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Interview Tips

It goes without saying you need to prepare for your next job interview. How do you present yourself to the interviewer to win your dream job?  Read on for some useful tips.

Stories to Remember

Research has proven that people remember stories, no matter the situation. So be sure to mentally prepare a few personal stories that relate to successes and mishaps you’ve had in jobs. The successes highlight your accomplishments, and the mistakes show your humility and that you are relatable. You’ve all made mistakes on the job, so show how you are aware and have learned from them.

Stories can also highlight skills necessary for the job you’re interviewing for. Therefore, you should research the job skills and relate how your value and previous experience meets that criterion. Even if you are changing careers, valued skills translate to other jobs such as selling, budgeting, and supervising. Gather your thoughts and have your stories ready to tell in 2–3-minute story bites.

Backup with Examples

You then need to back up your stories with measurable examples from work, school, or volunteering. Let’s say you were in sales and would like to transition into management or another business role requiring meeting deadlines. Having your quarterly metrics ready to share along with HOW you accomplished those goals is important. Share the obstacles you overcame and the how you might have missed some opportunities. Again, having real world examples that relate to your skills and the job are important to shine at an interview.

 Ask for the Job

A career coach once shared with me, that only 10% of interviewees ask for the job. What I mean by that, is “close the sale.” You need to state one last important bit of information so you are remembered as the best candidate. For example, you could say, “Thank you for your time today.  If you allow me this opportunity, I’ll do an excellent job for you.”  Seal the deal and ask for the job in your closing remarks.

Think of your closing statement (after asking relevant questions about the company and role,) as your “pick me “statement. Leave a lasting impression on the interviewer, of why you are the very best candidate for this position. Have you done this job before?  Do you possess at least 80% or in some cases 50% of the job skills?  Is the job in your general industry or a new career you aspire too? Tell the interviewer WHY you are the best fit and close the sale for your new job!

Let me know if you have any interview strategies that have worked for you. Follow my personal website for more insights into your career: KathyHusserTempe.com

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career Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Jobs Library Leadership Uncategorized

Resume Tips

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 sue 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 taken stated that hiring managers felt that zero mistakes or typos should appear on resumes.

Be sure the organization follows the template so the most prominent skills in the job description match the skills in on your resume. Don’t lie, but matching words 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!

Follow my personal website for more career and living well tips: KathyHusserTempe.com

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career Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Jobs Library Leadership

Cover Letters

Once you have a solid resume, you will need a cover letter to compliment your skills. A good cover letter highlights your value as a potential employee and paints a picture for the reader. Here are tips for an effective cover letter to get that next interview.

Introduce Yourself

A good cover letter will provide the reader a clear idea of who you are and what you can do. The cover letter is important to fill in the gaps that might be left from your two-page resume.

Give the reader a clear idea of WHY you want to work for their company and HOW you can provide that value.

Highlighting why you’re making a job change (spouse relocation or career switch) is another important aspect to include. If you can include metrics or tangible improvements from your previous employment, include them.  But keep your cover letter to no more than one page. People are busy and one page is enough to sell yourself and your skill set.

Match Keywords

Just like writing a resume, a solid cover letter should align with the job description and your skills. Match keywords from the job posting and use that vocabulary in your letter. Better yet, highlight an achievement or “win” from a previous role which illustrates that specific skill or certification. Remember, readers like stories so make your cover letter tell your story.

Spelling and Grammar

This goes without saying but using correct spelling and grammar is vital for your cover letter. You need to show off your writing skills and a huge part of that is a readable introduction. Check spelling and tenses of verbs to ensure they match.  Read through with fresh eyes to make sure not to leave out any important details. Finally, have a friend or colleague read through your cover again letter for clarity and punctuation.

Ask for the Interview

Without sounding cheesy, have a great closing statement in the letter to specify “action.” In other words, ask for the interview!  Or you could ask to follow up in a few days if the reader had any further questions. Bottom line, you want the reader to act and contact you for an interview, to continue the conversation.  A salutation of “Thank you” or “Sincerely” is also best when signing off.

Practice makes permanent, so the more you write, the easier a solid cover letter will be for you. Good Luck!

Follow my blog for more career articles posted weekly: KathyHusserTempe.com

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career Health

Decision Making

Ever wonder how some people make big life changing decisions so easily? Do you struggle taking the first step for a life-changing decision?  Read on for tips to make the decision-making process a bit easier and less daunting.

Do Your Research

Doing your research should be the first step in any decision, big or small. You don’t need anything complicated but learning the facts regarding your decision is very important. For example, understanding the cost of your first pet, before you adopt one. Learning about the company before you accept that job offer. Some things you are not able to learn, until you are in the situation, such as work culture.

However, asking questions of various contacts in the network of your decision is research.  Do as much as possible for a well-informed decision.

