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The first step in any new job hunt or career change is to freshen up or create a new resume. Here are proven tips from Jenny Foss to make your resume stand out for that next interview.

Skills and Value

Highlighting your unique skills and the value you bring the company is the first step in creating a resume. Use a resume template that is easy to read and uses all the real estate on the page.  That said, make sure your resume is no more than two pages in length. Be sure to use an 11 or 12 size font for easy reading by the reviewer. Only include “technology proficiencies” if you can fit it easily on the second page.

Depending on your industry, it is usually understood that the average applicant is knowledgeable in Microsoft applications, etc. However, if you are a whiz with WordPress then absolutely include this in your “Skills Section.” Your value and job skills need to be near the beginning of your first page and highlighted.

Employment Gaps

With the recent pandemic, many job seekers will have gaps in employment for various reasons. Handling gaps depends upon your specific situation, such as childcare, relocation for a spouse, or being laid off. Explaining the gap depends upon the amount of time that has elapsed, the industry, and if you’re changing careers. There are many ways to address gaps on a resume. Be prepared to tell your story at the interview in a succinct manner.

Grammar and Organization

Finally, proofread your resume very carefully. Have another person review and proofread for typos and continuity. A recent poll on LinkedIn stated that hiring managers felt that zero mistakes or typos should appear on resumes. Be sure your organization follows the template so the most prominent skills in the job description match the skills on your resume. Don’t lie. Rather, match words that will help the resume scanning software place you in the “A” pile to interview.

Review the job description carefully and be sure to tailor your resume for each job. The ATS or applicant tracking system will thank you, and you will land that coveted interview. Include the keywords that are used in the job posting on your resume for best results.

Finally, save your resume as a PDF and word document.  Different companies use different formatting when resumes are submitted online. Always double check your download before you click submit for the cleanest and most reader-friendly resume.   Good Luck!

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Goalsetting for Your Career

Goalsetting is a useful tool to guide your career in any industry, especially in libraries. Read on for tools to help in setting goals and developing your career plan for future growth. With work- place cultures changing due to COVID, realigning your goals now might be right for you.

Gap Analysis

A standard gap analysis determines your current status, and where you’d like to end up. The gap or what’s missing is in the middle. Does this gap need to be filled with education, another job, increased salary, or a new geographic asset? Only you can determine what is the most important factor and how to obtain your goal. Having your plan benchmarked with SMART goals and establishing a plan to close gaps will get you there. Smaller goals should build upon one another to fill the gaps and ultimately help you achieve your main career objective.


Finding a trusted mentor you can rely on will help in your career plan. Finding more than one will help even more, especially if a few are outside of your industry. Jobs and careers are made with relationships and connections. Networking and finding mentors might be a little more difficult with more industries working remotely. However, volunteering for service events, attending conferences, and adding value in your current job, position you as a leader. Mentors are drawn to natural leaders, so just ask if you feel a connection with a colleague. The more genuine connections you make with people, the more likely you will find someone to help you.

Use LinkedIn

Finally, use LinkedIn and use it a lot. If your partner’s career dictates your geographic location and possibly your career goals now, then pivot. What I mean is, what smaller achievements can you accomplish which will help you get toward that larger career goal. Think about teaching, volunteering, or shadowing someone in your desired industry or job. Anything to make yourself more valuable to a future employer will help you in the long run. To overcome a geographic obstacle be sure to link with colleagues in your desired location. You never know what opportunities might open or when you might make a physical move.

Having a career plan is a way to keep your goals on track, yet flexible for life. Especially with the pandemic having families rethink priorities, having a career plan in place will make you feel more in control of your future. Best of luck!

career Library Leadership

Library Metrics

If your library runs on a fiscal year, June through July, have you prepared your annual report? What library metrics should you provide the Board?  Read on for tips to create an informative report full of the most impactful information.

