Category Archives: Professional musings

Multimedia Resumes: Worth it?

I know there are hundreds of voices out there (maybe more, sometimes it seems like millions) giving advice on the job search. Everything from initial networking to resumes to applications to interviews to salary negotiations. More infuriating no one seems to agree on anything. I think this is best seen for library students in the Hiring Librarians blog. The lovely author, Emily, publishes graphs summarizing her findings from her survey. In those graphs it is plainly shown that hiring managers don’t even agree on how many pages a cover letter should be!  So basically there is no Right way, but I’m guessing plenty of wrong ways that might have right components (otherwise we’d all have jobs right?).

One new way of standing out from the crowd during the job search is having a multimedia resume. I know this just sounds like another buzz word, but in this case a multimedia resume is exactly what it sounds like – a resume that moves beyond the text only word do or pdf file and into the land of graphics, pictures, videos, and web content. The most common ways job searchers make their resumes multimedia is through

1.) Adding a video

2.) Adding Infographics

3.) Adding links to a social media profile (Think LinkedIn or a professionally geared Twitter account)

4.) Showing off your personal blog or website

My Experience

There are many free services that will help you create your own multimedia resume – Purzue, VisualCV, and Visualize.me.

However, is it worth it? In many of the articles I read it was concluded that job seekers have little to lose, but I think we do. We can lose money (one job seeker actually spent $400 dollars to create a professional video for his resume & many of these free services have paid tiers that offer more content or help) and more importantly we can lose our time! Time we can spend searching jobs, networking, or you know completing that degree (not to mention having a life away from all this job stuff).  So I decided to give these different services a test run and see what all the fuss is about.

First off I decided to try the most mention websites – Purzue and Visual CV. Out of the two I liked Purzue better for a few reasons. 1.) Their website is just slicker & I am a sucker for a nice, intuitive layout 2.) You can import all of your job information from LinkedIn (!) Which cuts way down on the effort and time commitment.  Purzue will allow you to add media like a youtube video if you so choose which is what really makes this a “multimedia” resume. You can also add a picture of yourself to go along with your name at the top.  However, since I don’t have a youtube video to add this is just a copy of my LinkedIn profile. So is this one worth the effort? Well yes if you have a video to share, but if you don’t just send a link to your LinkedIn profile. Also when choosing your employment area there is no category for information professionals. Should we choose Information Technology or Education or Research? Even with choosing three subcategories (including analyst, customer service, and consulting) I still wasn’t happy with my choices there. Oh and as for Visual CV – I didn’t even finish my resume because it has no import feature and I didn’t want to spend a whole evening typing everything in just to have another copy of my LinkedIn profile.

Now Visualize.me is another story. It nicely takes all the information from your LinkedIn profile and creates an infographic based on that information. You need to add a little bit of information that isn’t included in a LinkedIn profile like your proficiency and years of experience for your listed skills or just how well you speak the extra languages you listed. There are several different layouts to choose from and several color schemes and the option to fiddle around with the colors via hexadecimal. Personally as an information person I loved this! My favorite part is how Visualize.me easily shows how one’s education pairs up with their work history. This service offers something totally different from LinkedIn (though it still is all the same information). The effort to awesome ratio here is totally in the job hunter’s favor. I’d check it out.

The Verdict

Are these multimedia resumes the wave of the future? Well maybe. I have applied to many internships where I applied via email and just added a cover letter and resume as attachments  In such situation I could easily add links to multimedia resumes as well. However, I would only do this if I believed my multimedia resume adds something above and beyond what my “normal” resume offers. If you multimedia resume has links to references, projects, a video, or other content then yes add it! However, if it is just a rehashing of your resume then don’t. You don’t want the hiring committee to feel like you are wasting their time! However, I have also applied to jobs using a company’s own job application website. Some of these sites force you to create a resume using their own forms. Others (like USAJOBS) allow you to upload your resume. In both these instances, multimedia resumes seem to be at a disadvantage. However, you can always find a way to add in the URL to a multimedia resume either in your cover letter or resume.

As for me, I am very intrigued by the idea. I’m not totally won over since my LinkedIn profile seems to do as much as most of these services, but I’m going to keep it in mind.  Has anyone else created a multimedia resume? Has anyone sent in a multimedia resume as part of a job application and how was it received by the hiring manager/committee?

