Advanced Information Management for Job Searching

This post is a collection of tools and a workflow I used for my latest job search.

Sources

My job search was focused on the Greater Toronto Area.

Indeed.ca – is a job search tool. It has it’s good points and it’s bad points but the best part of Indeed is… RSS feeds!

My Indeed.ca feeds were searches for –

  • Every college and university in the GTA as the ‘Employer’
  • Librarian
  • Knowledge Management
  • Document Management
  • Records Management
  • Instructional Designer

INALJ.com Ontario Great job aggregator tool, but no RSS feeds.

University of Toronto iSchool Job Board – Great job aggregator tool, and it has an RSS feed

The Partnership Job Board

Code4Lib Job Board

McGill SIS Job Listserv

IFLA LibJobs Listserv

Tools

Feedly

Instapaper

Google Documents

LinkedIn

Page2RSS

Feed43

Zapier

Gmail

 

Setup

At CNA-Q, I’ve been operating under contract-based employment for all six years I’ve been here, so I’ve kept my ear to the ground about jobs in Canada. I signed up for the McGill SIS Jobs Board early on, and I push all of those emails into a folder in my Gmail labelled ‘Job Listings’.

As I started actively planning for my move from CNAQ, I went to Indeed and set up all of my RSS feeds for jobs. I knew that I was looking for an academic library job, so I set up alerts for every college and university in the Toronto area. I then created general searches for

  • Librarian
  • Knowledge Management
  • Document Management
  • Records Management
  • Instructional Designer

I put all of these searches in to my RSS reader. I like Feedly, and use it to monitor a lot of news and library blogs. I added all of these searches into a folder called ‘Job Search’

The U of T job board has an excellent RSS feed, so it was added to Feedly too.

I knew of INLJ, but it has a frustrating interface. More importantly, it has no RSS feeds. I started using the Page2RSS service to grab daily changes to the INLJ Ontario page, but that got annoying after a while and I started looking for an option that would allow me to identify individual jobs that are posted. At this point, I came across Feed43. Feed43 setup is a little beyond the scope of this post, but it allows you to identify sections of repeating HTML on any webpage and turn that into a properly formatted RSS feed.

I keep both the individual job Feed43 feed and the Page2RSS feed live in Feedly.

I then subscribed by email to the IFLA job board, the Partnership job board and the Code4Lib Job Board

This put me in a situation where I was checking two locations. I’m always on Feedly, but I don’t check my email as often. I went looking for a tool to turn Email into an RSS feed and I found Zapier. If you’re familiar with IFTTT, then you grasp the basic idea of Zapier.  Zapier provides you with a very simple graphical way to connect services that wouldn’t otherwise talk to each other. Zapier allowed me to create an RSS feed for my Gmail jobs folder. That feed was plugged into Feedly.

Workflow

Every morning, I’d read through the postings from all of these RSS feeds on Feedly. I’d make very quick decisions on whether to look further at a job, and skipped the majority of the posts that came up.

When I decided to look closer at a job posting, I’d open it up and read the post briefly. If it looked reasonable and matched my skill set I saved it to Instapaper using the share function on my iPad or the plugin in Chrome, depending on where I was reading it.

Once a day, after work was over, I’d review the selection of jobs I saved to Instapaper. Using this method, I found myself finding between 2-5 reasonable jobs per week that matched my skill set and experience. I applied for about 95% of the jobs I saved to Instapaper. I often printed these out and highlighted key words in each job application

Writing Cover Letters

 The University of Toronto has a standard job application format where you email a single file containing a cover letter, resume and references. While each institution  has their own standards for how to receive documents, the University of Toronto standard application format has some real benefits to the job applicant.

  • It keeps your customization within a single document.
  • It provides a way to collect information in one place if there are any special requirements
  • It limits the number of files you have to look at

I do all of my word processing in Google Docs. The U of T format allowed me to have application ‘packages’. If the potential employer was using a particularly stringent format, I could print single pages to PDF and then upload them into the individual Applicant Tracking Systems.

The standard advice for job hunting is to customize your application for every employer. That is wise advice, but if you try to write each application from scratch, you will find yourself without any other time (even at 2-5 applications per week).

I started by very carefully applying for jobs, and re-writing my application for each position. I then approached some very wise friends, including someone who works as a recruiter and a friend at the University of Toronto. These people helped me refine my resume and cover letter to something short, effective and well developed.

After I had a ‘template’ for my cover letters down with input from working librarians and my recruiter friend, I started customizing my letters slightly less. I would start with a previously-written application package for a similar position, then customized each cover letter and resume based on keywords.

Here are some of the things I did to minimize errors.

  • I only used the name of the institution and the name of the job position in the first line of the application package
  • I read through the completed cover letter forward, then backwards
  • I minimized customization to my resume to only ‘critical’ requirements for the job. ‘Optional’ requirements were covered in my cover letter.

