I am excited to have the opportunity to attend NYLA’s Annual Conference tomorrow in Saratoga Springs. In addition to learning about the latest news, trends and innovation in the library world, conferences provide excellent opportunities to network with professionals and potential employers. Since attending the i-school at Syracuse University, I have been bombarded with information for career networking and tips on how to make myself an attractive candidate to land that first dream job. Here is the advice which stood out to me and I think is important to any graduate student:
- Attend Conferences: In addition to learning about the latest issues, professional development and having fun, conferences provide excellent opportunities to meet new people and extend your professional network! Not only can you get your name and face out there, but you could potentially court a future internship or first employer.
- Have a plan!I know this is common sense, but a having a long term goal is important in determining short term goals and therefore what you do now! What is your dream job and what do you want to achieve in 2 years, 5 years and 10 years from now. By knowing exactly what you want to achieve, you can focus on what’s relevant to achieving that dream and, hopefully, avoid activities which waste time. Also, don’t be afraid to be flexible with your plans as you are exposed to new opportunities and knowledge which peak your interest in the library world which. After all, this is an increasingly innovative field!
- Updated and Clean Resume: Does your resume say hire me or does it have silly typos? Can you be more specific, add numbers or give it a cleaner look? What types of experience (internships) do you need on your resume for that job? Don’t be afraid to have your resume looked over by multiple people such as the career services on campus or at your library, your parents and even friends! We all know the resume is essential in getting that dream job, so work on it and give it lots of love!
- Utilize Social Media:Create a professional-brand on the internet The internet and social media allows us students to bypass the traditional system and get ourselves directly out there in the virtual world! More importantly, recruiters are increasingly utilizing the internet as a source for finding talent and employers often do a google search on potential employees. It is important, especially in an increasingly competitive job market, to be aware and control what they see in that google search. So what should you do?
- Google+ profile- If you have a google+ profile, it is guaranteed to come up as the first result first whenever you are googled. Therefore, it is to your advantage to have a great professional profile with your resume. In addition, google profile can also allow your personality to come through which is harder to get across on linkedin.
- Linkiden! Linkedin is a professional social networking site which allows you to connect with fellow professionals and professional associations, post your resume and skill set. In order to get your linkedin account to show in the top ten google results, you must be active! This means at least posting to a group or extending you network at least once every week! Dr. Woody has a great article for why you need Linkedin: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2011/10/31/why-should-have-linkedin-profile
- Twitter- Twitter is a great way to get your ideas and thoughts out in the internet, and it forces you to be concise! In addition, it allows you to follow people whom you admire, leaders in the field and colleagues. You can follow what leaders and innovators in the field are reading and thinking right now, the stuff which usually does not make it in traditional published materials.
- Blog-Blogging is a great way to communicate thoughts and ideas and showcase your writing skills to potential employers. Not only that, but if you having a following in the digital world, it can bolster your ranking as a candidate to employers.
- Avoid Facebool- Not that I have anything bad on or against facebook, but I view it my facebook as a way to connect with my friend, a virtual place to relax and be silly. I don’t want to develop it into a professional medium and have to worry about what employers see or how they will view what my friends post on my page.
- Portfolio- A portfolio showcases to potential employers your work and what you are capable of. Traditionally, it was a physical binder with examples of your work to be submitted before or after interviews. Thankfully, the internet now allows us to put our work directly out there to attract potential employers. For students, you can showcase assignments from classes which demonstrate some kind of skill. One can put this portfolio on a website, such as attaching it to a blog.
I hope you find these professional development tips useful! Good luck in your job searching and conference adventures!
Works Cited Hurst-Wahl, Jill. (2011, October 10). About Portfolios. Podcast retrieved from Syracuse University Blackboard.