Pitch For Your Niche TLA 2011

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A panel discussion sponsored by Beta Phi Mu Honor Society (Librarians)

A panel discussion sponsored by Beta Phi Mu Honor Society (Librarians)

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  • Dress up for the interview. It doesn’t have to be new or fancy, but look professional as if you made an effort. I don’t even mind if you come in clothes you wear to teach. But no tank tops, shorts and flip flops please.Be on time. If you get lost, call. We’ll be happy to give you directions.Shake hands firmly. (Not limply, or try to crush my hands. I’ve had shoulder surgery and if you have too hard a grip, I’ll be in excruciating pain. Think of the impression it will make if everytime I see you I remember pain.Smile and call the interviewer by name.Bring your resume.Share your portfolio if it is strong. Please, no graded MLS assignments.
  • Use the interviewer’s formal title unless directed otherwise. Not Jane, Mrs. Smith. Not Mrs. Smith if Dr. Smith.Refrain from over sharing personal information. I have no clue why people say these things in interviews, but I have actually heard about a messy divorce and too many bad principals to count.Ask the philosophy of the library program.Be able to articulate how you can carry out this vision.Remain calm and professional. Even if you are desperate, don’t beg or cry (I’ve see both).Save a couple of questions for the end. (A couple is 2 or 3. I had one candidate ask 19.)
  • Research the district and campus if you know which campuses have openings.Anticipate questions in advance. Practice!Provide specific implementation ideas. General ideas don’t show your depth of knowledge. Keep examples pertinent to the situation. If you are applying for an elementary job, don’t focus on your previous middle school job.Share how you will collaborate for meaningful instruction. Show how you can foster 21st century readers and learners.Show how you can foster technology in the library.
  • Share experience with my own bad interviews.Share experience with bad screening interview.Share positive tip – Mr. Jones’s compliment. “The thing that impressed me the most is when you dropped the principal to go help a student.”


