Thursday, February 05, 2009

How the Library Can Help You Find a Job

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There’s no denying it; times are tough right now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for December ‘08 was 7.2%. Our national unemployment rate hasn’t been that high since January of 1993. In times like these, we look for ways to save money, and in some cases, look for jobs.

I’m guessing that you already know about saving money by visiting the library for free DVDs, youth and adult programs, and of course, books. But did you know that you can also find help searching for a job at the library?

Libraries are able to provide help for every step of this process from searching for jobs, to writing resumes and filling out applications. We can even help you ace the interview. You can visit any Birmingham Public Library for these services, but many can be accessed from the convenience of your own home.

If you’re at home, start at our homepage: http://www.bplonline.org/. Click on subject guides on the top right of the screen. On the next screen, under Business, Government & Law you’ll find Job Searching. On the next screen, you’ll find employment websites for the city, state and the nation.

The process of finding a job has changed greatly since 1993. And one of the major differences is how employers communicate with perspective employees. Email is an absolute necessity. Most employers will initially insist on communicating via email. Fortunately, there are many reliable, free email providers out on the web. Yahoo, hotmail and gmail are just a few. If email is new to you, don’t worry. Your local librarian has free handouts that will make this little step easy.

A big piece of your communication with a perspective employer will come in the form of a resume. Even if you’re new to the job hunt, a resume needn’t be intimidating. We have links on our page for several helpful resume sites. My favorite is the resume builder available on MicroSoft Word. You choose a template from a variety of resume types, and then type in your information. The result is attractive and professional.

Of course, for most people the most intimidating aspect of the job search is the dreadful interview, but it needn’t be a heart-attack inducing moment. Scroll to the top of the Job Searching page, click on databases. On the next screen choose Career Guidance Center. The Career Guidance Center from Facts on File has nearly 300 videos on every career subject imaginable including interviews.

If you find all this overwhelming, or don’t own a computer, come to a library near you, and a staff member will gladly show you all the sites and programs mentioned in this blog. And you local library will, of course, have books on all these topics as well.


photo by Richard Miles

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