Digital Checkouts

With the pandemic, digital checkouts have surged in libraries across the country. Provide your stakeholders statistics on eBook, DVD and music downloads. These items along with magazines are the four most popular circulating digital items. Don’t forget to add the new vendors from 2020 or other anomalies to explain large data swings.

Door Count

The number of people coming through the doors has decreased due to the public health situation. Including this number is totally up to you, but it might not be pretty. You could include new partnerships or other outreach metrics in place of the door count. Safe to say, physical visits to the library might never recover if we need to live with Covid long term.

As a leader, you need to begin to get creative about bringing folks back in. Will large public events or annual festivals drive library traffic post pandemic?  Each community is different and finding the sweet spot for public engagement is your job as library director.


What new vendors did the library add or delete?  Please include all the collections to provide an accurate overview of your library’s offerings and impact on the community. I’ve worked in library where DVDs were the number one circulating item. Other libraries had a large children’s picture book collection that drove the checkouts due to higher family populations. Tailor the report and metrics to highlight the collections’ strengths while acknowledging possible gaps.


Programming will be your library’s time to shine. Despite closures, virtual programming has taken off at most libraries nationwide and globally. Edit a bit from a virtual storytime to present during the Board meeting and share how the library was successful.

Be sure to collect data regarding re-shares along with audience size in the initial posting.  Keep a digital archive of the library programs to improve next year. Consider regular promotions of  library programs on social media platforms to reach your potential audience. This will drive customers to the building too.


If you have a choice of format, I’d recommend a simple infographic. Keeping the library information to one page will keep it simple, easy to read, and easy to explain.  Finally, a variety of pictures and statistics also keeps the eye interested and readers engaged.

However, whatever format you choose, keep the report relatable to the average person by avoiding library jargon (like “circs.”) Be sure to have fun reviewing your year. You are the best person to tell the library’s story and advocate in the community. Best of luck!

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Increasing Morale

With employee engagement estimated to be at all time low, meaning only 15% of employees worldwide feel engaged at work, increasing your team’s morale and involvement is so important to keep moving forward on a positive path for 2022. Here are a few tired and true methods to get your team’s mood lifted and fun happening to increase productivity and happiness.

Celebrate Everything

Whether it is monthly birthdays, new babies, graduations, or promotions, celebrating events builds connections and strong bonds with your team. Furthermore, increasing these relationships and building trust with leadership is the first step to increasing morale in work teams.

Not only does celebrating at work recognize people, but you will also learn more about employees’ likes, family life, and hobbies. Furthermore, building strong, trusting relationships is vital to a healthy work culture. Finally, increasing employee engagement is important in creating those foundational leadership steps with your team.

Dress Days

Even with remote work, dressing up with a certain theme in mind or in special attire can have such a positive impact.   Morale will increase and conversations will start with your colleagues about your attire. Think about establishing an entire week, Monday through Friday, as special dress up days. Name the week, “Spirit Week” or Wacky Week of Dress Up.”

Whatever gets employees geared up for fun! For example: sports teams on Monday, crazy socks on Tuesday, or your favorite TV or movie themes on Wednesday. You get the idea. Get creative and have some fun.

Finally, make every day in the office a celebration! You should consider hosting a week of special lunches with activities tied into your theme. You need to think about virtual work arounds if everyone is not together in the office. Your creativity is the limit!

Host a Staff Day

As discussed in January’s post, host a special day (or even a half day) devoted to professional development. Bring in free speakers from the surrounding community library or from other departments to speak.The topics should be chosen to make an impact on your staff. You need to think about pending health, safety, or new library policies to be introduced.

Consider introducing new technology, especially in our virtual world. This would be a great start, to then follow up with smaller trainings. Your team needs your leadership to be more involved and excited about work. Conduct a survey and understand what people want to learn before planning the day

You will discover a lot about your team, and they will thank you for creating the tradition of a designated Staff Day. For more career tips follow me at

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Keys to Success

Are you stuck and just can’t seem to reach your goals? Do you feel overwhelmed and can’t move forward? Here are a few proven keys to success to reach your potential and goals. Let’s do this.  Life’s too short not to be all you can be!

