Friday, September 29, 2006

Using your resume, reflections

Resumes are frustrating and maddening creations; when else in your life are you asked to compile a comprehensive history in two pages or less? They are a struggle of design decisions with options of functional verses chronological, a combination of both, or make the conscious choice to begin developing curriculum vitae. We asks friends, advisors, colleagues, both in and out of the library profession, and professors to look at our efforts and learn a harsh lesson, everyone has a differing opinion on the final product. Ask ten people to look at your resume and you will get ten different reflections on thought, process, order, and design. A few months ago I was asked to look at a friend's resume. He was not happy with my input (if you are reading this you know you weren't!) but considered it along with several other opinions he was given. The important thing, as Rebecca mentioned in her post, is the only person who has to be pleased with any resume final outcome is the person writing the resume.

During a job search we rely heavily on resumes and cover letters to open doors, ably assisting in securing interviews that lead to job offers and career changes. Each application requires a resume and cover letter customized to reflect what we have to offer advertised openings. The end result is a job offer, acceptance, and the beginnings of a library career. However, resume importance and function do not end here. It’s critical to continually update your resume while employed, and not just for job searching. I spent a short time yesterday afternoon talking to my boss about this very idea. Below are several rationale to keep a resume current:

  • Performance reviews: As non-tenured faculty members, librarians at AU complete a yearly self evaluation. Within this document, we are invited to include our contribution to the library mission and vision, reflect on past goals set for the current year, and detail goals for the upcoming academic year. While we like to complain, often quite vocally, at the self reflection process, this type of review is really an opportunity. Pull out the dusty resume and compare it to what has been done during the year. Make needed updates, a resume should reflect where you are as well as where you have been.
  • Library web presence: I would hazard a guess almost everyone has heard the following, “Oh, you need a Master’s degree to be an academic librarian?” While we may bristle at the question, it’s often asked because people don’t know the scholarly background required of their librarians. Faculty members have their vitae on web pages, why don't librarians? Updating that resume and placing the information on your personal web page is beneficial to everyone.
  • Academic review: AU library is currently undergoing academic review, an internal evaluation, or “state of the academy” program review, whose purpose is to see where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. Each librarian was required to provide a current resume, or curriculum vitae, for this document. It is important we are able to show the academic community our qualifications, professional development, and instruction capabilities.
  • Speakers Bureau: Bill (the boss) reminded me yesterday that Ashland University has a Speakers Bureau & Experts List in place “to help local media and civic groups identify speakers from the University who are qualified to address a broad range of topics.” A current resume is beneficial to the public relations staff when they are asked for information.

A few minutes ago I perused my personal page on the AU server and noticed it would benefit from a bit of updating.

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