Monthly Archives: October 2012

Thing 22 – Volunteering to gain experience

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I haven’t volunteered in the library sector but I have volunteered at festivals and I volunteered at a local Oxford museum for about a year.   I volunteered at the museum on Saturdays whilst working at 9-5 Monday – Friday.  I had tow reasons for doing this.  One being that I wanted to understand more about the workings of museums and gain some experience there.  I have previously considered working in museums, but and noticed that all job descriptions required experience and I thought in that case the only way to get experience is to volunteer!  I also just felt I should be doing something with my spare time and it was a museum I had always enjoyed visiting.

Whist volunteering at the museum I got to work with some really interesting people and did get to learn a lot about the ‘behind the scene  of the museum.   I was already in paid, full-time employment, but a lot of the volunteers there were otherwise unemployed or giving up their free time in retirement and I know the museum sent volunteers on courses etc where they could to build up their CVs and gain more skills.  I think this was really good for both volunteers and the museum.

I know a couple of people who have volunteered or done intern ships at the places and eventually been offered a job there, so I think it does go some way to opening up opportunities to people and is certainly something I would consider doing again.

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Thing 21 – Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

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I always find it difficult identifying what I like doing….when it comes to job applications I mean.  This is mainly because I always think that what I really like doing isn’t necessarily related to the job.  I really like socialising with friends and other people, watching tv series such as the Wire, Lost and Breaking Bad and knitting.  I struggle to think of how some of these pleasures can extend to work!  However, one thing I do like doing that is completely relevant to the LIS world is helping people.   This was first properly made clear to me in my first library job – working in a health library assisting with training Drs and other health professionals how to search databases and the internet for information and seeing how impressed they were really made me feel like I had found a job that was worth while.

Outside of the LIS world I enjoy helping people by raising money for charity, I have previously done sponsored runs, steward at festivals and organised a music event.  The music event was hard because I knew I was setting myself a bit of a challenge outside of my comfort zone but by the night of the gig the hard work had paid off and I raised money for a good charity!  One day I’d like to think that I can combine my library and information skills and working with charities focussing on the developing world – for some reason I feel it’s something I would like to do one day.

I dislike having jobs with repetitive tasks day in and out, there is nothing more boring for me than doing exactly the same thing everyday (apart from a job where you have nothing to do – which I have also done and can feel like a complete waste of time for everyone!).

I haven’t had to do any job applications for over a year now (which has been very refreshing let me tell you!).   In that time I’ve just been in the one job but I’ve picked up so many new skills, attended conferences and started my masters than my CV really needs an update.

As the author of Thing 21 says, you really should tailor your CV and covering letters to each different job you are applying more.  Give evidence of the skills you have that match the job descriptions and person spec, obviously the more you have the better and the more you mention in the job application the more likely you are to get an interview.

Once you have been lucky enough to be offered an interview my key tips would be to research as much about the organisation as possible.  One job interview that I was unsuccessful in told me that one reason I didn’t get the job was because I didn’t appear to know much about the organization and the work they did.  Speaking of feedback, always ask for it. Though it’s never nice to hear criticism, it can be useful and prepares you better for next interview.

I think 99% of my interviewees have asked if I have any questions at the end of the interview.   Always have at least three questions prepared, for example “Do you socialise together outside of the office” (I like to think it shows your social side) “How will my progress be monitored/feedback be provided”  .  Ask as if you already have the job, it just seems to go down better.

I wouldn’t say I am a very confident person, but having been through quite a few interviews now I feel more prepared than I used to. Though always nervous, I have learnt that the only way is to sell yourself, don’t worry about sounding cocky – you’ve got to be in it to win it after all!

 

Thing 19 – Integrating

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Some things of cpd23 I had already been using, such as Prezi, Jing etc.  Other tools I haven’t even got round to testing yet, such as Zetro and podcasting.  However, some of the tools I have already fully integrated into my life.  Those being Dropbox, Evernote and Linkedin.

Dropbox:

After having a Dropbox account set up for me at work I have been using it ALL THE TIME!  It is so useful from the point of view that having Dropbox on my work machine and my laptop means that I can work on essays in the office and save them knowing that the latest version will be on my laptop when I get home without having to save it to a USB or email it to myself as I was doing before.  It has also been good for sharing photos and working on shared documents at work.  Really glad that this tool was brought to my attention as it has made life that tiny bit easier!

Evernote:

I find Evernote very useful in much the same way as I do Dropbox.  I mainly use it to ‘clip’ pages with useful articles on, recipes or attaching pdfs of journal articles or reports that I want to read at a later date.  This again means that these items will be available for me to retrieve later from either my work machine or personal laptop.  I haven’t used any of the sharing facilities yet, I’m not sure I will as I generally am using it for things of my own personal interest.

Linkedin:

I have started to use Linkedin more than I was previously.  However, I still haven’t fully got involved with it – I’ve made a few connections now, but only with colleagues at work, I need to be more proactive in seeking other peers.  But I can see its potential and will keep remembering to check in on it and build a better profile.