Jump Start your Job Search

Looking for some help with your internship or fulltime job search? Student Services is happy to provide you a new online resource. Last fall TalentMark hosted a series of 9 Career Webinars on a variety of job search skills and strategies. We’ve purchased a link to these workshops for you to access.

Pick up the latest information on how to organize your job search, plan your career, build a network, develop killer resumes, create your own personal brand, and use Linkedin and Facebook to get a job!

Webinar topics are:

  • Career Ethics
  • Career Planning
  • Networking
  • Resumes
  • Facebook       
  • Linkedin
  • Personal Branding
  • Job Search  
  • Job Retention

Each webinar is about an hour long and packed with information and suggestions, so be sure have paper and pencil handy to capture those ideas. You can access the webinars at http://www.talentmarks.com/Fall_Presenters.aspx. We’ll also post a link on the Student Services career web pages at http://ischool.uw.edu/resources/career.

Guest Blog: Jen Waller (MLIS 2009) “All you want is an interview”

Jen Waller (MLIS 2009) shares the lessons she learned from her job search journey. While she was looking for a specific type of position as an academic librarian, many of the steps she took and the decisions she encountered are the same as any job seeker might face. The following is re-posted, with Jen’s permission, from her FaceBook page.


“All you want is an interview”

I was finally offered a job(!*), and I want to share my job-search experiences. What worked for me may not work for you, but – in the spirit of “more information is better”– I hope this helps you clarify how you’ll approach the job search.

I want to write a series of posts, but for now I’m just going to do a scattershot approach:

During my job search I didn’t post job-related content on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, or other social networking sites. The LIS community is small. I chose not to broadcast where I was interviewing, where I was traveling, etc. This was difficult, and you might choose differently. I will expound on this later.

Instead, I frequently chose to tell a few select people about my upcoming résumé submission, phone interview, in-person interview, offer, etc. I chose to tell certain (few) people because I was looking to them for advice; or maybe they could cheer me on or send good vibes. They may have been super close friends who I trust. Or maybe I needed a place to stay; or perhaps they knew the library director well and could make a phone call. In other words, I was picky about talking with people, and I used my contacts. This will be the topic of a future post, because I don’t think you can underestimate the power of networking. It’s how I got my job, actually.  I’m also extremely lucky – my contacts are my friends pretty much to a person. Do not underestimate the power of friends and contacts.

I wrote a different cover letter for every single job to which I applied. I’m guessing I applied for 120+ jobs. I will be posting cover letter samples here eventually, because I don’t think there are enough good examples out there.

I rarely (if ever) revised my CV based on the job description. I frequently revised my résumé based on the job description. There’s a difference between a CV and a résumé. You might want to consider having both (I will post both of mine eventually, and I will explain the differences, and I will admit what I did wrong).

I used a ton of resources for job ads. In addition to all the “usual suspects” (RSS feeds, Twitter, LIS job websites and listservs) I bookmarked library web sites where I particularly wanted to work. I dug deep. You’re (probably) a librarian. You know how to do this. So DO IT!  I’m guessing I checked 60+ resources daily. I will post more about this later too, along with a list of resources I used.

There are so many more tips I want to write about, but I think it’s super important to address the subject of this post – “First, get an interview.”

Really and truly, you want an interview. In fact, you want lots of them. People get hung up about details in the job description, so they end up saying (or thinking) things like:

“I don’t want to live in Mississippi.”
“I’ve never created instruction plan.”
“Catalogers aren’t interested in Reference, so I don’t want to be hired as a cataloging librarian.”
“I can’t live in a small town.”
“I don’t want to live in Mississippi.

We read job ads, and we react all knee-jerky. We decide why we won’t like the job. Or maybe we save the job ad to re-read and apply later. When we go back to the job ad we think, “That’s not really for me.”


Do NOT take yourself out of the running. (Trust me: you’ll have plenty of other people willing to do that for you). All you want is an interview. An interview doesn’t mean you’ll be offered the job; it just means you get an interview. An interview doesn’t mean you have to take the job even if it is offered to you; it just means you get an interview.

An interview gives you an opportunity to talk about what’s important to you. An interview gives you the opportunity to understand who you *might* work for. If absolutely nothing else, you get the opportunity to practice interviewing. And even that is worth a whole lot. What’s really cool? After enough interviews you become confident, self-assured, and they become FUN. Really!

Let me repeat myself yet again: An interview doesn’t mean you’ll get the job. But an interview gives you a better chance at getting the job. So all you want is an interview.

I’d love to hear any job-related questions you might have. I’ll answer them honestly, and I’ll do my best to answer them quickly.

*(Starting July 1, 2010, I will be the Academic Resident Librarian at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. YAY!)


Jen’scover letters can be found on her blog: 

SLinkSlam: Is Social Networking Good or Bad for Democracy? (Feb 24)

Can Facebook and Twitter make us better citizens? Is social networking effective as political involvement? How can social networks lead to social and political change in a digital era? Is sharing your opinion or making a donation the same thing as civic engagement?  To explore these questions and more, join a faculty panel and your peers at SLinkSlam for a forum on “Social Networking, Political Advocacy and Citizenship in a Digital Age.”

