Biall Solos - Career Development - September 2011
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Biall Solos - Career Development - September 2011

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  • Hi everyoneI have a talk, to go with the slides Dean’s distributed, but I’d welcome questions/comments throughout, and either I’ll try and answer these or we can have a conversation between delegates.“Career development for solo librarians can entail a bit more planning and effort than for librarians working in larger teams. In a larger firm, or as part of a wider groups of library professionals, there are likely to be opportunities for official training and promotion, as well as the day-to-day benefit of having colleagues on hand to discuss ideas with.  This session will introduce some ideas for career development activities for solos ranging from individual actions, such as involvement with groups outside the firm, to more radical ideas, such as how to put a case to expand your team, or how to best present your experiences in search of a new role.”
  • If you are a solo, there are really two approaches to career development:Improve or grow your current roleLook for a new one!I’ve jotted down some thoughts on both approaches, and I’m sure you’ve got some ideas to share too.
  • So, here are the things I’d like to cover under each headingSome of these could take a whole day’s course / workshops to cover in detail – in this hour it will necessarily be a quick skim through some top line ideas!
  • OK, what can you do in your current role – first thing = expand the scope of what you do in the job you have.Also called ‘mission creep’ – although in this case, in a good way!The first thing to do is to review (or find out) what your firm’s ‘vision and mission’ is. This gives you an idea of their top-line goals.There should also be a business or strategic plan somewhere, and if you can get hold of a copy of this it will be very helpful. For example: - is the partnership planning to grow? How? (organically via biz dev, or by merger/acquisition) - are they planning to expand work in existing specialisms or move into new sectors?Even if you can’t get access to the firm-wide business plan, there might be one for your department / the wider department you fit into, which could give you some ideas of the bigger picture thinking.Once you know where they want to go – you can work out how you could help them get there.Apart from the obvious (eg; wish to move into new sector = opportunity to provide them with background research on that area), think through the goals and objectives and think about implications for information provision and management at the firm.For example, a lofty sounding goal about better client service, might translate in practical terms into a better client extranet, which might need a corporate taxonomy....Once you have some ideas of new and different services you could offer, which would directly help the firm / department achieve its objectives, then you need to put a business case together to seek resources (or even permission) to go ahead and implement them.
  • Of course, if the very idea of offering new and expanded services is impossible, because you are rushed off your feet trying to keep up with the research requests, then you need to think in terms of expanding the team!Persuading senior management you need to expand the team to do ‘library housekeeping’ work is likely to be an uphill struggle. However, if you do the lib housekeeping and only a part of the user research – then it will be an easier sell to explain why you need someone! (...I need to do the subscription invoices, etc, so I have the sources available to answer user enquiries, having done that I have xx time available to answer those enquiries. If I had an assistant to do the admin, I’d be able to answer more enquiries...)What is a business case?OGC suggests is should contain:“...information covering five key aspects: strategic fit, options appraisal, commercial aspects, affordability and achievability.”You therefore need to include and evaluate several options, not just your preferred solution (ie “hire me an assistant”) – these could include “do nothing (ie, you carry on doing it all)” or “outsource it” or “pay a market research firm to do it”, etc.The ‘achievability’ section needs to include key milestones, dependencies (eg with other projects or departments) and, cruicially, a risk analysis and risk management strategy – what are the possible risks of following your preferred / recommended option? What mitigating actions could be taken to reduce the risk?A core part of any business case is the ‘options appraisal’ – this needs to include a financial cost benefit analysis and also an appraisal of any ‘soft’ benefits that can’t be easily quantified. The costs could include ‘negative costs’ – ie if its the ‘do nothing’ option, what work isn’t being done (because you don’t have time) and what are the costs or lost opportunities of that to the firm?You should write in the assumptions you used to calculate costs or benefits into an appendix (eg, cost of your time, cost of an assistant’s time, cost of office space used, cost of online source subscriptions, etc, etc)
  • Which option you decide upon may depend upon more than the absolute net benefit – for example, although option 3 gives less benefit overall (2,650 instead of 5,600), it also costs less to set up (19,650 compared to 28,500) so if set up budget is limited Option 3 might be chosen instead – cheaper to set up and still gives some benefit over the current situation.
  • One of the key issues with being a solo is not having a team to bounce ideas off of or share successes (and frustrations) with.Another is the difficulty of keeping up to date with professional skills, when the firm is unlikely to have much internal training that’s relevant, and may not want to pay for formal external courses.CPD is the answer to both of these problems.There are numerous ways around the cost issue of conferences and seminars – Ask for attendance to be your training budget (assuming other teams in the firm have a training budget, so should you..)Offer to speak (speakers often get 1 day or even full-conference attendance free)Volunteer for a SIG committee and organise the event yourselfApply for a bursury – there are surprisingly a lot of these, where SIG’s sponsor one or two delegates to attend a conference (usually in exchange for writing a blog post or article about their experiences)SIG’s are very useful for CDP in other ways too.Writing articles for their journals gives you a good profile (useful when job hunting), as well as encouraging others to contact you as the ‘go to’ person on that topic – which extends your network of professional contacts you in turn can call on for help.Speaking at events – ditto re profile and even more so for extending your network. If the ‘talks’ you give are more like facilitated training sessions, that also gives you good experience you could use in a job later if you have an assistant or a team to manage – or even if you are doing KM work with users.Volunteering on committees – this can give you all kinds of experience you might not be getting at work – budget management, event organisation, minute taking, chairing meetings, AGM’s...
  • Before you start job hunting – before you think about updating your CV or scouring the job ads – the first thing to have is a clear understanding of what you’re offering.It’s tempting to start with what you want, what kind of org, what kind of job, what sort of salary/benefits/challenge/etcBut employer’s aren’t interested in that – and how can you tell, anyway, without knowing yourself inside out?Employer’s need to find out what you can do for them – how good a fit you’ll be in their team – and company culture – and how motivated you are to get the job done.Finding a new job is like playing a game – one where the people holding all the cards haven’t been too clear on what the rules are.To play the game well, you need to think of it like a jobs marketplace – you are ‘for sale’ and they are ‘buying’. The common language is the CV and interview.Your CV is your personal marketing brochure, and an interview is a sales pitch or presentation meeting.A marketing brochure needs to lay out what the features of the product are, and what benefits having it brings. Your CV needs to do the same – what skills do you have, and what achievements have you used those skills to create?At the sales pitch, the salesperson explains how those features and benefits will be tailored to suit the problem the customer has. At an interview, you need to explain how your skills and achievements will be used and tailored to suit the job role the employer needs filling.So – a skills analysis is a good first step. What are your key skills?
  • Now you know what your skills are, and you’ve thought through examples of ‘you in action’, you can start crafting your CV.Clarity of communication is the key thing.Communicating what the employer wants to know – do you have the skills they want for this job – do you know how to apply those skills in the same sort of situations as the ones they have?
  • Showing that you know how to apply those skills in the same sort of situations as the ones they have is the basis of competency interviewing.

