by Dean Duane Strojny
No matter where you are located, think of this as the time of year when you may have already ditched the New Year’s resolution, but before Spring Cleaning actually kicks in. In the North, cold winter days are excellent for taking a little time to analyze your career and determine what, if any, changes you want to make to what you are currently doing along with some record management. From my time in Florida many years ago, I would see some winter coats appear in mid-January no matter what the weather was like, so I think the example can apply to all. Whether you are in a job hunting mode or not, there are a number of tasks that can be done this time of year that can prepare you for professional development season, which in the calendar of academic libraries, is just around the corner. Consider this effective career management time.
Update your resume. This is one document that always needs a refreshing. If you have taught a new class or made a presentation, now is the time to add that to your lists. Maybe it is time for a new font or changing around your white space. Have you decided to put job experience first or drop the years of your degrees? Those are moves more experienced and seasoned job seekers might do to focus on what they are doing today and what is most relevant to possible employers.
Reach out to potential references. Even if you are not job hunting, re-establish contact with former supervisors and colleagues that may be able to serve as references. You can forward them your updated resume for the just in case job posting that may come along. Networking never hurts and this is the perfect season to reconnect.
Conduct some research. Review the AALL Biennial Salary Survey so you know what the going rate is for librarians of your experience and skill level. Take a look at some of the job postings to get an idea of what people are typically looking for today. Read some more general library literature to get an idea of what is going on in the broader librarianship field. ALA Journal and College & Research Libraries News are two of my favorites for keeping up to date about what is going on.
Consider publishing something. Anything. A book review or column of some type will work fine. This will take you back to step one and give you something current on the resume. It also lets you take a break from the day-to-day routine and recharge. Accomplishing a short term goal is the type of thing that makes you feel good about your career.
Prepare for the summer season. Investigate hotel reservations for conferences. Write up a justification memo to your boss. Decide where your scarce dollars are best spent.
If a new job is on the horizon for you, consider the following organizations to assist in the hunt.
AALL Career Center This is our organization so it makes sense to begin here.
ALA JobLIST Library jobs in general can easily be located at this website. ALA lists everything from staff positions to deans so you get a wide variety of offerings through them.
Special Library Association Career Center SLA is the place to connect with like-minded specialty librarians from across the country.
Your local, state, or regional law library association
Your network of colleagues. This is often one of the best ways to gain an insight in to a new job. Someone always knows someone who can tell you what a potential employer is looking for or what it is like to work in a particular library or in a particular city.
Spring break will be here before you know it. The cold (ish) days of winter will be gone and doing a little career development housework will allow you to be better prepared if that perfect job comes along. Already in that perfect job? A clear and well documented history never goes out of style. Whether for an ABA inspection or preparing a bio for a presentation you may be giving, being organized is always helpful. Chase away winter blues with a fresh approach to your career.