Consider Your Expectations

Next, what are your expectations for the outcome of your decision? What do you envision after you make the decision to change jobs, have a child, or move across country? You need to keep your expectations in check. You also need to realize that nothing will be perfect after your decision is made.

Blind spots are just that, you don’t know what you don’t know. Understand that your support system is so important to have objective eyes on your situation.  You need to receive feedback for a “reality check” before you make that decision. Be open to receiving feedback from those you trust.

Stuck?

If you are not able to make a decision, then don’t. No action is a decision, and the status quo is sometimes better than making an even worst mistake. You might be experiencing a greater block, such as depression. Making no major decisions while in this state is recommended since you are unable to distinguish facts from feelings.

You might need to seek out a counselor for help. Getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol, and learning about your vulnerabilities will help you understand your mental state.  Seek out help before you act upon a decision. Finally, understanding that you are not in the right frame of mind to decide is so important before any choice. What big decision have you made this year? Share your thoughts at: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Library Leadership

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.

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Library Jobs

Career Development

Organizations will have you train or take self-paced learning courses when starting a new job. When you are a tenured worker or better yet a knowledgeable librarian, what professional development should you focus on? What are the next steps in your career development of librarianship?  Read on for advice to broaden your skillsets. Professional development allows you to excel to the next level in your library career.

Volunteer to Lead

When you are offered an opportunity to lead or be a part of a committee, take it!  For example, leading the annual staff training day or planning for the summer reading program should be on your radar. Plan to participate and provide your valuable input  and leadership.

If you work in an academic library, consider volunteering to work on a grant application to benefit your institution and library. Taking the initiative to lead will show others you have the leadership qualities to move forward.

Develop a Plan

As a professional your own development is up to you. Come up with other methods to excel and stand out in your organization in the specialty you’re pursuing. For example, if you are a youth services librarian, then branch out into another areas. Gain a mentor in a technical area to broaden your skills. However, be of  value to the organization in any area and find your niche.

Looking for opportunities and asking to help in other areas is always appreciated by leadership. You will get you noticed for other openings as they become available. Have a plan or goal in mind and ask the appropriate manager if you can shadow to learn new tasks. Furthermore, take on extra responsibilities to learn a brand new skill. You will thank yourself down the road for taking the leap.

Be Flexible

Keep in mind opportunities will present themselves when you least except them. So, be flexible and take them when they’re offered. Be ready to jump at a chance if a position aligns with your goals and career options.

Finally, timelines and career focus are great, but life is unpredictable. You need to remain open to unique opportunities.  If you’ve worked hard and provide value to an organization, they will snap you up. You both win.  Good Luck and Happy Learning!

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career Library Jobs Library Leadership

Career Mentoring for Success

Being a mentor or getting mentoring advice will help your career success in many ways you might not realize. Here are a few reasons  why putting yourself out there to provide advice to a colleague helps you and your mentee. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a mentee is “one who is being mentored a protégé.”

Job Satisfaction

Studies have shown that sharing your job knowledge and leadership experiences gives you a more satisfied feeling in your  role. Furthermore, we feel good when we have mastered a skill. We feel even better when we can share that with others. Mentors show commitment to their profession and their teams. Sharing  a bit of ourselves and our experience broadens our relationships. A trusting mentor/mentee relationship is invaluable for job satisfaction.

Succession Planning

When you receive mentoring from a leader or another colleague you are learning valuable lessons from a seasoned employee. Someone who has already been through an experience or solved a particular issue. This creates a great learning opportunity to gain knowledge and have exposure to real-world examples. These topics you might never even know existed, if not for your mentor. Like the old saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Hearing and learning firsthand from a mentor are valuable ways to expand your toolkit for heading up the career ladder and in turn assisting your organization’s leadership.

Additional Exposure

For men and women mentoring gives an opportunity to show your company what you’ve got to offer and can open additional opportunities for your career growth.  Professional conferences, industry memberships and networking events can all be a form of mentoring or passing on valuable experience to help others in your industry. With travel opening more, considering a more formal platform to share your skills and experience with others.

Not able to travel? How about a more organic platform to mentor colleagues and share your experiences openly. I remember a roundtable of community stakeholders that would assemble once a quarter to discuss current business trends. This group discussed challenges and upcoming concerns others might not be aware of. This was a group method of passing on important information while keeping our networks active. While not as personal as one on one mentoring, connections were made and relationships were forged during our gatherings four times each year and continue today.

If you have an idea on a mentoring strategy let me know. We all should be sharing and learning!

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Librarian & Entrepreneurship Library Leadership

Digital Marketing in Libraries

The internet and digital marketing have advantages for libraries. Read on for a couple of tricks to increase your library’s exposure and customer base. Libraries are here to stay, and social media will help bring customers back into the building.