When: Wednesday, February 24, at 3:30pm
Where: SMI 120

Featured Faculty:
    Lance Bennett, Political Science & Communication,
    Kirsten Foot, Communication,
    Hanson Hosein, Master of Communication in Digital Media Program

SLinkSlam is a great opportunity to participate in discussion of a hot topic with faculty outside classroom. Bring your questions about social networking and political participation. And bring your friends–ALL ARE WELCOME to attend!  SLinkSlam is hosted by SLink, the Social Sciences Link, and supported by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Career: Social (Network) Butterflies

One of the growing resources in searching for a job is social networking. Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Plaxo and Jobster can all be used to augment your job search and help you network and indentify potential job and internship opportunities. These sites can also be used by recruiters to learn more about potential employees—even before you are invited to interview.

So, how do you make sure your online presence is working to your advantage and not harming your job search?

Create your online presence to showcase your skills and experience.  Your social network sites tell a story about you. Make sure that it is telling the story you want it to.

Load your profile with key words. This is particularly important on sites such as LinkedIn or for online resume postings. Some companies may search sites for potential recruits based on a set of predetermined words. If you are interested in position in usability or cataloguing, make sure that is clearly communicated in your profile.

Be consistent with the information you provide. The information you have on your resume should parallel the information you provide in your LinkedIn (or other social network site) profile.

Google (or Bing) your name to check what is online about you. A recent survey of executive recruiters found that 77% of the survey respondents run internet searches of job candidates; 35% of those recruiters indicated they eliminated a candidate based on what they found online (www.careerbuilder.com).

Check your privacy settings. Social networking sites have privacy settings that you control—use them! Limit those who see your photos, status updates and tweets.  Impressions of you might be being formed before you are even interviewed. Make sure that it is a positive impression.

Start your network now. Don’t wait until you are about to graduate. That may be too late. Be engaged and proactive in creating your online presence and in getting to know the professionals in your field.  Doing this in advance means you won’t have to scramble when you are actually ready to apply for a job or internship. Most likely, these contacts will help you identify a potential job opportunity.

Learn more.  There is a lot of information on the internet about using social networking for your job search.  In addition, the UW Career Center is hosting a workshop on using LinkedIn for your job search.

How to Use LinkedIn Effectively
Wednesday, December 9
4:30-5:30, SMI 304

Submitted by Wendie Phillips, Director of Student Services

How do you Web 2.0?

Last spring, Student Services surveyed the iSchool students to get an idea of what technologies you are using to access information. Around 25% of the iSchool student population responded to the survey.

What did we learn? Well, we learned that there are a lot of different preferences for how you like to receive information. Some are happy with email (but not too many), some want the opportunity to communicate between class cohorts, others would like pictures and more social updates, others want all the information on the web, and still others would prefer messages be no longer than 140 characters.

So, how do we make sense of this challenge? Since we realized it would be challenging to create one source to accommodate all those communication desires, we have identified four immediate ways we can enhance our communications with iSchool students.

Cohort listservs: We have created listservs for each class for each degree program, except the PhD program. These lists are not moderated, so more spam may get through than on the degree program lists. While Student Services and the iSchool’s primary mode of communication to you will be the degree listservs (iMajors, iMSIM, iMLIS, iPhDs), these class cohort listservs will allow you to communicate with a more targeted group.

Cohort listservs:

imajors2010 at uw dot edu (for Informatics majors projected to graduate in 2010)
imajors2011 at uw… (for Informatics majors projected to graduate in 2011)
imlis2010@ (you get the idea)

Emails: Most of our announcements and communications to students have traditionally been via email. In order to help you better identify the content of an individual email, Student Services is standardizing the subject line. The first word in the subject line will give you an idea to what the message pertains (i.e., registration, research, graduation, etc.). This is a bit of re-training on our end to do this, and it may take time before we are doing this consistently.

Student Services Blog: Many messages, like this one, are really too long for email. Also, we’d like to be able to store the content and tag it so that students could easily revisit the message. To help us do this, we’ve created a blog. The nice part about that the blog is open to anyone—you don’t need to have an account like you do for Twitter or Facebook to access it. You can access our blog at https://ischooloss.wordpress.com/.

We are just starting to populate it, and have some beginning of the year messages to get things rolling. In the coming weeks we will have introductions to the various student services staff members, potential guest updates from student organizations about some of their events, and on Thursdays, we will post a weekly update with career news—tips and suggestions to help you with your job or internship search.

Speaking of Twitter and Facebook, we are branching into the social networking areas and have created Student Services sites with both of these technologies.

Facebook Page: Primarily we are using this to augment our events announcements, share pictures and allow other students or student organizations to do the same. You can friend us at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Seattle-WA/Student-Services-University-of-Washington-Information-School/59833387909.

Twitter: We are still venturing into “tweet-land” and are trying to determine the best use for this technology. Right now, we will only be using it for update reminders. For a capstone project last year, one MSIM student looked at how Twitter could be used to streamline some of our email communications, and we will consider how this can work. You can sign up to follow us at http://twitter.com/uwioss

In addition to these initiatives, there are some other changes in the work by IT including a revamp of the academic web pages and new faculty profile pages that will give you more information on their research and courses they teach.

There are also changes happening to email and cloud computing service options at the UW level. Scott Barker recently sent a message outlining your options. We’ll post Scott’s message on our blog for your reference.