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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Thing 21: Self-promotion

CVs, interviews & other self-promotion opportunities scare me a lot. I'm never sure how much info to give or how to answer certain questions. I can usually reel off the stuff about qualifications & professional skills fairly easily because the proof is all there in the certificates & job history. But when it comes to answering questions like 'where do you see yourself in 5 years time' I can have a problem, I want to promote myself but I don't want to come across as too cocky, & I obviously want to say something that reflects the job requirements as well. Luckily I don't think I'll be doing the job search rounds any time soon (fingers crossed) but I am looking at ways of becoming more involved in professional groups & getting research published so I think this Things exercise should be very useful, so here goes.
I think question 1 is all about the importance of adding value & turning a negative into a positive, which is a big part of promoting yourself especially when it comes to application forms & interviews. During our ILM course they taught us an exercise for job applications where you write down a strength/weakness statement then add a statement to it that either adds value or turns a - into a +, sometimes it can be difficult to stretch out a statement but I think it's the difficult ones that help to prepare you for the unexpected interview questions.  I mean if you can re-package a love of sci-fi books or heavy metal music into a valuable asset I think  you can pretty much promote anything or anyone.
LIKES (adding value):
I like reading = I have a wide knowledge base covering a range of subjects.
I like quilting = I'm focused on details as well as being creative.
I like strategic planning & writing reports = I am forward thinking & able to see the bigger picture, while at the same time able to act as part of a team.
I like indexing = I'm organised & able to carry out basic library tasks as well as strategic functions.
I like enquiries research = I'm customer focused & have experience in different forms of library research.
I like writing fiction & poetry = I'm creative & have skills that would be useful in marketing & pitching projects.
I like fndraising for Swindon Foggys & socialising = I'm committed to advocacy & inclusion, as well as being able to connect with people with different needs & backgrounds.
I like attending conferences = I'm committed to my continued professional development, & to building a professional support & liaison network.
I like sci-fi & fantasy/crime/horror books, movies, TV = I have an open mind & am able to connect with information in a variety of forms.
I like listening to music - anything from heavy metal to Joan Baez = My interests are varied & give me the opportunity to form connections with a wide range of people.
I like cooking = I can be methodical & creative at the same time, & work to strict deadlines.
I like researching organising trade lit. = I'm interested in collection development,  & in how non-standard collections can be utilised.
I like working on the diversity panel = I like acting as an advovate for social inclusion, & working to ensure our service meets the needs of all its stakeholders & audiences.
I like volunteering on the LGBT Community project = I'm capable of thinking outside the box & I'm interested in how the library service can serve & support the wider community.
I like developing collections = I can look at things from different points of view to meet the needs of various audiences, as well as ensuring compliance with strategic aims.
I like blogging = I'm capable of utilising a wide range of technologies & social networking services in a variety of roles including marketing & collection development.
DISLIKES (+ to -):
I don't like physio = It has helped me to be more patient & learn more about control.
I don't like dealing with/getting through large crowds = It has helped me to develop skills in negotiation, socialisation & self confidence.
I hate call centre work = It helped me to develop my customer service & organisation skills, as well as liaison & financial reporting skills.
I don't like trying to pitch ideas to people/groups/councils who are obviously not interested = It has helped to boost my confidence levels, develop my marketing & negotiation skills, as well as developing inter-personal & networking skills.
I don't like being labelled & assumptions being made about me because of the labels = It has helped me to understand more about social inclusion & to view things from different viewpoints.
I don't like writing job applications/bursary applications = They have helped me develop my self-promotion skills & find new ways of assessing my personal & professional development.
I hate trying to convince my PC to do even the most basic tasks = It has helped me to develop my knowledge of IT & think outside the box to find new ways of accomplishing tasks.
I was very satisfied with the outcome of the LGBT in Libraries project. We were succesful in creating the collection, & launching it as a platform for future development. I've also been responsible for a series of projects & tasks at work , inc. overseeing the trade lit. move & creating a development plan for the collection. As a result of these projects I have continued to develop my professional & networking skills. In particular I have further developed my strategic planning skills, collection development skills & ability to understand issues of social inclusion.
The trade lit. project has involved generating, recruiting & supervising volunteer roles. In addition to standard collection tasks I have had to develop a deeper understanding of cataloguing & indexing, as well as utilising the internet & networking opportunities to market the collection.
I have a wide range of experiences that I can feed into a CV & job application including customer service roles, mentoring & teaching roles, research skills & much more. The problem I have is deciding what is valid experience for individual applications so I have developed a skills charting matrix to help me make these decisions. One side of the matrix will list the skills set out in the job description/person specification & the other lists all the skills I have. I then use the columns-rows to enter specific experiences that match both the matrices. From this I can then highlight which aspects I need to focus on in my CV & application.

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