See the Successful Moment

Research has proven that visualizing your success in your mind’s eye is key to getting there. What I’m talking about it is keeping your focus on the task or objectives to achieve to your goal. Just like the sprinter or skier can “see” themselves winning the race, you can too. Think about the steps needed to reach a successful goal and see yourself reaching it. It’s really that easy.

Keeping Emotions in Check

Another key to visualizing success is to keep your emotions in check. Just like overconfident athletes or celebrities have done, don’t celebrate BEFORE your win. Keeping a cool, calm head during a situation is the best path for a successful outcome.

Keeping your focus and a calm demeanor will take you much farther toward achieving your goals. It also keeps you resilient if things don’t go your way.  Finally, if I could only offer two tips, it would be focus and regulating your emotions for effective performance.


In addition, finding a trusted mentor along the way for support is also important. Having feedback from another expert in your field or sport is very valuable for implementation and achievement. The integrity of your mentor and the relationship you have with them is also very valuable.

Be leery of people wanting to get too close to you too soon. You will know the right mentor and find a common connection easily. Your conversations should be natural, and there should be “give and take” for a mutually beneficially mentorship.

Find an Outlet

Just like star athletes need down time, so do you! Don’t allow work or other professional interests to rule your life. You need balance. Finding an outlet to relieve stress from your day-to-day work or training is very important. For example, a pet, a hobby, or other passion project will provide necessary balance in your life. Balance allows your mind freedom to wonder and “take a break” to rest up for the next challenge.

Using these techniques to visualize and achieve your goals is not easy. However, practiced every day, it’s very doable! Follow me for  more career and lifestyle advice at:

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Library Budgets

Why a budget article in June when the budget is most likely done for the fiscal year?  I want you to think about all the changes and budget shifts likely to come in the next six months. Covid is still present. Therefore, library budgets must be constantly prioritized. Here are some strategies to consider for your next budget process.


Pre-pandemic foot traffic has not come back to libraries. In-person programs are still unsafe in some communities. A library leader must be thinking about utilizing their staff more efficiently, since libraries are in-person services.

You might ramp up virtual storytimes or teen programs. Consider reducing public hours to consolidate your labor budget. The minimum wage has increased in many states, so a shrinking budget is a reality. Get creative to have staff cross train and don’t rehire for vacant positions.

Collection Budget

With Ebooks and streaming movies exploding in use last year, increase your digital collection budget. This means you will most likely need to reduce your physical collection budget. This is a decision not taken lightly, due to access of computers, reading needs, and the demographics of your community. Think this through carefully.

However, taking small steps to increase digital offerings will increase your library team’s efficiency and safety. Ask other like-sized library systems their recommendation to get a feel for what your customers really want and need moving forward.

Rethink Equipment Needs

With the decrease in foot traffic, can replacement equipment be put on hold? Does the automatic sorter really need to be replaced or can it hold out another year or two? Put on your negotiator’s hat and work with your vendor to devise a budget that works for you.

In addition to equipment, think about scaling back on physical book supplies for mending and cataloging. Does the library have an outreach and events team with a budget? Economizing in every area will go a long way to balance the budget for the future.

Extending Library Services

Hear me out on this one. Libraries are unique and every community is little bit different. You need to consider internal partnerships that can share library staff (and salaries) and benefit your town.

This could be homeless services, mobile literacy services or senior care needs. Get creative to devise a plan that will utilize your library and staff and extend the library into the community.

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Library Partnerships

Entering the third year of the pandemic, no one saw the library industry changes coming. With in-person programs and events still uncertain, how do library partnerships evolve?  Read on for tips your team can use to thrive with change. During and after Covid, libraries will need to bounce back and be relevant with programs more than ever before.

