This is the basic structure of this session.We have an hour and a half alloted, but you’ll be please to hear I’m not going to speak for that whole time! No, you are going to have to do some work too.I’m going to cover the areas listed here for the first 45 minutes or so, then we’ll have a few minutes for questions, and then there’ll be 35 minutes for us to work on drafting / improving some CVs – either your own, or some example ones I’ve brought along. We’ll then wrap up and aim to be finished by quarter to four.
Huge range! Information exists everywhere, needs to be managed, organised, found for people and disseminated everywhere – so information jobs exist everywhere.Hard copy collections of books, journals, grey literature, manuscripts, ephemera, etc, still exist – and will probably continue to do so for un-digitised, rare material, or for long-term preservation of key records and archives (since digital continuity is a problem still to be solved!).All jobs will involve use of technology however – even in ‘traditional archives’ – where electronic cataloguing will be joined by online and social media promotion and dissemination. There is also the issue of born digital archival material – blogs having replaced hand written diaries, electronic company records, web pages to be archived, and so on.Impossible to list all the many and varied job titles that exist today where you can use your professional information skills.Blurring of boundaries between ‘librarianship’ and ‘information management’, between ‘archivist’ and ‘records manager’ and between IM, RM and KM – largely driven by technologyBetter to think in terms of a bundle of skills and think about which ones you enjoy / would like to practice and which ones aren’t your forte or you’d rather keep to a minimum, then consider all and any jobs to see how much of your chosen skill set they would utilise. Ignore job titles – look at job content, goals and skills needed instead.Sue Donnelly from LSE archives, at the London Region ARA meeting on the 24th February, said she is looking for candidates who can show they are competent to appraise, arrange and describe records, and who are confident enough to ask if they aren’t sure She is also looking for good people skills, advocacy skills depositor skills, for graduates that are good with the public, people who can argue the point with internal staff but know the line between flexibles and absolutes, people who can handle the ups and downs of dealing with depositors
Here are a range of online and offline resourcesMake sure you spread your net as wide as possibleEven the big generalist job boards are worth checking (reed.co.uk, totaljobs, monster) – set up RSS feeds and alerts to collate all potentially relevant results in one place so you don’t have to go to a dozen separate sites every day / weekMake allowance for the (significant) amount of time it takes to make a good applicationFewer, better, applications are more likely to get results than dozens and dozens of scattergun ‘I’ll take any job I don’t care’ applications – it shows and employers can tell!
Before you start – analyse your skillsGood idea to prepare a skills matrix: what the skill is vs how you demonstrated it (ie, an example)Eg; communication – with a teamEg; influencing – got manager to agree to xEg; organising – a collection of grey literature & ephemeraThink about which of the skills you have are particularly relevant to the job you are applying for – these should stand out loud and clear from your CVOnce your CV’s written, give it to a friend and ask them to pick out your key skills from it. Compare these to the list you made of the skills needed for the job – do they match? If not, your CV needs some more work!!
Going back to that list of attributes that Sue Donnelley from LSE Archives was looking for – competent, confident, good people skills, advocacy skills, good with the public, can argue the point with internal staff, diplomatic skills to know when to be flexible and what is an absolute, and can handle the ‘ups and downs’ of dealing with depositors – how many of those 8 attributes jump of the page of your CV?Sue is focusing on content of your CV & what you should make sure you get across at interview – but even if you have the right content on there you need to make sure that it gets read. To do that you need to also consider layout / design of your CV.(run through the tips on the screen) Talk about how many CVs to have (tailored to each job ideally / each type of job as a minimum)
Old adage – Fail to prepare = prepare to fail!! Very true – take time to do thorough preparation.Preparation doesn’t mean a quick read of their job description and checking out their websitePreparation means reviewing the JD and person spec in detail – working out what the key goals are of the post, the main responsibilities, the skills they are expecting someone to have to be able to do the job, and mapping these to your experiences and your skills, and coming up with good examples of where you can demonstrate you’ve used those skills or achieved those (or similar) outcomes – how did you do it? Use the STAR principle in preparing examples:SituationTaskActionResultMake sure you prepare a load of questions to ask – if you’re interested in the job and want to imagine yourself actually doing it, lots of questions will spring to mind (as there’s no way to fully depict the job, culture, organisation etc in a 1-2 page job description…). Having questions shows you are enthusiastic much, much better than saying ‘yes I want the job’Research the company or organisation – What do they do? Why? Who else does similar things (competitors)? What does their culture seem to be? Why would you want to work there? Use various sources, not just the firm’s own website – look for news stories about them, blogs that mention them, customer review sites, etc.Make sure you have intelligent questions to ask about them – eg “I noticed xxx on your website, can you tell me more about how you do that?”, “what would a typical day entail here?”.Practice your answers – out loud; actually speaking answers is surprisingly different to ‘thinking them through’ in your head.Rope in a friend, give them a list of probable/possible questions you might be asked, and do a mock interview with them. Get them to do whatever makes you really nervous at interviews (glaring, sitting in silence letting you ramble on, etc)!Image is important – the way you look and dress and your body language and tone of voice do all make an impression on the people you meet.Always dress up for an interview, even if the daily dress where you’re going is jeans and tee-shirt!Always be well groomed – wash and style hair, clean and tidy nails, polish shoes, understated tie/jewelry, subtle scent.Use body language to show you are engaged, enthusiastic and full of energy – sit upright or lean slightly forward, smile (SMILE!), be animated (use your hands to gesture if that’s natural to you). Again, saying ‘I’m very enthusiastic’ won’t work very well if your body language has been showing you are bored out of your mind!Remember, there’s no point saying “I’m really outgoing / confident / good communicator / concise / etc” – if you are busy disproving yourself by your manner in the interview!
There are three anonymous example CVs here, from people at different stages of their career in archives or records work – so you could either take one of those to work with or (if you are feeling brave and would value the input of your peers) you could work on one or more of the CVs of people at your table.To start with concentrate solely on the layout could be improved. Remember, you are aiming for clarity, key skills being prominent, white space, bullet points, brevity.In 15 minutes I’ll call time and we’ll swop to thinking about the content. ...OK, now (either with the same CV or with a different one if you prefer) – firstly imagine a type of archive position / organisation. Secondly think about how the language, jargon, style and content of the CV could be improved to better match the role you came up with.
ARA New Professionals Career Workshop August 2011
Careers Workshop<br />ARA Section for New Professionals<br />Nicola Franklin<br />The Library Career Centre<br />Twitter: @NicolaFranklin<br />
Practical CV Workshop<br />First 15 minutes – take an example CV and discuss how the layout could be improved<br />Second 15 minutes – pick a type of archives job / environment and talk about how the content could be changed to work better for that sort of role<br />