Any extra documentation, like salary requirements were placed on sheets after the completed ‘package’. I could tell with a glance if the application package had this extra documentation because it was more than 4 pages.

Please contact me @brettlwilliams if you’d like to see examples of my application “package” format, or if you would like to use the RSS feeds I created for INLJ Ontario.

 

 

 

 

Dawn Alarm Clock & Workflow

I’ve been trying out the new app Workflow, and I’ve been enjoying the features this app brings to IOS 8. I’ve consolidated all of my social media sharing into a single workflow, and I’ve set up a workflow to create Do Not Link links for sharing controversial blog posts on forums

This is the most complicated workflow I’ve created, an app that adds a calendar entry for dawn tomorrow, based on your location and the Sunrise Sunset API

This is a first draft, if you have a way to improve it, let me in know!

Dawn Alarm Clock

ASM Handbooks EZproxy Stanza

After searching a number of different places, I had to write my own EZproxy stanza for the ASM handbooks.

The ASM website is put together in a simple way, which makes this basic ASM Handbook stanza appropriate. If you have a better stanza for ASM, please let me know.

T ASM International Handbooks
U http://products.asminternational.org/hbk/index.jsp
D asminternational.org

Answer to How does a reference librarian know where to look for sources for a topic she may know nothing about?

Try to get back to the member, rather than searching in front of them.

2. Use Google Scholar and branch your searches to get an idea of what the member is looking for.

3. Once you have a gist, use Wikipedia and Creedo Reference/ dictionaries/encyclopedias to get a basic outline of the structure of the question.

4. Dive into your regular databases.

Example: I had a prof email me about finding the “igen code for an author” that would tell him how reliable a work was. Google Scholar helped correct the spelling problem (Eigenfactor, not code) and the misunderstanding about what it was useful for ( journals, not authors)

By using several different search terms in Google Scholar and going down multiple pathways in my searches I was able to figure it out. You will pick this up really fast, especially when you get comfortable with the e-resources at your institution. A lot of difficult questions can be answered by knowing how information is structured within the particular field, so it’s good to note how papers, books and the eresources are put together and published. I’m new in the field myself, so shoot me a question if you’d like more help.

 

Originally answered on Quora

Answer to Do librarians often encounter communication problems with IT services ?

Yes.

Try to do the systems thinking. Know what you want a service to look like and provide step-by-step directions to IT to get you there.

Try to escalate your problems to the highest level you can reach.

Advocate for a more open IT system (Linux servers, Web standards, granular user permissions, an open CMS, etc)

Don’t accept ‘good enough’. Keep the ticket open in their Customer management system until it works the way you need it to work.

Try to get the tools to do most of the troubleshooting yourself.

Don’t believe everything they tell you.

Cherish any IT contact that exhibits systems thinking skills.

Learn the vocabulary. Create a cross-walk if you need to, but it helps immensely if you can speak geek.

Keep examples from other libraries handy, often an IT guy can figure out what you want based on a visual example or by looking at the code from another institution.

I’d also recommend using hosted services whenever they fit within your libraries mission. Something like a patron database really needs to be onsite (or as part of the institutional ActiveDirectory/LDAP server administered by IT which is far better) but library guides, a finding tool,¬† your library blog, even your library webpage can be managed on remote servers in many cases. While you do lose a little autonomy by using hosted service, you often gain ease of use and a chance to build capacity as more people participate in creating and updating library online resources.

Originally posted on Quora

Answer to What are the best resources on creating data taxonomies? – Quora

I’d suggest building off of the work of an existing XML vocabulary if your client is in one of the major industries that have pre-existing data taxonomies built.

I’ve heard that the Google Search Appliance does do a competent job, you can augment it with help from a professional taxonomist.

Also, depending on your client, you might want to include the government vocabularies like NAICS codes.

A lot of this depends on which documents you are indexing for search, file types, what industry you are in, the size of the website, legal compliance issues, and pre-existing metadata.

If there is one thing to remember from the Library Science perspective, never re-invent the wheel. A lot of this work has already been done.

via Brett Williams’s answer to What are the best resources on creating data taxonomies? – Quora.

How is downloading a book online morally different than borrowing it from the library?

Libraries are a collective action, downloading a book is an individual action.

Libraries purchase and often pay additional fees for the ability to lend books out.

Downloading is a wholesale copying of a work, more akin to taking a book and photocopying it than borrowing it.

The moralizing of copyright is a very recent invention, largely brought about by governments who intended to control the works being produced. Print books in th 17th and 18th centuries were widely pirated, with the protestant Netherlands being home to some of the most egregious pirate presses. While those same pirate presses did produce a lot of pornographic and radical material, they also spread ideas a lot further than the official, law-abiding presses.

Making something lawful or unlawful does not add moral weight to a civil law.

Originally answered on Quora

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