My Multimedia Resumes

Purzue Resume

Visualize.me Resume

4 Comments

Filed under Library School, Professional musings, Social Media

Planning for the Future

Recently the Student Services Office at my program shared an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education. The article entitled “Turning ‘Plan B’ Into a ‘Plan A’ Life” made me reflect on my own journey to library school. Actually the writer, Susan Ferber, and I have shared part of the same path and I really hope my veering and changing of plans takes me to as good a place as she has found.

When I was 16 I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I had taken an advanced placement class in European History and loved it. The three hour test at the end of the year which many dread and leave drained both mentally, physically, and emotionally, left me on an academic high for the rest of the evening. This was it I was going to study history for the rest of my life. High school could not end fast enough for me. However, during my senior year a surprising prediction came from my Calculus teacher. It was near the end of the year and she said with conviction that I was going to make a great librarian. I looked at her like she was crazy (which arguably she might have been to leave a very long successful career as one of the first female civil engineers to teach math to first middle school and then high school students). I was going to college for history and then grad school to get my Ph.D. and become a professor. I was going to write articles and books. I was going to spend hours researching my favorite historical subject for a JOB! (My dream come true!)

I forgot Mrs. Sternfeld’s prediction and went on to my succeed in my undergraduate education. I proudly told my adviser that I wanted to be a professor. I took all my classes very seriously and gave each class 100%. I looked out for mentors and a subject that I might want to concentrate on once I entered grad school. However, as I got closer to graduation my papers started to wear on me. I loved the research and note taking, but dreaded the papers even though I was a decent to good writer. How could I face years more of this and then a whole career centered on what I could get published? Then during one fateful car ride to a history student convention, one of my favorite professors explained the whole academic system to us (especially the tenure system and how campus politics works). There I was just two semesters from graduating and suddenly I knew one thing – I did not want to be a professor any more.

When reexamining my options, I realized I was very curious about archives and special collections. I very wisely tried out the profession with two internships that summer. I loved it especially the digital archive I worked with. So I took the plunge and applied to library school. A profession that hadn’t even been on my radar when I graduated from high school.

However, my story does not end there. After a year in library school, I am still interested in archives and special collections, but I’m more so interested in digital services. I’m finding myself drawn more to any internship or job that reaches out to patrons digitally whether that be in an archives, library (public, academic, or corporate), or an company that is only tangentially related to the library community (such as SerialsSolutions).  Once again I’m finding my path change in front of me when I thought I had set it in stone.

I do though owe one person an apology. Mrs. Sternfeld, thank you for believing in my ability to be a great librarian even before I knew I wanted to be one myself. You were right my Plan B should have been my Plan A all along. (Even though one could say I’m on Plan C right now and will joyfully change to Plan D if it comes along.)

The one thing I have learned both from my own experience and the experience of others like Susan Ferber is that one’s career path is hardly ever a straight line from one’s first aspirations to the career one finally settles into.

Leave a comment

Filed under Library School, Professional musings

The Great Internship Debate

The SAA SNAP listserv has been on fire the past two days. All do to with The Atlantic article Work is Work: Why Free Internships Are Immoral. This little article has touched a deep nerve in students and young professionals alike.

Stories were swapped between members on how different masters programs handled internships. Some programs required an internship experience. Several students spoke up asking if any other programs only allowed non-paid internships for credit. Many students confirmed their program did, but the stipulation was easily waved. Other programs have no such rule and these students searched hard and long for a paid position (yes they do exist).

Many responses pointed out that the author of the article was focusing on business internships in marketing, finance, etc. which is a very different beast when compared to archival and library internships. With budgets cuts endangering programs and jobs, but not lowering user expectations, I find institutions looking for interns (both paid and non-paid) are extremely grateful to have another pair of hands and a quick mind to help with collections, projects, and exhibits. So we are gaining valuable experience for our time which must be seen as a form of compensation since these experiences are now necessary to land that first job after grad school. It shows dedication to the field as well as experience and skill. (Also that one bad patron isn’t going to scare you away.)

