit Tech Jobs, AMIA-L, iProJobs, etc. I seriously get a couple hundred emails a day from all these different listservs! Obviously, I don't read all the messages, but I do skim a lot of them and have had learned a lot about what is going on in the Information World – and also gotten some good laughs over the discussions and arguments (and they can get nasty!) amongs the other subscribers. (Sometimes it’s very hard to not put my two cents in, I must admit!).

Today, a gem came through one of the listservs that I just had to share with you. I try to keep this blog pretty professional, but I think that this site is a good one to read that will make you laugh, and make you feel like your own cover letter writing is not so horrible or challenging. Overqualifed posts a new cover letter every Tuesday for you to read (or you can subscribe and they will send it to you personally for your viewing pleasure) -- and to gather some DO NOT DO THIS tips! I find these very amusing. However, if you read a few of these letters and aren't quite sure what's wrong with them, contact SI Careers IMMEDIATLEY. :) Have a great weekend, everyone! Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on June 01, 2007 at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

The 100 Smartest Companies of 2007

Today, as I was perusing the internet doing some "research" on our new specializations, I came across a most unique list: The 100 Smartest Companies of 2007 (Source: eWeek.com.) Now, this list isn't measuring IQ or the most degrees per employee; it's just a little bit different that what you might think!

Baseline, an (internet) magazine/professional publication or sorts, calculated the "average value that has been created by a company's workers—everyone from the chief executive through middle managers to the lowest-paid staffers. Baseline's underlying assumption is that the smartest companies must necessarily be skilled at managing information."

I recommend that you check this list out -- you will probably be surprised at the top companies. Travelzoo is the top technology company, at number 5. Marvel Entertainment (yes, of the comic book fame) is in the top 25. You might find that you see some interesting employment possibilities through this list -- in industries that you never even considered to be top information users and managers.

Posted by kkowatch on May 15, 2007 at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

SI Alumni, Incentive Centered Design and Other Miscellany

I have to admit, before I applied to work at SI, I had never really heard of an information school. When I saw the posting, I thought, hmmm... information systems and programming, etc... that doesn't sound so very interesting. Boy was I wrong! I am fascinated by what everyone is studying here -- from library services (I wish now that I had taken advantage of my alma matas' librarians when I was doing research papers, etc) to the technology oriented stuff. I use the geni.com tree and del.icio.us and everything else that you guys are working on and and inform others about because its so cool!

The other thing that has been surprising for me is the great alumni and related employees that I keep meeting! A friend of my husband's family whom I have met several times, a former Media Specialist, is an alumnus. My ceramics teacher, now a full-time potter, is an alumnus of SI and spent years working at Proquest and Thomson Gale. Also in my ceramics class are two E-Commerce Consultants who work at Foresee Results. I asked these two girls what they do for a living the very day that I was doing some intensive research on incentive-centered design and I was struck by the coincidence of meeting not one, but two people who work in that very field. What they told me in our conversation is that Foresee Results is hiring! I looked at their website, and they are right: Satisfaction Research Analysts (SRA) and Team Leads, J2EE Programmer, Implementation Services Specialist, Business Systems Analyst/Project Administrator are all posted as open positions right now. My ceramics colleages said that they are lucky because the do really love what they do and they really love who they work for. I suggest you check it out -- the positions all sound interesting and they recruit from a variety of backgrounds, so there is something for everyone.

(ForeSee Results is the market leader in online satisfaction measurement and management. They utilize the methodology of the country’s most respected, credible and well-known measure of customer satisfaction, the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI)."

Posted by kkowatch on May 11, 2007 at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

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)

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)

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)

Federal Jobs for SI Students

How many of the MSI students here at SI know that an Office of E-Government exists in Washington D.C.? It's a sub-office of the Office of Management and Budget which was an ASB site this year!

They have some cool things going on there -- Federal Enterprise Architecture, Information Policy, a CIO Council. Great stuff -- with some interesting associated jobs. In fact, there are a ton of information-related jobs on the USAJOBs site:
Visual Information Specialist - Library Of Congress
Information Technology Specialist - Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/ Agriculture and Forest Service / (Policy/Planning) - Treasury/Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

In fact, there are IT Specialists jobs in just about every department imaginable with the government. Looks like their responsibilities include, "The incumbent plans, develops, implements, and maintains IT security compliance and inspection programs, policies, and procedures to protect the integrity and confidentiality of systems, networks, and data Department-wide."

