By Jessica Hayden
For those of us in the ever-stressful process of job hunting, ALA placement services offers many resources to help. One of the best is the Placement Center that operates during every Midwinter and Annual conference. This year the Placement Center at Annual was open on Saturday and Sunday, July 11-12. While the hard economic climate may have made the job offerings a little more scarce than in past years, there were still many opportunities for networking and career development. While only about a dozen libraries/employers had dedicated booth space, many other employers were on site to conduct information sessions and interviews for prospective employees. Most of the employers were public libraries, but there were a few academic institutions.
While the chance to talk to prospective employers may be the big draw of the Placement Center, many additional services were offered that allowed job seekers to fine tune their job hunt. The center had several computers where job hunters could search the ALA JobList and actually apply for jobs through the system. Free printing was also available just in case the job applicant needed additional resumes quickly. At the same time, NMRT offered a much used resume review service to help tweak those resumes to the highest potential. For those who could squeeze in the time between the wealth of conference offerings, several workshops were offered that provided informative and practical information to job seekers. These workshops included: Networking for Career Success, Interviewing Strategies, and Practical Tips for Finding an ARL Librarian Position in a Tough Economy. It is the availability of these types of employment assistance that make the Placement Center a necessary stop for job-seeking conference attendees.
While the conference Placement Center is a phenomenal resource for employers and job seekers alike, there is no need to despair if attending the conference is not an option. Many of these resources are available year-round via various websites. ALA JobList is always available via the Internet. While many may use ALA Joblist just to scan job postings, it is possible to post your resume and make it available to employers even outside of conference time. Also, it is a good idea to register on the JobList because access is then provided to numerous websites that contain practical information regarding everything from sample cover letters and resumes to tips on common interview questions and appropriate interview attire. In addition, for members of NMRT, a resume review service is available via email at all times. This service can take up to a month, so if a job hunt is in your future, it would be a good idea to send your resume early and to make that your first step to a new job. Finally, there is a wonderful Job Talk column that is a regular feature of Footnotes that provides a variety of articles regarding library employment.
For all these reasons, ALA Placement Services along with NMRT prove to be invaluable resources to anyone looking for employment. Especially when job openings are limited and very competitive, tools such as those offered here can give job seekers that little additional help that will allow them to stand out and shine. In order to begin using this valuable instrument, visit the ALA Office of Human Resource Development and Recruitment website at http://www.ala.org/hrdr.