This blog gives job hunting advice, advice for events and programming in a library setting, my reflections on library school, sustainability in libraries, and other ramblings.
|Posted by Tiffany Newton on December 24, 2013 at 2:25 PM||comments (0)|
Whether you’re looking for a job or have one you love, you should manage your online reputation. How do you do this?
Google (and Bing) yourself is the simplest thing you can do to figure out what is out there. First, start simply. Just type in your first and last name. Include quotation marks around your name to get better results if you have trouble.
This will tell you what others will see when they search for your name. Someone else with your name may be ruining your reputation. Employers or possible network connections will see the negative results and be unaware that it is not you.
When I Google “Tiffany Newton” I only see two results that are actually relating to me. Some of the other results that aren’t me link to very undesirable twitter feeds that include very unprofessional usernames and topics.
Next, look for images. On the first page of Google Images after searching my name, I see a very thin, muscular woman in a small bikini – obviously in some sort of weight training completion. I also see some mug shots of a Philadelphia woman named Tiffany Newton. The mug shot might not be the best, but most likely, employers will have my resume and see that my past has been in Missouri and Kansas.
You want to look for photos, videos, social media accounts and posts, blog posts and comments, news articles, and other information. If you see anything that might hurt your chances of getting a job, you’ve got a few options.
Chances are, the name on your resume is the name the recruiters will be looking for. If you’ve found problems with your first/last name combination, try different combinations of initials and nicknames. I could use Tiffany L. Newton, in which case, I found a court case between a Tiffany L. Newton and the state of Iowa that might not be beneficial to me. In the image search, there’s nothing too outrageous. However, if you still find negative results, look for your full middle name. When you find a clean version of your name, write it down. There aren’t many professional sounding nicknames for “Tiffany”, but “William” could be shortened to Will, Bill, Billy, or even Liam. Katherine could be shortened to Katie, Kate, and Kathy. Don’t forget spelling variations such as Kathi, Kathie, Cathie, Cathi, Cathy, Cate, Kate, Catie, etc.
You want to find a clean version of your name, but be sure it’s something you actually like and can see yourself answering to. If you submit a resume with your name as “Billy Smith” but insist on being called William at the interview, the search committee may become confused.
After you find a good version of your name that you’re happy with, use it. Put it on your resume, in your cover letters, on job applications, in your email address, and in your social media profiles, especially Linkedin.
Be sure your username and email addresses are professional. There’s nothing wrong with [email protected]” but it’s not very professional. My username for all my professional accounts is tnewton2011. It streamlines things for both myself and future employers. Yes, I do still have a personal email address and usernames that I use for things like amazon, but I use my professional one for all business transactions, include it in my resume, and on business cards.
It doesn’t stop there!
Check your privacy settings on your social media sites. I like to make my posts on Facebook private to people who aren’t my friends. I am not ashamed of anything on my facebook page, but when possible employers find my facebook account, I want them to be impressed by my professionalism. Of course, don’t post photos of yourself passed out drunk at a party, but be sure to keep your language professional in your posts. If the search committee finds these posts, you want them to reinforce your skills and qualifications for their jobs. Be sure all the photos tagged with your name are photos you don’t mind the entire world seeing. If someone else tags a photo of you that you don’t like, you can remove the tag and even ask that they take down the photo.
Defensive Googling Method: http://www.job-hunt.org/guides/google/defensive-googling-method.shtml
Why Defensive Googling is Necessary: http://www.job-hunt.org/guides/google/defensive-googling-mistaken-online-identity.shtml
6 steps to manage your online reputation: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/03/14/6-steps-to-managing-your-online-reputation/
Brand Yourself http://brandyourself.com/
|Posted by Tiffany Newton on December 16, 2013 at 11:00 PM||comments (1)|
Over the weekend, my grandpa found an ad for a receptionist opening at an electric company in the local newspaper. He called me and told me about it and said, "This is the perfect job for you!" Maybe it's just my family, but it seems like the older generations don't fully grasp the concept of libraries and librarians. Many of them keep mentioning things like: "I don't know why you need as Master degree to be a librarian" or "Why can't you just work at <random place> doing <secretary or similar work>? I've tried to explain to them that first, I don't want to be a secretary, and second, even if I did apply, they probably wouldn't see me as a real and interested candidate because many of them only require a high school diploma (if that!). They would see me as "overqualified" and that I would leave as soon as a better job opens up because I'd be unhappy doing these simplier tasks, and that I wouldn't be stimulated or challenged enough.
Photo from the University of Wisconsin www2.uwrf.edu/arc/uwrfphotos.php
Libraries aren't what they were 50 years ago. Even then, I think they were underestimated. Librarians are not secretaries or receptionists. They do so much more than greet customers and answer phones. Sorry grandpa, but I aspire to do more than this.
Putting it very simply, Librarians:
- Greet and help patrons
- Know the community's needs
- Provide information, programs and events to meet those needs
- Plan and organize these events,
- Balance the budget
- Teach patrons how to do things like use keywords, boolean operators, use computers, attach photos to emails, etc.
