As the coordinator for the ALIA New Grads Group, I recently organised an employability seminar for the students, new graduates and interested library folks in Tasmania. The event was held at Searson Buck (Tasmania’s locally owned recruitment agency) on Wednesday the 29th of May 2013 and was facilitated by one of Searson Buck’s senior consultants, Liam Swan.
The seminar was titled Market Ready ~ a session especially suited to those who were changing their careers and wanting to explore how they could use their library and info skills/qualifications to other employment sectors and industries or vice versa. Liam quickly touched on four topics:
- Career values and motivated skills
- Selection Criteria
- Interview skills
With career values, it’s important that people choose a career path that is in-line with their core beliefs and values. For example, if you’re an animal lover it seems obvious that you wouldn’t choose a job in an abattoir. In my case, one of my strong beliefs is for everyone to have access to free education so that they can be informed and participate in all facets of society. Libraries of course are already facilitating this type of learning but which of these libraries/info centres align with my core values? Which organisation would I feel more ‘at home’ with and find more satisfaction in? Also, consider:
- Where do you want to live and work?
- What kind of a job appeals to you?
- What kind of people would share your values?
- What working conditions would be rewarding?
- What level of responsibility do you feel comfortable handling?
Think also about the following when planning for your career or career change:
- Consider what your motivated skills (things that you really really enjoy doing) and career values are
- Stay abreast of the local job market and industry sectors.
- Continue to learn
- What initiatives could you take on?
- What projects could you take on?
- Meet others in your preferred industry and improve/expand your networks
- How could you become more visible in your field?
With resumes, Liam pointed out the following resume criteria:
- format (think about the job you’re applying for)
- 4-5 pages (although I’ve often been told the maximum is 2 pages)
- professional email address
- no DOB (date of birth)
- use statement relevant to the job
- sell yourself and be confident!
When addressing selection criteria, Liam mentioned the STAR technique which stands for:
Google STAR technique and you’ll find plenty of information on this method.
With interview skills, it’s important that people understand behaviour. During interviews Liam suggested to give solid examples of what you’ve achieved and apply the STAR technique during this process. According to Liam, business these days hire on skills and fire on behaviour. What the interview panel is looking for is whether you are the best person in regards to personality and behaviour for their working environment. Resumes and answers to selection criteria get you to the interview but the interview gets you the job! Simple!
For more information, Searson Buck has a career help page where people can get further advice on resumes, addressing selection criteria and interview tips.
What I liked about the seminar was the fact that it was interactive. Liam got the participants to talk about themselves – what they’ve done and what they’re doing. Some of the reasons why most of the participants were there were:
- Change of career
- Branching off
- New graduates with Masters
- Change from the school library environment
For those who were thinking of transitioning to different career pathways from librarianship, Liam suggested that library folks should consider applying their skills and qualifications in the growing IT industry.
The seminar went fine I thought. However, from the feedback I received the session could have been longer and more focused. The participants were there because they wanted a change to and from being a library professional and were looking for some insight on how that could be done. It’s always going to be hard to cover four major topics within an hour and a half particularly to a diverse group of people with different needs but I think Liam pulled it off well. I certainly walked away with more than one constructive thought towards my career development and I hope the participants did as well.
I thank Searson Buck’s marketing consultant Kathy Rukavina and senior consultant Liam Swan for making this seminar a success!