Help Us Help You: A Few Steps To Take Before Doing An Online Job Search At The Library – Guest Post By Josh Hanagarne

November 12, 2009

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.

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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.

Good luck!

Josh Hanagarne

Get Stronger, Get Smarter, Live Better Every Day

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.

1 Nadia - Happy Lotus November 12, 2009 at 11:07 am

Hi Tim and Josh,

You know…even though I have spent numerous hours at the library doing research through the years, I never knew about what librarians did. Yes, I would ask them if they could order a book that was not on the shelves but I never thought to ask them questions about research or job hunts. So this post was an eye-opener. Very cool! Thank you!

2 Lori November 12, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Hey Tim and Josh, great idea for a post!
I have always admired librarians. One – they are always patient. Two – they are always very bright/intelligent. Three – they can usually not only answer my questions but usually tweak my question to produce a better answer.

Your mouse tip was really great, too. I think I’m still learning how to use some of the buttons on mine! 😉

3 Tim November 12, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Nadia: I know what you mean about librarians…I’m sure there is much more to what they do than we think. It is rare that I actually ask them for help, but I know I should because they are great resources. I’m glad this post was able to help. Have a great day!

Lori: I also admire librarians for many reasons…including their patience…A couple weeks ago, I was at my neighborhood library, and watched a librarian try to stay patient as she tried to help a patron/customer try to log onto the computer. She was successful at staying patient (barely) and getting the guy logged onto the computer. These days I feel a little sorry for the librarians in Chicago…with all of the budget problems going on here they are cutting library hours and they have fewer people helping to re-shelve books. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’re having a good one!

4 Eric | Eden Journal November 12, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Nice guest post! I always love reading Josh’s work. Seems like every time I go to the library, the computers are always in use. I have a computer at home, so I don’t necessarily need to use a library pc, but it made me wonder if there are better times of the day when you may be able to get more time on a computer with less of a wait.
.-= Eric | Eden Journal´s last post…The Open Mind Test Part 4 – Conclusions, Comments, and a Challenge =-.

5 Tim November 13, 2009 at 7:32 am

Hi Eric: I’m glad you enjoyed Josh’s post…you bring up a great question. I don’t have an answer because the computers always seem to be in use every time I’m at the library…maybe on Fridays? In any case, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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