I have been reviewing my notes again from my interviews with the Coordinators of the Alternative Spring Break projects and I've found some more great tips that I want to share with you. The organizations that this information comes from include NARA, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Electric Privacy Information Center EPIC), EDUCAUSE, Federal Trade Commission, the Library of Congress, The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and the Office of Management and Budget.

If you are interested in speaking with the employees of these organizations for networking purposes, don't hesitate to contact me. Almost everyone expressed a strong desire to help students who were in the search for an internship or job.

Continue reading to gain some insight on the perceptions of working for the federal government and a list of tips and characteristics sought for employment…

Below is a long list of key skills and tips that are being sought by these employers. I tried to organize them by different categories, but I always recommend that you read them all because many soft skills and strengths transcend a variety of job functions.

General Skills:
Good writing and communication skills
The ability to be articulate
Organized, responsible, and self-motivated
The ability to see issues and take it on with little supervision (it's less likely in the policy world to have a structured supervisor)
Technology skills – good web skills and many ideas on how to apply technology
Able to present information creatively – i.e. diagrams, graphs, etc
People who have a demonstrated interest in the issues of the organization – they have read the materials and are familiar with the organization.
A display of enthusiasm and a strong background/ experiences
Maturity, previous job experience, unique and relevant experiences, a go-getter, good grades, strong recommendations, and the ability to get up early and be to work on time.
Articulation of self in writing, speaking, and comprehending dense language. The ability to analyze and synthesize is key.
"Dissemination" is a key word to have on your resume
Diverse experiences
People skills
Ability to respond to questions well
No b/s - but can state their logic of reasoning.
Willingness to be in an unstructured environment with a high demand (many government positions have limited supervison)

Archives and Library Services:
A strong knowledge of archival traditions (records cycles, processing, etc) but can also apply new and creative ways to make holdings accessible and meaningful to the public
Have to enjoy doing the core archival tasks – holding maintenance, descriptions, and a combination of the two.
Stay open and flexible – be open to geographic locations. There are great places to be an archivist beyond the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. State archives are great as are privately funded places such as the Newberry Library in Chicago.
Think about how to have fun, work where the records are in their active place. Much of the work being done is in records, not in research
Think about how to make information accessible, reliable, efficiently and useful to the research depositories
For reference positions, you need to have experience and specific skills. If you can code, it’s a bonus. You definitely need to have the digital experience to be competitive.

DC Internships:
It can help you to gain a great internship if you can secure your own funding through either grants or fellowships, etc.
Go to law school because the information and knowledge gained is very relevant
If you want to work in DC, intern in DC. Spend your summers working in DC to show that you want to be there. The experience needed there is so specific, so government based, that you really can’t gain it anywhere else. By moving there, even for the summer, you demonstrate dedication to the industry, cause, location. (George Washington U rents out dorms for those seeking housing)
Take advantage of the “Washington Semester? hosted by American University – pretty much guarantees admission to grad school a American U.

Tips for career success!
Stay connected to former supervisors.
Don’t be afraid of taking a project job (one that has a start and end date). These jobs give you experience to talk about and enhance your ability to sell yourself – and you are getting paid for it. You will gain a variety of skills and maybe get to see a variety of places also!
Stay open and flexible – be open to geographic locations.
Call conferences to volunteer at them to make connections – National and Regional conferences.
Apply to positions even if you meet just some of the requirements. Employers will list absolutely everything they can think for requirements in a job description just to see what's out there and what they can get.
Consider contract or employee positions
Stating your specific interests in an introduction letter/proposal can be a double –edged sword: you can either limit yourself or hit the nail right on the head in terms of what the organization needs for their current projects. A good suggestion is to list a group of interests, but also state that you are open to anything.
Read the website (or other posted information) before you make a phone call or send your application materials. If you don't follow the directions or waste the application reviewer's time, you aren't making a positive impression from day one. However, smart, thought-out questions and statements can make you much more attractive as a candidate.
Applicants should convey that they want to be there – and also why they want the position—and why this area, and why the organization. Be able to finish “I want this because…" before you apply.
Have good grades and good references. Not friends, roommates, etc. You references should preferably be from a professor in the discipline. Even a high school teacher is a better reference than a friend or a “character reference?. A good reference is from someone who knows the applicant; a reference that is clearly familiar with the applicant and not in the field is better than one that is in the field but doesn’t know you.

The Perception of Working for the Federal Government:
Many of the federal employees that I met with expressed concern about the perceived image of working for the federal government.

