News & Opinion

Job Help @ The Library

by on October 7, 2013

On the front line of library service, we see it every day: people looking for jobs. The stress of looking for employment is made even worse when you lack the skills necessary to create a resume or fill out an online application. Libraries are uniquely poised to assist our patrons and make what can be a highly frustrating task easier

One of the easiest ways to help job seekers is simply by offering computer classes. From the basics of how to use a mouse to creating Excel spreadsheets, many patrons have a great need for computer skills. Being able to offer a wide range of computer classes to get people started on the basics of computers and the various software options is a beneficial service. Databases and services that can help with continuing into the higher complexities of common office software are also a wonderful learning tool. Some locations offer one-on-one sessions to focus entirely on the specific questions of their patrons.

Many job search-specific databases are also available to provide to patrons. ResumeMaker is a great option to provide patrons who need to create a resume. Templates can be incredibly helpful in creating these complex documents, but can also create complex formatting issues. ResumeMaker is great because patrons can simply fill their information into the various fields, which is also great practice for those online applications, and then a nice resume is created for them in the style they select. Job Now is another useful resource. Once patrons have their resumes, they can send them in for suggestions on how to make them better; or, they can connect online for a mock interview.

If your library cannot provide the databases, you can still offer patrons information on reliable, free websites to help with employment.Career One Stop from the Department of Labor provides many useful pieces of information, including information on resumes and interviews, as well as self-assessments and employment trends. Their My Skills, My Future website allows users to type in former jobs and see related career paths they might try. The Workplace Writers section of the Online Writing Lab from Purdue University also offers some helpful information on how to write a cover letter, resume, or CV.

Once you have your resources gathered, make them easy to find. Create a job section for your website and put a link to it on your homepage. Have your handouts and pathfinders readily available for patrons. Gather a list of organizations that you can refer people to, as mentioned in a post by Louise Svehla on Public Libraries Online.

The job search process is rough. While some talk is going around about small improvement, the economy hasn’t picked up a lot of steam. Online application and resume help questions don’t seem to be likely to disappear anytime soon. Be prepared. Know any other great resources? Share them below.


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