Virtual meetings

As the pandemic drags on, your library should be in regular contact with your community partners. Zoom and Teams should be your best friend, to connect with leaders and your stakeholders. School Districts, Civic and other organizations have varying levels of safety protocols. Always error on the side of caution and meet up virtually with your partners.

Keep in touch with mutual goals, benchmarks, or patron data that might need analyzing. “Back to normal” might never happen, so keeping abreast of your partners’ new goals and interests is key right now.

Attend annual events safely

If the virus is not a threat in your community and you can safety attend in-person annual events, do it!  Nothing takes the place of “face time” and meeting with your partners. This also applies to new partners your library was cultivating before the pandemic.

Keeping the pipeline full of potential new partners with similar community goals is vital especially now. Think beyond your normal partnerships and look at new bonds you can form.  Is there a new literacy organization or an arm from the American Rescue Plan that would work with your library’s strategic plan? Now is the time to get creative and seek these groups out.

Seek Out New Partners

Like pre-pandemic, your team will still need to reach out and connect with new schools, faith-based organizations, and other partners. With the building quieter and less foot traffic, meet with internal departments in your city or university to find common ground.

Does the city need a new recreation space or social service? This might be the lifeline the library needs to provide a needed service for the community. Libraries are now providing onsite Covid testing and take-home tests. Don’t leave anything off the table if your library can support a needed service now.

Getting a jump start on new partnerships and maintaining current ones should be library leadership’s priority. It’s never too late to have alternative plans ready if your senior leadership needs the library to expand services. Be ready and be prepared, especially during this time of post pandemic usage.

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Strategic Plans

SWOT analysis was covered in a previous post as the first step in creating strategic plans. If you are new to library planning or directorship, read on for simple tips to get started in strategic planning.

Six Components of a Strategic Plan

The six components needed for a robust library strategic plan are:

  1. A Vision Statement – usually taken from your organization, university, or city
  2. Core Values – your organization adheres too and embodies for your community
  3. Culture and Behaviors – need to be intertwined in the plan from the overarching values
  4. Themes from Data – need to be addressed from focus groups and surveys
  5. Timeframe Established – with deadlines to gauge results and outcomes of the plan
  6. Metrics – to provide feedback and business results for the effectiveness of the plan

Gain Support

Gaining the support of Human Resources and senior leadership is so important. This will enable your library to further explain the “why” behind the strategic plan. Your library will gain valuable partnerships. Furthermore, your success will determine having the backing of HR and your staff to see your vision behind the objectives. You need to start a year in advance with informational meetings with managers and partners involved.


The Library Friends, Board and managers need to have all the information and the projected timeline for the plan. Again, you need to gain support before you invite focus groups or engage with the SWOT analysis for staff.

Your first job is to engage your senior leadership, so they understand the importance of your intended road map. Having an objective for EDI, professional development, community goals is important.

Data Mining

After gaining support and hosting focus groups and surveys, you need to develop a committee to mine the data. You will gain valuable knowledge about needs, wants and goals for your plan. Next, develop objectives, timelines, and metrics for the plan objectives. Taking the necessary time to dig into the weeds is important. Data will be different depending upon the goal and result.

However, don’t let personal interests or “sacred cows” drive the strategic plan. Your leadership is most important here, to establish measurable outcomes that impact your community.

Follow Up and Feedback

Finally, after your strategic plan is approved, you need to implement and measure the results. These last steps are as important as the planning stages. You need to measure your objectives.

Questions to consider:

  • How did new software impact our customers?
  • Was the extra expense in personnel provide improved (and improved) access?  Measure it.
  • What was the outcome of the increased Wi-Fi in the building? Include raw data and narratives.

Again, feedback and results will need to be analyzed for success and moving forward. A strategic plan, especially during Covid, is a fluid document. Remaining flexible is my best advice.

Furthermore, a Library Director needs to have the vision and leadership to handle anything. A strategic plan gives you that roadmap to help lead and plan for the future. Best of luck!

