It is an honor to have one of my favorite bloggers write the first guest post here at 360 Degree Self. Josh Hanagarne is one of those rare individuals with a combination of brains and brawn and is a seriously talented writer. As someone who has spent considerable time at various Chicago libraries during this job hunt, I have gained a great deal of admiration for librarians and their ability to answer questions and solve problems for all of us.
By Josh Hanagarne
Few things are as much of a drag as job-hunting, particularly when you are desperate and jobs are scarce. The only thing that makes it worse for some people is that so many employers now require applications to be completed online. If you don’t have access to the Internet or your computer knowledge is not as high as you would like, it can be a very frustrating process.
In the library, a great deal of the Internet use is devoted to job searching. Unfortunately, many people come into the library without a clear picture of what online job searching or applications might require.
Here are a few suggestions and observations that will make your experience smoother and help you use your time better.
- Learn how to use a mouse. This sounds elementary to anyone who uses a computer, but pretend you are 65 years old and suddenly your circumstances require you to go back to work. Perhaps you’ve never touched a computer in your life. If you have to learn how to use a mouse in the library, your computer time is already ticking away. If you understand what right and left click and double click mean, you’ll be fine.
- Have an email account before you come. I’ve yet to see an online application or job-searching service that doesn’t require an email address. Setting up an email account in the middle of the application can suck up a ton of time, especially if you’re not familiar with email.
- Have an idea of the types of jobs you’re interested in searching for. If you’re just looking for anything, it makes it harder for librarians to help. It doesn’t mean that we won’t help, but again, if we need to help you focus your job search, it will take time away from the computer.
- If possible, brush up on typing skills. I see this lot. If someone has an hour on the computer but they are not a skilled typist, that hour can go by quickly. Your library should have materials to help you learn or practice typing. It can also be done online.
- Bring something to save your work on. If you’re writing a resume or any other document, you want to be able to take it with you when you leave. Most public computers do not allow you to save on their hard drives and that would allow the person who comes after you to see your files. Privacy is a big thing. Bring a flash drive if possible. They are affordable and fewer computers will have CD drives in the near future.
Following these steps will make your job searching experience at the library. And it will allow us to help you make the most of your time. If you have friends or family who can help you with any of this prep work, I urge you to make use of them. Most Departments of Workforce Services also offer these services.
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About the Author: Josh Hanagarne is the twitchy giant behind World’s Strongest Librarian, a blog with advice about living with Tourette’s Syndrome, kettlebells, book recommendations, buying pants when you’re 6’8″, old-time strongman training, and much more. Please subscribe to Josh’s RSS Updates to stay in touch.
Photo courtesy of CCAC North Library on Flickr Creative Commons.