Monday, April 26, 2010

Resume trends for job seekers and the insane!

Today I spent a large portion of my day off today writing revising my brother's resume for him. Why you ask? Mainly emotional blackmail from my parents. They are convinced that since I was the one who benefited (? girl nerd is a benefit?) from being in all those AP and honors classes and, more recently, a fancy pants master's degree; and that my poor brother who suffered from popularity, hangovers, years of partying school and now has a mediocre job in retail -- well it's my responsibility to help him get a better job.
This type of thankless expectancy would outrage some, but at this point in my life I'm so over/use to it (after all, I did compose his college entrance essays for him). Revising his resume to fit this particular job he's interested in wasn't too bad, but this is largely because his resume is mostly my old resume from two years ago when I sent it to him as a sample of what a resume should look like. I don't know if there's anything more amusing than reading my old job objectives with suddenly my brother's job history attached to it. Or maybe anything more sad. I suppose it's not much different than the resume/job clinics that have been foisted upon us recently at work, where I try to delicately explain to a patron why they should try specifically tailoring their resume for a job at Pizza Hut differently than the job at Cash 4 Title Loans. At least with my brother I can just say, "Because I said so, asshat!"
With the resume/job clinic thing, I've been collecting information for handouts on resume tips and trends, but all my notes are back at work, so I decided to do some research at home to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything. One thing I was totally unaware of was the new trendy job description of NINJA!
According to The Wall Street Journal, "Ninja" is the hot new job title for resumes: "In 2009, the growth of "ninja" as a new job description far outpaced the growth of other trendy titles, according to LinkedIn Corp...While the numbers are still small on LinkedIn—some 800 current or former ninjas have public profiles on the site—their growth has skyrocketed past other fashionable careers such as "gurus" and "evangelists," says Monica Rogati, a scientist at LinkedIn who finds patterns in jobs data."
What exactly is a ninja? Well, it looks like it's mainly IT people using it to describe their skills, but some finance and customer service reps too. While the converted believe it's a fresh new way to phrase your mastery of an area (and the ability to disappear during a meeting?), I think it reeks of hipster fail. As if "guru" wasn't annoying enough, (the article says, "Guru is so Web 1.0." - barf!), what kind of crazy person puts "ninja" on their resume?! A resume is supposed to not only grab the reader's attention, but make them want to hire you, not pronounce you a complete idiot or consider calling local mental health facilities.

So if you must know, I did not use "ninja" as a descriptor on my brother's resume, nor will I advocate its use to my patrons who come in for the clinics. I believe its use would only appeal to other insane people or men in some state of arrested development, and would ultimately scare off more job offers than invite. However, I should also note that in 2002, while desperate for a job, I applied for a position at a nearby radio station and made it known in my cover letter that I had an unfilled prescription for oxycodone at my disposal. Just sayin'!

Monday, April 19, 2010

2010 - the librarian in vogue?

I keep reading different design blogs or ads that tout "librarian chic" as the hot new trend, so I thought I'd consolidate a few and post them here. Archival Allure recently blogged Elle's librarian inspired trends for spring, some of which I like, but are too expensive for my library paycheck or sometimes too severe for my personal fashion tastes.

Earlier in the spring Kate Spade's new spring collection featured some very bookish looks that I first found mentioned on ooh la la du jour! and a quick search of Polyvore (a totally fun fashion site) found put together collections for "vintage librarian" and "library chic" looks. Most of the fashions still follow the stereotype of cardigans and black framed glasses (and too much cheap Forever 21 junk), but I am also seeing lots of whimsical prints, romantic dresses, hot chunky heels, and adorable floaty skirts.
Growing up, if someone said "librarian" I usually pictured Velma from Scooby Doo or old Mrs. Kepler, the school librarian who had frizzy permed hair and smelled like mildewy books, so it's cool that some of the younger generation is restyling the profession as fashionable: smart, with classic lines and often hints of urban sophistication -- this could be a stereotype I could get on board with.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Library kitsch

Ok, so I'm reposting this from Awful Library Books, and it's probably better suited for The Very Bad Book Blog, but it's just too fun not to mention. I'm going to have to read it in order to figure out why it took two people to author this amazing piece of literature and to understand just what a "career romance" is. Does poor Jinny Williams, library assistant, hope to find love on the job? If so she is in trouble because the pickings are slim -- better stock up on cats, Jinny!
I am also liking the stiff illustration on the cover. This is the exact position I stand in at the reference desk with a book in each hand, ready to dispense knowledge.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ALA: yay or nay?

ALA's annual conference is around the corner and I'm still on the fence about attending. I haven't attended any of the conferences in the past, the big difference being this time around that it's practically in my backyard so I wouldn't have to worry about travel or hotel, etc. It won't be this close again for at least several more years, so that's another reason why it might be nice to go, but on the cons side it's a little more than $200 that my work won't be reimbursing me for and I'll have to use my own personal vacation time to attend. So I'd be paying a couple hundred bucks and using my do something work related? Hmmm...