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SWOT Analysis


S.W.O.T. Analysis in business is an important road map to keep an organization on track to achieve goals. What about nonprofits, like libraries, how do you create a simple S.W.O.T. analysis to help plan? Read on for a framework and effective ideas to get you started.

S.W.O.T. Analysis Provide Gaps

The first step in any project or plan is determining the gaps in where you need to go versus where you are now. Simply stated, performing a gap or S.W.O.T. analysis will help determine the course of your plan. Questions to ask your leadership team are:

  1. What are long term goals needed to achieve?
  2. How will the organization get to the results?
  3. What are the strengths of the organization?
  4. What are the threats to achieving those goals?

Furthermore, these simple questions, asked of your senior managers, stakeholders, and community partners will set the stage for the next step. Interviews and focus groups also help facilitate healthy conversation and generate new ideas from many areas.

Analyze the Feedback

Take the data from your analysis and mine for common themes. Data, along with the feedback from those involved in the plan will form the framework. Having a few key stakeholders or small committee that can enact the plan, should be the data miners.

In addition, these folks know the limitations of the organization and the resources available. Gain political support, if resources are tight. This helps you determine a draft plan to help with potential initiatives and outcomes.  However, no idea is out of the question, so get creative using the feedback.

Write it Down

When the direction of the analysis is determined, then mangers need to decide on objectives and strategies to create a map for the results. Sometimes this looks like a laundry list of items to check off.

And other times, the plan is inspirational and carries work culture themes, morale and development goals. The beauty of a SWOT analysis is that no one, is the same. You determine the course along with your stakeholders.

I’ve worked for libraries and businesses with 32-page plans and others with 2 pages of step-by step-needs. There is no perfect length or format.

Create Deadlines

Finally, the results need to have a timeline. Even inspirational plans will have objectives to meet the goal of increasing morale. For example, by December 2022 the team will have published and approved a “Culture Code” of respectful behaviors for our customers and colleagues. However, defined deadlines and goals are more likely to be achieved if people are held accountable.

Finally, it’s up to you as a leader to determine what needs to happen and what will work for your organization. Start the year off right and start formulating a strategic plan  from your SWOT analysis for your work group. Look for the next published article for more details on an effective library strategic plan.

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Library Schedules

If you are new to managing employees or unsure how to handle your team’s schedules with pandemic restrictions, read on for some tips to help navigate library scheduling.

Plan Holidays and Vacations

Most organizations will need some notice if extended time away from work is requested by an employee. Some workplaces even have minimum timelines for these requests to be approved.  The farther out schedules are, the easier unexpected situations are to address.   Using a spreadsheet or scheduling software, develop a template. Figure the minimum staff needed to work at customer service positions at the library.

With your minimum staff number in mind, map out six to eight weeks of schedules inputting vacations, programs, and time off. Use remaining staff available to develop your desk schedule to serve the public. Keep in mind your customer foot traffic will be less due to Covid closures.

Rotating Staff

If your library is small or has only one service desk, scheduling can be simpler. If your library has multiple floors or has a spacious floor plan, then two or even more service points are the norm. Does your library have a dedicated phone line or does the entire staff answer the phone as needed? Another service point, in the call center, requires scheduling attention.

The recommendation is to rotate professional librarians and paraprofessionals between all service points for seamless customer experiences. Leadership roles should also consider covering public service points, to promote cross training opportunities. In addition, this increases empathy for your team’s interactions with the public too.

Resolving Concerns

Any manager has fielded complaints about the schedule “not being fair.”  This is the time to pull out your negotiating skills and leave policy to provide the best answers for scheduling decisions. Employees may not understand about staffing levels, unexpected sick time or prep for programs. Furthermore, being as consistent as possible with every employee is the best method to address conflicts and accusations of favoritism.

Finally, employees love time off the service desk, and managers need to provide a fair and equitable schedule to assist customers and staff.