These people know that the government is seen as a bloated bureaucracy, as a place to pasture. Everyone said that these ideas were not true and wanted me to be sure to come back and share with you all the great benefits and realities of working for the government.

There are unlimited opportunities to have more responsibility because of the lack of resources and people. Any sort of initiative is greatly appreciated and compensated. Employees have a great lifestyle; the work life balance is good because of restrictions on overtime.

It is an interesting time now to join the government because of the way that business is done; information is changing and the methods are changing with it. Critical mass is building, thus old ways will soon be let go because they have to be. They want to hire people during this paradigm shift so that they are part of the new evolving culture.

Bonus tip: Employees need to hang on to their government sector job for three years – that’s when all the benefits start kicking in. Working there for a year and half to two years won't get you anything.

The employees at the Federal Trade Commission expressed the occurrence of brain drain – but not in the sense commonly known in Michigan (where in-state college students graduate and leave the state, taking the entry-level professional workforce with them). They were referring to the great occurrence of people retiring and taking with them technical knowledge and the relevant skills without the organization having the proper recruitment in place or funding to replace them. Also, competition from the private sector is a source of brain drain. People at FTC are eager and willing to replace skills with new techniques and ideas.

I also worked for a state government soon after I graduated from my undergraduate institution. I found that although I didn't get any vacation for a year, everything else was pretty great about working there. The people around me were smart and ambitious, I had great benefits, and I had excellent work-life balance with competitive pay. I would recommend it to anyone -- the experience I gained because I was in a position that I probably wasn't really qualified for gave me great insight for what I wanted to do with my life and also helped me hone some skills I would not have had the chance to do elsewhere. Also, the benefit of working in the government is that you naturally learn a lot about what is going on at the state and federal level without having to sit down and watch or read the news every day.

Posted by kkowatch on March 28, 2007 at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)


These days it seems like "everybody" is getting interviews and job offers. I keep trying to remind myself of the ketchup philosophy, but it is difficult. Most of the people with offers have been offered jobs I have no interest in, or are in locations I have ruled out. So why is my refrigerator mood magnet stuck on jealous? The best answer I can come up with is just human nature. I remember going through the exact same thing when I graduated from Colgate. At the last minute I was offered a great internship for the summer with the Nantucket Historical Association. A week after I left the internship, I was offered my job at The Hartford. So, as I hope for another quick turn-around, I think I will have a hot dog and write some more cover letters.

Posted by jsharp on March 25, 2007 at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

SI ASB 2007 Site Visits

From what I've heard, most everyone had an awesome ASB experience this year. We sent 57 students to New York City, Chicago, and Washington D.C. where they did a variety of service projects and shadowing at 18 different organizations! SI has a great program and we are one of the only ones (maybe the only one?) that does this -- the sites all just having you come work for them and many of them want you for more than a week. I know of a couple students who wanted to stay longer!

I also had a great time while I was on ASB. Although I was not doing service projects for all of our sites, I was doing my job: creating and nurturing recruitment relationships for the students and alumni of SI. I met with so many great people and gathered a ton of information to pass on to you. I am going to be posting this information over the next week or so. If you are interested in learning more about the sites and what they are looking for in candidates, application processes, etc.. contact me (kkowatch@umich.edu) and we can chat. Enjoy the warm weather!

Posted by kkowatch on March 13, 2007 at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

Welcome Back!

This is my first blog -- ever, if that is believable! -- and I am excited to be able to share some of my thoughts as related to your career search endeavors with you. As the new Career Counselor within the School of Information, I have recently finished a job search myself, so I also want you to know that I am able to empathize with each of you in the challenges and successes of a typical internship or career search.

One thing that I always like to do is bring information to students that is relevant to what they are studying in terms of companies, trends, new job functions, etc. I was reading Time over the weekend -- trying to catch up on the back log of them from the last few weeks -- and I noticed an article on the so-called demise of newspapers. The article said that this idea is in fact wrong -- newspapers are doing great and profiting but they are also in need of an evolution in terms of its sales structure and method of information disbursement. In the article, Scott Bosley, executive director of the American Society of Newspaper Editors said, "The word newspaper is going to disappear. Newspaper companies will become information companies."

I thought that this was an interesting statement. As a job and/or internship searcher, have you considered working at a newspaper? I can see how archivists are potentially interested in this field, or LIS students, but what about HCI students? And IEMP? HCI students can apply their knowledge of human interaction and usability to the layout of newspapers -- online and in print. And we are all aware of the policy issues associated with print information and the internet which are only going to get greater and greater.

