Conference Quick Tips

Quick Tips for Successful Job Searching and Interviewing

Before, During, & After an ALA Conference

Prepared by Beatrice Calvin, ALA JobLIST Placement Center Manager

Before the ALA Conference

  • Register as a job seeker on ALA JobLIST. This will help registered employers find you.

  • Check the job listings often. Employers will be adding positions daily.

  • Review your resume. Make sure it is error free. If you need help with your resume you can use the Resume Critiquing service in the Placement Center.

  • Know yourself and your professional goals. Define your values, interests, skills and abilities. Know what you want in a job (location, small, large, public, academic, etc.). This way, you will be ready to discuss them when you meet employers as well as other professionals who may be in a position to help you. If you don't know what direction you want to go, or are having trouble getting focused, stop by the Placement Center to talk with the career counselor.

  • Practice answering general questions that most employers ask (Where do you see yourself in five years?; Tell me about yourself.; etc.).

  • Do research on the institutions and the positions. Visit institutions’ websites.

  • Update any blogs you may have so that they are current.

  • Google yourself. Try to clean-up anything that you don't want a potential employer to see.

  • Update your LinkedIn profile if necessary.

During the ALA Conference

  • Walk around the Placement Center and talk to employers in their booths. They may grant you an interview on the spot.

  • Attend the Open House on Sunday morning in the Placement Center. This will be an opportunity for you to talk to many employers in a short amount of time. You might even be able to schedule interview time for later in the day.

  • Come dressed for an interview. Although the conference attire is generally casual, you should arrive at interviews looking like a professional — not a student.

  • Be prepared to discuss your skills, abilities, and accomplishments with employers. Support your assertions with examples.

  • Attend the career guidance workshops. You will be able to ask questions and get answers that will help you present yourself better in interviews and in networking situations. See the list of workshops.

  • Make use of the Career Resource Area located in the Placement Center.

  • Be prepared to do quick searches while on the computers in the Placement Center. Many job seekers will be on-site, and there is a 15-minute time limit per use.

  • Schedule an appropriate amount of time between interviews. Be prepared for over-runs. Interviews generally last 30 minutes. Be brief yet thorough.

  • Try to keep notes on the positions for which you’ve interviewed. Names, position descriptions, brochures and catalogues are always helpful for future reference. Ask for supporting materials, business cards, etc.

  • Make conscious decisions about attending programs, socials and receptions. These professional opportunities are also helpful in networking.

  • Be professional and courteous at all times. Never bad-mouth colleagues or the profession.

  • Relax and be confident during interviews.

  • Consider volunteering some time in the Placement Center or other areas around conference.

  • Network...Network...Network....If the opportunity presents itself, join a committee or task force. Get involved in ALA.

  • Take care of yourself.

After the ALA Conference

  • Continue your job search. Don’t get "stalled" after the conference (unless you’ve accepted a position, of course). Continue to check your messages in the message center. Continue to apply for positions using JobLIST.

  • Always send a thank you note if you were given an official interview or the opportunity to talk to an employer for an extended amount of time--no matter what your interest in the position.

  • Send emails expressing continued interest in positions to employers you met at conference. Reiterate your qualifications.

  • If invited to on-site interviews, ask about logistics (i.e. travel arrangements and procedures, who pays, how much, when, etc.) before you accept.

  • Be prepared to have a very busy schedule and meet many new people. Always be professional and ethical through your entire job search.

  • Talk to colleagues about opportunities. Stay in contact with faculty and professionals from your institution. If they don't know about specific job openings, they may be able to provide introductions to people who may hire you. Networking is key!

  • Try not to get discouraged. Job searches can be a long, extended process. Stay positive and confident.

Last updated 3/12/12