Biall Solos - Career Development - September 2011 Biall Solos - Career Development - September 2011 Presentation Transcript

  • BIALL Solos
    Career Development
    Wednesday 28th September 2011
    Nicola Franklin
    The Library Career Centre
  • Two Paths
  • Career Development
    Finding a new role
    Skills analysis
    Key skills
    Job hunting
    Effective CV
    Layout
    Content
    Interview success
    Preparation
    Research
    Image
    In your current role
    Expanding the scope of your role
    Building a case to grow your team
    Involvement in CPD activities
    Conferences
    Seminars
    Write articles
    Group committees
  • In Your Current Role
    Expanding the Scope of your Role
    • Review firm and dept business objective
    • List possible user needs across the business
    • Who is responsible for Intranet, Internet, Archives, Corporate records, Know how (eg precedent databases), Knowledge transfer/learning?
  • In Your Current Role
    Building a Case to Grow your Team
    Core of Business Case =
    Costs - Benefits (cost savings or revenue generation)
     Net Gain
    What would be the net gain for the firm in having two (or more) in the library & information service?
  • In Your Current Role
    A Template for Cost Benefit Analysis
  • In Your Current Role
    Involvement in CDP Activities
    Learn from conference sessions
    Learn from other delegates - your extended team of colleagues
    Write up as blog posts / articles
    Gain experience as a speaker, presenter, facilitator
    Volunteer for SIG Committees – gain experience as Chair, Coordinator, Treasurer, Event organiser, etc
  • Finding a NewRole
    Skills Analysis
    List your skills
    Start with duties from JD
    • What tasks to complete each one?
    • Which skills used to carry out each task?
    Weed duplicates
    Consider strengths and enjoyment – rate each skill 1-5 on each aspect
    Total scores for each skill
    Top 10 = Your Key Skills
  • Finding a New RoleWriting an Effective CV
    Layout
    White space & balance
    Bullet points
    2 – 3 pages
    One font – variety of sizes
    Bold / size for accents (headings, job titles, key skills)
    Content
    Tailored
    Match language
    Change the order
    More detail on more relevant / recent skills & experience
    Profile
    Key skills
  • Finding a New Role
    Succeeding at Interview
    • Preparation
    • Research
    • Practice
    • Image
  • Nicola Franklin
    librarycareercentre@gmail.com
    Twitter @NicolaFranklin
    Questions?