Keep an eye out for careers associated with newspapers. You might be able to make Gannet or the Tribune Company see potential in you that it might not have thought it needed.

Happy New Year and welcome back! - Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on January 02, 2007 at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

Online Portfolios….not just for HCI, every SI student needs one!

I’m graduating from SI this term and am in the thick of my job search. In the last week, I went to two interviews. I was able to refer the individual I was talking with to my online portfolio to see my work. In both cases, it was to show my writing. An online portfolio is nice because I don’t have to remember to carry the paper or worry that I’m taking the wrong paper to an interview. Instead, I can be confident there is a balanced variety of my work at my site. My online portfolio isn’t super fancy, but it’s functional and it is convenient for employers to view my work. If you do not know how to make your own online portfolio, you can get help around campus. Check out http://www.si.umich.edu/outreach/training/index.htm#workshops for workshop times and locations, and free web tutorials.

Posted by mccato on November 07, 2006 at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)

Plan of action: be prepared!

Hello there! This entry is listed under Job Search but it also applies to those doing Internship searches as well. I'm just dropping a quick note onto the blog to remind everyone to get your plan of action ready! Just yesterday I talked to two (count 'em 2!) employers and both wanted my resume. Trust me, doing your resume the night before you need to turn it in to someone is a bad idea. Take charge of your job/internship search! Do it now when it's still relatively early for Spring/Summer work and when those employers come knocking on your door you'll be all set to go.

So, if you haven't gotten your resume in order yet or you don't know what to do about job/internship searches, come on over to 402 WH or send an email to either of the following people:
David Dworin (dworind@umich.edu)
Tonya McCarley (mccato@umich.edu)
Mary Ann Williams(maryaw@umich.edu)

Even if you think your resume is fine, just bring it by--you'd be surprised what another pair of eyes can tell you! Speaking of resumes, I reviewed a few in the past couple of weeks and quite a few people had questions along the lines of, "How do I show a potential employer about this project? How can they see it?" The answer, my dear grasshoppers, is in this magical concept: portfolios. Think these were HCI folks asking me this question? Nay! They were LIS and ARM. Surprised? Well, I'm not. I think LIS/ARM is long overdue to learn about how portfolios can put you at the top of the heap of applications in that whizbang-fantabulous employer's HR office.

So, now that I have whetted your appetite for knowledge about portfolios, stay tuned for some future programming at SI to learn more about portfolios: What are they? How can they help? Why should I consider having one? And to learn about how to make them: What are my options? How do I get started? What do I put in my portfolio?

See you in 402WH...
-maw :o)

Posted by maryaw on October 05, 2006 at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

Google: David Choi

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. When I wrote about my internship search earlier, I said I would talk about my full-time job search also. So here it is, a bit belated though.

I started my full-time job search in the fall after I decided not to take the offer from where I did my internship, KPMG. As with my internship search, I made a list of companies I was interested in that I would add to if I found additional companies during the process. As Maurice mentioned in his post, the fall is when the big consulting companies come to campus to recruit for MBAs. In addition, some big technology companies also come to campus, like Microsoft and Amazon. Since they don't recruit specifically at SI, I would get a copy of the Monroe Street Journal, the business school newsletter, that lists when the companies are going to give their presentations. I also went in with a few other people and purchased an iMpact account over at the business school that gave me access to the recruiters' contact information and presentation schedule. Although many of the companies were not hiring specifically for SI students, the recruiters often will still take your resume or refer you to a person in the field you are looking for. For example, Amazon was not recruiting for UI positions at their presentation but I talked to one of the presenters and he forwaded my resume to someone he knew at Amazon who were looking for UI people. I was able to get interview that way.

Another way I used were the fall career center and engineering job fairs. I would check out the companies that were attending and then identify the ones I was interested in. I would look at their websites to get more information. I would also tailor my resumes to try to match what they were looking for. I would then go to their booths at the fairs and talk with them. I got interviews with three companies using this method. I also subscribed to the CHI-JOBs email list. These list-serves are great resources because they often have emails and contact information for the recruiters. Sending my resume directly to them was much more effective than trying to submit my resume through their websites. I also checked the jobs that were being forwarded to the SI and SOCHI lists. I got interviews with two companies replying to positions posted on these lists.