  • 1. Pitch for Your Niche
    Cultivating a Professional Image in the Information Age: A Panel Discussion
    Cathy Hartman
    Academic Libraries
    Donna Kearley
    School Libraries
    Toni Lambert
    Public Libraries
    Valerie HillSpecial Libraries
    Kris Helge &
    Julie Leuzinger
    Beta Phi Mu
    TLA Austin
    April 15, 2011
  • 2. Academic Libraries
    Job Seeking: the pitch, from beginning to end
    Cathy N. Hartman
    Associate Dean
    University of North Texas Libraries
  • 3. Academic Libraries: Applying
    The position advertisement – Match?
    The application
    In the cover letter:
    Compare qualifications with job requirements
    Note qualifications that make you a good match
    Edit, edit, edit
    Indicate your strong interest in THIS position
    Vita: well organized, not too wordy, length appropriate to experience
    Hoops: forms, process, following instructions
  • 4. Academic Libraries: Interviewing
    Telephone, then Onsite Interview
    Read everything on the website –
    Mission, vision, strategic plan (library and univ.)
    Key personnel – names, their career activities
    Search committee
    Note questions you may have
    Be familiar with the current literature for the position (digital libraries, public services, etc.)
    Prepare for standard questions
  • 5. Academic Libraries: Interviewing (cont.)
    Telephone interview:
    Important! Determines if you stay in applicant pool!
    Find a quiet location, good land line
    Focus and ask for clarification if needed
    Expect questions to focus in area of position requirements and your experience
    Have your questions ready
  • 6. Academic Libraries: In-Person Interview
    Good match: for them, for you?
    Remember phone interview, indication of what is important
    More questions
    Presentation: prepare, practice
    Meeting with administrators
    Faculty status? Evaluation process? Promotion opportunities?
    Full day or longer
  • 7. Academic Libraries: Post Interview
    Send note of thanks to chair of search committee NEXT DAY, then WAIT!!!!
    Offer – initially offered verbally, then in writing
    Negotiate salary, benefits
    Academic rank, if faculty status
    Start date
    Saying “no, thank you”
    No Offer – accept graciously
  • 8. School Libraries
    Donna Kearley
    Coordinator of Library Services
    Denton I.S.D.
  • 9. School Libraries
    How you lay the groundwork counts.
  • 10. School Libraries
    What you do counts.
  • 11. School Libraries
    What you say counts.
  • 12. School Libraries
    What you know counts.
  • 13. School Libraries
    Shake hands.
    Smile and call the interviewer by name.
    Bring your resume.
    Share your portfolio if it’s strong.
  • 14. School Libraries
    If an interview goes wrong…
    Smile, share your passion for kids and libraries and good things will happen if you’re a good match for the job.
    Thank you to Leigh Ann Jones, Frisco ISD Library Coordinator for sharing her tips.
  • 15. Public Libraries
    Toni Lambert
    Assistant Director of Public Services
    Austin Public Library
    512- 974-7466
  • 16. Getting an Interview
    Cover Letters
    Online Image
    Professional Contacts
    The Application
    Screening Questions
  • 17. Interviewing for a Public Library Position
    Visit the library’s website
    Do your homework
    Read the library’s strategic plan
    Prepare for the interview
    What about telephone interviews?
  • 18. Public Library Professional Positions
    Youth Services Positions
    Reference Positions
    Management Positions
    Technical Services Positions
    Archival Positions
    IT Positions – Virtual Librarians
  • 19. Do You Have What We’re Looking For?
    Relevant Experience
    Technology Skills
    Leadership Skills
    Communication Skills
    Commitment to Excellent Customer Service
    Passion for the Public Library Mission
  • 20. Special Libraries
    Valerie Hill
    Lewisville ISD
    TWU University
    Doctoral Candidate
  • 21. Special libraries come in all formats.
    Exploring new media formats
    Embracing technology trends
    Balancing tradition with emerging information modes
    All libraries are changing
  • 22. Embracing technology trends
    Digital resources
  • 23. Exploring new trends in information delivery
    User-generated content
    Augmented reality
    Virtual worlds
  • 24. Exploring new media
    Social media
    Social networking
    Web 2.0 (blogs, wikis, RSS)
  • 25. Balancing tradition with emerging information modes
    Knowing the community
    Personal learning networks (PLN’s)
  • 26. Virtual Texas: an exhibit by TLA SL Community Group
  • 27. The Library and the Librarian
    “It may be that the great age of libraries is waning, but I am here to tell you that the great age of librarians is just beginning. It’s up to you to decide if you want to be a part of it.”
    ~T. Scott Plutchak
    Kris Helge
    Public Services Librarian
    Texas Wesleyan University School of Law
  • 29. Some interviewers will read your body language.
    Consider all nuances of the position.
    How long is the commute?
    E.g. “I will probably just take the bus.”
    Have you discussed this with your significant others?
    What skills are required (e.g. managing a website)?
    Be honest with yourself about these required skills
    Plan Ahead
  • 30. Plan and select an appropriate attire.
    Double check yourself!
    E.g. Sock boy
    Be prompt.
    Use appropriate interviewing vernacular.
    Do not be afraid of selling yourself, but do not be arrogant.
    Hone your overall interviewing techniques… keep it simple but profound.
  • 31. Research the company.
    Ask questions.
    Where do you see yourself in twenty years?
    Give simple, common sense responses.
    E.g. “I want to be doing the same thing I am now.”
    Think realistically about interviewer questions
  • 32. Facebook
    E.g. Subway sandwich lady…
    Clean up your electronic dossier!
    Julie Leuzinger
    Reference & GLA Coordinator
    University of North Texas Libraries
    Why a Resume is not Enough
  • 34. Five Reasons for Sending a Cover Letter with your Resume
    You’ll increase your chances of grabbing the employer’s attention.
    Your letter can highlight aspects of your resume.
    It gives you a chance to start what could be the best conversation of your career.
    Your letter is probably your first opportunity to make a personable impression.
    You can directly ask for a job interview (Ireland, 48).
  • 35. Catch an Interview with Your Cover Letter
    “Casting the Line.” (Who is the hiring manager?)
    “The Hook.” (Get the reader’s attention.)
    “The Line.” (The sales pitch.)
    “The Sinker.” (Close the deal.)
  • 36. Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts
    ~Mention how you heard ~Forget to run spell check
    about the position
    ~Mention the title of the position ~Use “canned” phrases
    ~Include the job number ~Forget to sign your letter
    ~Use action verbs ~Repeat your resume
    ~Request an interview ~Use negative language
    ~Answer the employer’s question: ~Use a generic letter
    “Why should I hire you?”
  • 37. References
    Ireland, Susan. 1997. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Cover
    Letter. New York: Alpha Books.
    Plutchak, T. Scott. 2007. The Librarian: Fantastic Adventures in the Digital World. Serials, 20(2), 87-91.