The peanut gallery isn't making the decision any easier, as I've been told by friends and coworkers that this is both an event that "can't be missed" as well as being "as dull as watching paint dry." Quite the conundrum.

Monday, April 12, 2010

No. No, I won't.

Boy, about 11 or 12 with a bowl haircut approaches the ref desk.
Boy: Will you make my brochure for me?
Me: What?
Boy: Will you make my brochure for me?
Me:...What? I'm not sure what you're asking for.
Boy: (slight eyeroll detected) My geography teacher says we have to make brochures for different countries. I have Guatemala.
Me: And you want me to show you how to make a brochure on the computer?
Boy: Kind of. Do these computers have Word on them?
Me: Not these, but a program that is similar. I can still help you set up the page though so you can make a brochure. Do you have a copy of the assignment that I can see?
Boy: (long pause) No, but I don't want to use Word anyway. We are using Publisher at school and that's what I want to use.
Me: Oh, well...we don't have Publisher on the public computers for you to use.
Boy: Is it on your computer?
Me: (slight pause) Yes...
Boy: Will you make my brochure for me?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Card catalogs - making a graceful exit

Photo credit: sukisuki
This was something I’d been meaning to post for awhile, but kept getting sidetracked. Although most (if not all) libraries have stopped using the old physical card catalogs, it seems that there are many out there that still have them, either in storage or out in public view, just not in use. Lately, I’ve caught a few blurbs here and there about catalogs that are finally being axed, mainly from academic libraries. One such mention was about the University of Michigan's card catalog getting the boot, but not without some nice nostalgic photos as a fond farewell, in addition to an educational pictorial. It is interesting to note that one case is being kept intact and on display for historical purposes.

Some universities are taking a creative approach. The University of South Carolina sent their analog catalog cards off in style with “It’s All in the Cards,” a year-long series of events honoring the card catalog, including a poetry and short prose contest inviting the composition to be written on the back of old catalog cards. Then there is the University of Iowa’s cARTalog project, which aimed to “find as many creative uses as possible for the salvaged card catalog cards and generate a sense of community among those who love the card catalog.”

The cards are neat, but I’m more interested in the drawer units specifically. Over the years, I’ve come across a few Craigslist and eBay ads for old card catalog units, but none have been in a price range or driving distance to my liking. A couple years ago there was one available at a reasonable price at what would’ve been a three hour drive (one way) near one of my former roommates so I figured I could pick up the card catalog and knock out a visit all at once, but it never happened. Perhaps I started thinking too much about what I would do with it once I got it home (not considering how I would get it up two floors) since I don’t own too many things that need to go in long narrow drawers. One of my favorite design blogs, Apartment Therapy, does provide some interesting suggestions though should I ever fully commit to library chic.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

With an ebook, no one will notice that you’re reading Tolstoy over Tori Spelling (a lesson for pretentious readers)

Yesterday, there was an article in the NY Times about how the social aspects of reading might change in the digital age – mainly, book covers and the ability to browse/snoop on what others around you are reading. Attractive book covers not only help attract potential buyers at bookstores and patrons at libraries, but they also facilitate book discussions among total strangers in the park or on the bus, and most importantly, bring comfort to librarians with low self-esteem who like to show up in the staff lunch room with giant hardback copies of Crime and Punishment for pleasure reading while they scowl at their coworkers with their latest Janet Evanovich paperback.

As someone who likes to spy on observe others, not being able to see what someone is reading is a bit of a disturbance. How else will I pass judgment on them for their inferior reading choice (ahem, Wuthering Heights)? How will I know when to clap someone on the back and shout “Huzzah!” for their decision to read John Hodgman’s The Area’s of My Expertise, aka “The Greatest Book Ever Flippin’ Written”?

This matter is actually more important for me personally because I make a lot of my reading choices based on the book’s cover (THAT’S RIGHT! I’m a librarian who judges books by their cover, how do you like them apples?!). Like a child, I am drawn to bright graphics, bold fonts, clever art concepts, and intelligent photographs. I like my literature’s packaging to basically resemble the box of a kid’s cereal that is high in sugar (more candy marshmallows, please!). I would like to say that it is overwhelmingly successful, but admittedly only works probably 50% of the time (read 40%). When a book I have selected based on its cover and perhaps interesting dust jacket blurb disappoint me as a reader I feel betrayed, maybe a little abused. I suppose someone judging my reading material by the cover art would come to the conclusion that I have the attention span of an insect and that I will read anything bound in a design reflecting pop art. They might be right…

However, since I am famously slow to upgrade to new technology (yes, I actually own a rotary phone), absent covers from ebooks most likely won’t be a problem for me…for now. I will continue to pick out books based on their covers that I can hold in my hot little hands, but I’ll probably have to come up with new ways to spy on what my coworkers are reading. And, of course, that is what the internet is for.