During my search for HCI positions, having an online portfolio was very important. The portfolio helped the most during my interviews. The interviewers would often ask about projects I worked on. Of course, I would describe and explain them but then I would mention they could actually see my different projects on my portfolio. During many phone interviews, the person would be looking at and referring to my portfolio while I was talking to them. They could actually see the screenshots and samples, which generated many more questions. For in person interiews, I brought a small binder of screenshots from the projects on my portfolio. In one of my interviews, we spent over 20 minutes going through just one of my projects.

I suppose I should finally get to how I got in contact with Google. I would regularly check the Google jobs website for jobs I might be good for. When I found one I liked, I got the contact information for Google from the SI iTrack database. You can get recuriter and company contact information by just talking to Joanna or Tonya. I sent him my resume for the position I was interested in. It turns out he was recruiting for a different position but forwarded my resume to the appropriate recruiter. I got contacted for an interview after that. To make a long story short, the interviews were definitely some of the toughest I ever had. You definitely need to do your homework about the company and its products. Also be prepared to think quickly and come up with ideas on the fly.

I hope this information was helpful. I had a blast being one of your SI Career Services Assistants. Have a great summer and good luck on your current or future job and internship searches!

Posted by choidh on May 27, 2006 at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)

Consulting Job Search: Maurice Solomon

So, even before i came to SI, I knew i wanted to get a job in consulting... i had turned down industry jobs to leave for a summer internship in DC, a year in japan and grad school... now, my second time through the recruiting process, I was filled with trepidation. Recruiting here at UM is very standardized, and its a process, which I really only locked down by the end of it. Consulting recruiting started as soon as the winter semester go tinto swing, with invitations coming from firms to attend their dinners and the like. These came because i had attended their events in the past, stayed to talk with people, applied to their summer internships last year, had made contacts at firms, etc.

The resume drops are very standard: you can't get into iMpacts drop function, so you need to watch the calendar like a hwak, and email the recruiter directly. "Hello, My name is Maurice Solomon, and im an information economics student here at the Unveristy. My degree is like an MBA, focused on strategy and competitive dynamics surrounding information..." Standing in front of the mirror, practicing that over and over. Keeping a "recruiting" folder full of killer interview questions to read on the bus every morning. Meeting friends for mock interviews in the library and at coffee shops. An MBA friend helped me, meeting with me everyweek to strategize about which firms to target. Career services saw 7 drafts of my resume. You think thats too much... overkill... until you realize that *everyone* is doing it, and youre just keeping up.

You go to fancy dinners, you go to fancy flyouts, you pull stupid shit like forgeting important names, sending emails to the wrong recruiter. You are mostly alone during the process: in the interview room, waking up in high-rise hotel rooms just before all day interviews, sitting and deliberating offers, blank stare over a steaming cup of coffee. Your friends back you up, mock interviews, sending you up to the minute info, offering to rush you home from the airport when two interviews stack onto the same day.

My advice for SI students fighting for MBA jobs:

* The "you need to have at least two years industry experience to qualify for an MBA interview, if not youll be at the same level as the BBAs" line is true, but sometimes it isnt. This will be my first real job, but my "two years experience" was explaining dynamic capabilities to the head of IBM strategy for 10 minutes. Just those 10 minutes justified my entire two years at grad school intellectually and financially. (note: SI doesn't teach dynamic capabilities, or RBV, or any strategy framework - future consultants should take Afuah's strategy core class and Ethiraj's Tech Strategy course at the bschool)

* Sign up to iMpact, TODAY. The other "best decision" i made all recruiting season.

* Don't apply to everything. Strategize, get a short list, dont back down from your top firms. Its tons more fun with a friend to talk over things with, who can get your back at recruiting events.

* Have fun. When i was deep in the recruiting process, it took some effort to pull my head up and look at the bigger picture. I spent 20+ hours a week on recruiting over Nov. If your not having fun doing while doing it.....

Posted by solomonm on April 14, 2006 at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Internship & Job Strategies

Welcome to the SI Career Services Blog!

To help everyone in their internship and job searches, Career Services is launching this blog to create an online community to share our strategies and success stories. Any SI student is welcome to post their story to this blog. The goal is to be able to provide a resource for everyone this year and for students in the following years. Even if you haven't achieved success yet, please share your story. Finding an internship or a job is a process and we want to share that process with everyone. By sharing strategies, we can learn new ideas, try a new approach, and even be reenergized!

Posted by mccato on March 31, 2006 at 02:35 PM | Comments (3)