Thursday, 1st December 2011
Africa S. Hands
The art of job seeking transforms itself to keep pace with ever-changing technology, so what are the best techniques to use and places to go when looking for an LIS job? Africa S Hands gives us an insight into not only the resources to use but also how to plan job seeking activities to make the most of what is available.
The job outlook for librarians, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), is “favourable”, with employment “expected to grow by 8% between 2008 and 2018”. While the BLS report forecasts fewer opportunities in libraries due to the increase of electronic resources and the availability of remote access for patrons, librarians will be needed to manage staff, address complex reference questions, and acquire and build collections. Further, because of the research, analysis and technology skills of library and information science (LIS) professionals, companies welcome these workers, creating opportunities in non-traditional settings.
Where can one find career and job-related information specific to LIS professionals? A number of quality online resources are available. LibGig.com, LISjobnet.com, Jinfo and I Need a Library Job (INALJ) are sites with job postings; some offer extras like career resources and related articles and some extend beyond library jobs. Job seekers are encouraged to add all sites to their RSS feeds or create a Twitter list for these and other sites. LinkedIn LIS-related groups have become a daily destination for connecting with and obtaining practical advice from experienced professionals. Let’s see what each resource has to offer LIS job seekers.
This resource is maintained by staff of LAC Group, a staffing agency specialising in LIS positions. The jobs posted are those of LAC Group’s clients and those that employers post directly to the site. Potential employers range from universities to public libraries to private companies. In some cases, the employer information is confidential. Many entry level positions are listed but the bulk of positions are for middle and senior level professionals. As LAC Group has offices in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Denver, Chicago and Boston, many of the positions are concentrated in these cities. Few international jobs are posted.
Users may narrow their search by position, location and experience level. Also available are email alerts and RSS feeds based on specific search criteria. An RSS feed of the entire jobs list includes full job descriptions with links to application information. Postings may be emailed or shared via social media networks. Postings are also available on Twitter (@libgig_jobs) and via the email newsletter. Depending on the position, users are either directed to the LAC Group website, to additional application instructions from the employer (email or link to employer’s HR website), or may apply online directly through LibGig.com. When on the job description page on the LAC Group website, one can view the “Application Count” which is the number of applications submitted for that position.
The Blogs and Career Profiles tabs are less developed features of the site as neither has been updated in several years. The News section is a mix of articles from outside sources related to career development, workplace issues, the job market and technology issues. These resources are more generally related to all job seekers and career changers, not just LIS professionals. The News tab is not frequently updated serving more as a collection of articles. More useful features of the site are the LibGig Interviews found in a sidebar of the News tab and a sample resumé located in the Resumé Doctor section of the Career Q&A tab. Although the site’s supplemental resources relating specifically to LIS professionals are minimal, the large number of positions posted make it a valuable resource for job seekers.
As the recruiting website of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), this resource features LIS positions in the United Kingdom. A variety of sectors are covered including higher education, public and school libraries, government, and commercial and special libraries. Positions also are listed in the organisation’s magazine, CILIP Update with Gazette.
Feature jobs are noted on the homepage as well as popular job titles with links to any available positions falling under that title. If positions do not exist for a particular job title, users have the option to search the site using keywords, narrowing results by location and date of post (i.e. within the last day, week and month). Recent openings have been posted for head librarian, prison librarian, association information officer, cataloguer, and graduate trainee.
The Sectors section of the website provides additional information on the types of positions available within each sector and the organisations covered. For example, in the Not for Profit sector, users will find postings from charities, membership associations, foundations and think tanks. Also in the Sectors section is a link to salary guides found on the CILIP website.
Users may register for eAlerts, delivered as new positions are added to the website. The Jobs by Email service allows users to create custom alerts based on search criteria such as keywords, location and sector. Job postings can be emailed to others; however there is not a direct way to share postings via Twitter or LinkedIn.
Jobs in Information (Jinfo)
For even more UK LIS positions, head over to Jinfo (pronounced jin-fo) at www.jinfo.com. Part of the FreePint family, this resource lists events as well as positions related to the information field. The site is simple to navigate as there are separate sections for jobs and events accessible from the top menu bar.
Ranging from taxonomist to information specialist to database manager, most of the jobs posted are from recruiting agencies such as TFPL, Glen Recruitment, and Sue Hill Recruitment and Services Limited rather than directly from organisations, universities or private sector employers. On each job description page is a response form whereby users can apply online, sending a message and attachment to the recruiter.
Events listed on Jinfo include popular conferences such as KM World and specialised meetings like the International Conference on Grey Literature. Both UK and US events are listed as well as webinars.
The jobs Advanced Search sidebar prominently featured on each page allows keyword searching and filtering by sector (academic, corporate or public), country, UK region, salary, and duration (contract, permanent, temporary). When searching for events, users may limit search by location, type of event and audience (based on career level).
Jinfo job and event listings are available via RSS feeds and Twitter. Listings may be easily shared on a number of social media networks and platforms.
I Need a Library Job
I Need a Library Job (INALJ), is a daily email list and Facebook page co-founded by Naomi House and Elizabeth Leonard. The Facebook page serves as the main job board; postings are also listed on the Twitter feed (@needalibraryjob). The fan page and Twitter feed are engaging with House offering congratulations to those who have found employment – a nice touch for weary job seekers. Fans and followers have gathered for Meetups in Boston, Washington DC and Philadelphia.
INALJ has the most jobs postings of all the sites discussed, probably due to its volunteer contributors, including some international volunteers. Postings span the country and also the United Kingdom and Australia. Positions vary from bookmobile clerk to librarian to software product manager to director of prospect management. Those seeking non-traditional positions and positions utilising LIS skills in a non-traditional setting would do well to include this resource in their job search.
Join the club
With LinkedIn, users may follow companies, view recent hires, read company news and learn who in their network is connected to a company or its employees. LinkedIn Groups have become a daily destination for resources and opinion on wide-ranging, career-related topics. LIS Career Options, moderated by Kim Dority, is a group of job seekers and career changers, students, recruiters and practising LIS professionals. Discussion topics include: tips on writing cover letters, personal branding, alternative careers and information entrepreneurship, and negotiating job offers. Dority maintains an alphabetical list of discussion topics with live links to the topic’s discussion page on LinkedIn. Expand your network by connecting with group members. Based on the camaraderie within the group, members are undoubtedly sharing resources and exchanging emails offline. Try a keyword search in LinkedIn to discover other industry specific groups, or post an enquiry in one of your existing groups.
Other LIS-related groups on LinkedIn:
Meetings offer an opportunity to share resources and build face-to-face networks. LinkedIn Groups provide answers to important career questions and a forum to demonstrate knowledge and interest in the field. Setting up RSS feeds and Twitter lists of the above sites and Twitter lists will keep job seekers aware of current openings and alternatives in the field.
A supportive online community of fellow job seekers, career changers and allies awaits you. Library and information science job seekers take heart – the jobs are out there.
Jinfo: Jobs and Events in Information: http://www.jinfo.com/Enterprise content management: Another role for info pros: http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/find/4574Book review: The Information and Knowledge Professional’s Career Handbook: Define and create your success: http://www.fumsi.com/go/f25946Book review: Rethinking Information Work: A Career Guide for Librarians and Other Information Professionals: http://web.freepint.com/go/newsletter/233#bookshelf
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