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Katie Fraser's blog and website

I'm an academic librarian, working in the UK Higher Educational sector, supporting academics and students. Prior to this, I was a researcher, working with social and learning technologies.

My interests include the application of emerging and traditional technologies, research support in libraries, learning spaces, evidence-based practice and the professional development of library and information workers.

You can find out more about more about me from the links to the left. Note that the views expressed on this website/blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other individual or organisation.

CPD23 Thing 21: Promoting yourself

January 9th, 2012

Gateway on Nottingham University's University Park

A gateway to new opportunities?

This blog is part of 23 Things for Professional Development, a course encouraging information professionals to explore online tools.

Thing 21 covers promoting yourself in job applications and at interview. As I recently went through a job application and interview process I’ve was thinking about this quite a lot recently. Thing 21 starts off by asking me to answer some questions:

What do you like to do?
I actually like most of my job, particularly working with staff and students directly on their research, but also some of the less direct stuff: for example, improving the resources available within the library by optimising our collections.

What do you dislike?
Checking reading lists! Anything where I feel like I’m not having to engage my brain, really.

Do you remember the last time you felt that feeling of deep satisfaction after creating, building, completing something? What was it about?
I do get this a lot from my work. The most recent was probably working out a different way of updating book collections in a particular area and applying it successfully.

What skills do you need to do the things you like?
My example was quite specific, but the generic version of this is that I tend to enjoy anything that involves analysing my work and coming up with ways of improving it. To do this I need reflective skills, research skills and technological skills.

The next suggestion is to make a kind of database of my interests and achievements. I don’t have anything as structured as this, but I have naturally kept a record of these things through job applications, CV updates and appraisal activities, and I’m actually a little reluctant to structure them too much, as I tend to package the same achievement differently for each job application. However, I have made sure I’ve organised and backed up all the relevant materials.

Lastly, I’ve been asked to share interview tips that I’ve found useful in my career. It’s not exactly an obscure tip, but I think the thing I’ve found most useful is finding out about the organisation. As information professionals we’re one step ahead on this, and I really think that doing your research (looking at websites, and making use of contacts) is one of the most productive things you can do before an interview. Also, don’t think that this stops once you’ve crossed the threshold of the organisation: you’ll probably be given quite a few clues as to the organisation’s priorities on the interview day itself (in a tour, in a discussion, or even in the questions you’re asked) and can benefit hugely from awareness of these.

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