Social Media

It’s a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram driven world. This means that marketing your library on these social media platforms is essential. That’s true for any business. Post pictures of programs, customers, and be sure to use hashtags every post. Post photos of the building, bookstore, and community events at your library. Keep up with various literary events such as Banned Books Week or National Library Week.

Email Marketing

Set up a mailing list and then blast out newsletters and other information to teachers, legislators, and other local officials. Customers need to be reminded the library is in the community.  Furthermore, reach out to new customers interested in various events at your library. Grow those customers and sign them up for a library card!

Use Videos

A picture is worth a thousand words, and photos sell. We live in a video-saturated world.  Make short videos about the programs at your library.  Storytimes and children’s programs have the biggest audiences at libraries, so publicize the most popular.

When doing this or taking pictures, it is important to use a proper high-quality HD-capable camera. With all the images we encounter in our daily lives now, we are quite good at telling HD from non-HD photos. The latter are now judged as inferior by default. Go for the quality and make an impression.

Event Marketing

What’s the next big event that you’re hosting at your library? Whatever it is, you want to use that to market your library big time. What’s more, you need to make sure that as many people know about it as possible. Use the tools above, employ flyers and banners, advertise to schools, and use other traditional event planning measures to get as much exposure as possible.

All this and more can help you get your library the publicity it needs and deserves

 

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career Library Leadership

Productive Meetings

During this time of hybrid and remote work, meetings whether virtual or in person, are vital for healthy team morale. Productive communication from you and senior leadership is so important to share information and gather employee feedback. Keep the following tips in mind when holding your next staff meeting.

Agendas

 Host meetings if there is important information to be distributed that cannot be shared via email or phone. To hold a meeting just because, really is not a sufficient reason. So, be sure employees are aware of the agenda, and send it out 24 hours ahead of your meeting. 

Furthermore, if you’re hosting a guest speaker also include their contact on the email reminder and an agenda. If the meeting is a brainstorming session, be specific of the intended outcomes. Before the meeting begins, provide employees context. Enable the team to prepare their thoughts beforehand. No one likes to waste time. Set the stage for expectations with a meeting agenda for the best results.

Online meetings

While easy to attend, virtual meetings lack the social interaction and networking that in person gatherings provide. If your organization’s meetings are mostly virtual, establish parameters for video and audio use.

For example, will all attendees be expected to have cameras ON but muted audio unless speaking? Be sure staff are aware of the expectations. How should attendees dress? Should audio be muted? It’s difficult to gauge an audience virtually, so ask your questions multiple times for various responses. Be sure to monitor the chat function to ensure no question is unanswered. Also check throughout the meeting for raised hands. 

Note Taking

A short review of what was shared via email is important after the meeting. Some employees might not have attended, or contacts and links were shared that staff need to complete a task. Having information written down is important for effective communication and accuracy. Rotating the note taking responsibility among your team or designating one person each quarter is a solid strategy. It’s also an excellent professional development tool for your team.

Virtual meetings have the option to be recorded, which makes note taking even easier. Whatever method used, be consistent and your communications and meetings will run smoothly every time.

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Library Leadership

Libraries and Programming

We have lived through the last two years in pandemic mode with many changes including library services. We have seen service models change and new programs emerge. The needs of communities are at the forefront of these changes, along with health and safety. So, what do programs look like now, with COVID-19 and health risks still in the foreground for many libraries? Let’s look at some successes.

Programs Outdoors

If you are lucky to live in a climate where in-person library programs can be held outside, patrons can have a new service model outdoors. Customers enjoy storytimes, school-age crafts, or book clubs social distanced for safety. However, programs are very engaging. If your climate is too warm or snowy, then an alternative has been a hybrid format. Producing online programs streamed via Zoom or prerecorded. This has become popular with many libraries.

Prerecorded Library Programs

Other libraries have great success and attendance with recording programs and posting the links. Posting within a Facebook post is also a great way to host a pre-recorded program. The advantage of prerecorded story times is easy editing and a way for the librarian to overcome nerves. Having your program recorded allows the flexibility to fix mistakes before posting. The link is available to update easily as your library changes. Plus the needs of your audience will change too.

Online Library Gatherings

Finally, many public libraries have adapted to all online programs due to funding constraints or public health concerns. Whether prerecorded or live every week at a predetermined time, virtual programs are the safest way to provide literacy and learning to a community. However, the downside is the staff’s reliance of a live audience for immediate feedback.

You also must have a team that has the skills and technology available to produce engaging library programs. Your library staff will need to have a solid handle on the audience they’re serving and the devices available. Have a reliable solution available if technology fails. Furthermore, bandwidth might be an issue and  would be a burden for your library users during online programs. Be sure to have solid solutions in place for every hiccup that could happen.