Monday, 28 November 2011

Thing 21 - Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

The theme of Thing 21 is promoting yourself in job applications and interviews, which isn't something I'd previously thought about that much.  My employers paid for my MSc in Librarianship on the understanding that I would stay with them for a minimum of two years after completion.  This meant I didn't join the rush of newly qualified people trying to find their first professional post, and I have to say that was a bit of a relief to be honest.  Also, I'm already in the job I want, just not at the grade I would like (I'm currently a para-professional) so why would I want to leave?  Ideally I would rather have a promotion in my current workplace, rather than have to go elsewhere.  And, as I mentioned in Thing 20, I work a second part-time job, so job-hunting might mean having to say goodbye to two jobs I love.

However, given the current employment climate, it is probably wise to plan for every eventuality.  I know I would feel a little more confident, should I find myself having to look for alternative employment, if I had done some preparation in advance.  And of course, you never know, a dream job that is impossible to resist, could always present itself!

One of the first things I did for this Thing was to update my CV, it had been so long since I was last job-hunting I had rather neglected it.  I then decided to create an 'application form' document.  One of the aspects of filling in application forms that I always dreaded were the sections detailing your personal skills and how they met the job specifications.  I would spend ages trying to decide what to use as supporting evidence, and then even longer drafting and redrafting it.  I downloaded a couple of relevant application forms to give me an idea of the usual questions and criteria that are requested, and tried to get down as much information as possible.  Should I find myself applying for jobs, all I'll have to do is edit them to fit the particular specifications.

I already have a file at work for my PDR (Performance and Development Review) where I note down work activities I've been involved in.  I decided to expand on that to describe the role of my current job, but also added information about non-work activities and my non-library job.  In the past I've always kept my two part-time jobs very separate (or as much as possible) but recently I've come to feel this isn't such a good idea, I have skills I use in both jobs that could be applied to the other.

I had a brief look over the section on the CPD23 post giving advice on job interviews, but as I am not yet at that stage, I feel it is better to come back to that if I do end up needing to attend interviews.  It has made me more aware though of where I can go to find the information I require when I do need it.  Particularly the knowledge that CILIP members are entitled to two free sessions with a careers advisor a year.  I wouldn't have known that if the CPD23 team hadn't pointed it out, as it had somehow managed to escape my notice when I signed up to CILIP, but that will be very useful.

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