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!

 

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