- Promote libraries, literacy, and life-long learning
- Provide technology and internet support
- Partner with local schools, businesses and organizations
- Manage and train library staff
- Create attractive displays
- Catalog and organize the books in a way that is easy for patrons to find them later
- Preserve and conserve information in all formats from old, rare books to digital information
- Deal with unruly patrons and those with complaints
|Posted by Tiffany Newton on November 24, 2013 at 11:10 AM||comments (0)|
I had an interview a while back for a library director position. It was a very interesting interview. There were five members of the library board, and the current library director. When I first walked in and told the woman at the front desk who I was, she welcomed me then walked me over to the area where the interview would be. I wasn’t sure if she was on the search committee, but I was pleasant to her. This interview was several hours away from where I currently live, but was near family, so I had driven in a few days before and visited my family. On our over to the conference room, she asked me where I was from. When I told her, she asked how far away way that was, and if I had driven in that day. I told her I had come in a few days prior and had spent a few days relaxing. Then she asked about family. When I told her my parents and grandparents lived there, she asked their names. This was a very small town, and everyone knows everyone else. I still wasn’t sure if she was on the search committee, but I told her my grandparent’s names. I did not tell her my parents’ names, because my maiden name didn’t have a good reputation in the area, thanks to some uncles and cousins. She stayed there for a few minutes after I had sat down, just chatting. We spoke about hobbies, pets, and other fairly neutral questions.
About that time a few other women came in. They were the library director and three members of the search committee. The woman I had been speaking to was one of the library board members, and was on the search committee too. They mentioned that they were still waiting for someone else. While we were waiting, the first woman continued our conversation. One question that surprised me (in a way) was which church I attended. This is an off-limits question for an interview, but the interview hadn’t started yet. This was also in a very small town in the Bible Belt, and it is a common question asked when getting to know people. I had a choice. Do I mention something and not answer, or do I just answer and help her get to know me better? I had researched all the members of the library board prior to the interview. They each had a brief bio on the library’s website. They all attended church. I decided that was just another thing we’d have in common, and since she had been asking about my past, I told her that I grew up in a Baptist church. She mentioned something about how if I got the job, she wanted to invite me to her church, and that’s why she asked. I told her I’d be happy to visit her church sometime.
The other ladies then asked about my drive in, and I once again mentioned I came in a few days ago, and once again, they asked about family, and once again, I told them my grandparent’s names. They didn’t seem to know them, which was surprising to me because my grandparents have lived there for at least 50 years, and most everyone knew them. About that time the last woman came in and we began the interview. They asked standard questions, including technology, collection development, weeding, supervising questions, etc. The first woman, every once in a while, asked strange questions, like “If we offered you the job, would you give your two weeks’ notice at your current job?” Well of course I would, if I had a job, but I’m currently unemployed. I would need a few days to pack up my stuff and move here though. I didn’t mention my husband, and how he’d have to give two weeks’ notice at his job, but if necessary, I could move there and stay with my parents for a few weeks while my husband finished working.
A while later she asked “Do you like living alone?” I was a bit surprised at this question, because I don’t live alone, and never implied I did. She knew I had a cat, because I had mentioned it before. As I stumbled over how to answer the question, one of the other women asked, “I think she means pets?” So I again mentioned I had a cat, but the first woman asked if I’d be lonely with just my cat. Well of course I would, but I would meet enough people at work, and I could go out with friends to socialize. About that time, she noticed my wedding ring. This opened up whole different can of worms. She asked about where my husband worked, if he would give a two weeks’ notice, if he would stay there working, or move with me and try to find a new job. When I mentioned he was willing to work anywhere, even McDonalds, they all thought that was the sweetest thing. Finally, about this time, the late interviewer spoke up and told her that she was asking “illegal questions” and she better stop.
A while later, when the late interview had to step out to use the restroom, the first woman asked, “Can I ask how long you’ve been married?” Another woman stopped me and said I don’t have to answer. I told her I wouldn’t mind, and told her that I’ve been married almost two years. One of the only reasons I did that was because they had mentioned previously that I was fairly young for a director. I thought if I mentioned I was married, and had been married for a few years, they might see me a bit older and more experienced.
I don’t think my answers to these questions hindered my interview, in fact, I think the interview went very well. I connected with these women in a way that others might not, because I answered their questions honestly, even the “illegal” ones. However, it’s up to you how you answer the questionable questions. Interviewers are not supposed to make decisions based on your religion, marital status, age, and other protected classes. You can find more information about this from the EEOC: www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/
|Posted by Tiffany Newton on October 24, 2013 at 4:55 PM|
I've tried blogging in the past, about my favorite new recipes, or about DIY craft projects. I never seem to be able to keep the blog going for very long before I get tired, lose focus, or just stop writing.
So what's changed? Recently, I've been writing for I Need a Library Job (INALJ) and really enjoy it. I've even submitted some articles to other blogs as a guest writer, but I only get to write 1-2 articles a month for INALJ, and sometimes I want to write more. That's where this blog comes into play.
I can't guarentee I'll write something each week, but I will try to write something at least twice a month for now. After all, I don't want to overwhelm myself before I really get started!