From where I sit at the University if Washington iSchool, I really feel as if I have my pick of intern opportunities. Allowing me to tailor my intern experiences to my career objectives. This puts me squarely in the driver’s seat of my internship experience. I am not going to be stuck working somewhere that does not add to my desired skill set. Daily emails on the student jobs listserv advertise opportunities in UW special collections, programming, user experience, social media, metadata creation, academic librarianship and on and on.

These opportunities are on top of the long list of partners the school has made for the Directed Field Work class offered as an elective (yes that’s right not required). Taking advantage of this opportunity is highly recommended, but so is any experience in the field including part time jobs, internships, and volunteering. Take for example my summer plan. I have two part time internships lined up. One is paid and one is not. In both jobs I will be doing similar work (metadata creation and research) and both asked if I would be using the experience for credit. I have chosen not to apply for credit since the tuition would eat up almost all my earnings from the paid position. When I told my academic adviser my reasoning she understood and explained that was the reason why DFWs had continued to be optional in the program. Some students would rather use their tuition money on classes and not on internships they could work for free.

Now I have nothing against my program’s DFW class. It offers a great template for experience including learning objectives, checkpoints, and reflection. The experience is always firmly focused on your education. Personally, I know left to my devices I will concentrate more on being a good employee and putting my best effort into my work than evaluating what I want to learn or get out of the experience. So I still plan to complete a DFW during the school year if only for this different perspective.

Now does this answer the question: Are unpaid internships ethical? Well no because there is so much more to it then just that. The question is deceptively simple. We must also ask is it ethical to require students to work for free then pay tuition for that work in order to graduate? Is it only unethical to interns when we are treated as gophers and gain no marketable skills (Is it ethical when we gain skills and experience as our sole compensation)? Is it ethical to demand 2 years experience for entry level positions in the field? Would demanding all internship be paid strip smaller, budget strapped institutions from offering opportunities? (Is that ethical?)

Many professions have already answered these questions. Look at education programs. College students are expected to work in the classroom for free while earning their degree. In many programs the last semester is spent totally in the classroom, the student is expected to hold no other job (and isn’t paid for teaching), and she still pays tuition. Is this ethical? It has been the norm for decades.

What do I believe? Well the summer before I graduated with my bachelors I had one paid job in retail and two unpaid internships in the archival field. I found those two experiences priceless. It confirmed my career objectives and imbued me with the confidence of finding my calling. Unpaid internships should not disappear. They open too many doors. However, I find being required to work an unpaid internship to graduate unfair. An alternative should be consider such as capstone projects that showcase experience, management, and leadership or stipends for students that can’t shoulder the financial burden.

What is your take on the subject? How has an internship (unpaid or paid) affected your career?

Also if you are interested on reading more on the unpaid internship debate, I tracked down a interview clip from The Colbert Report on February 28, 2012  with Robert Eisenbrey, vice president of Economic Policy Institute, about his views that every intern (including college athletes) should be paid for their work.

Leave a comment

Filed under Archives, Library School, Professional Ethics, Professional musings

Archival Ethics: Or How I Realized I Am on My Own

Cox, R.J. (2008). Archival Ethics: The Truth of the Matter. Journal of the American Society for Information Ethics, 59(7), 1128-1133.

I’ll be upfront with everyone. I read the above article for an assignment in one of my graduate classes. I chose the article because the unassuming article title promised to me a nice overview of archival ethics which I thought would be very informative since I plan on entering the archival/ records management field after graduation. What this article delivered instead was a rude awakening to the state of ethics in the profession especially when it comes to archivists and records mangers in the corporate world.

Now I’m sure some readers may have read this article back in 2008 and in the back of your mind little controversy bells are going off and you may sigh and think “Not this again”. Please bear with me. This article actually can be viewed in a whole new light four years later. For those of you that have not read it the article, Cox argues that the archival profession has been focusing too much on writing codes of ethics then actually exploring ethical practices in the profession. He focuses the article especially on corporate archivists and goes as far as to ask “Is the mission of corporate archives only to make their organizations look good or to serve a public relations purpose?” (1131).

The question of the ethics and the mission or purpose of corporate archives is even more important in the current employment atmosphere. Not every archivist can work in a government archive and not every government job is secure. A painful fact that is right now being played out in Canada. However, archival and library students are acutely aware that publicly funded archives whether on a national, state, county, or community level are just not hiring (How many times have you heard the phrase “hiring freeze” lately?). What does this leave for new additions (or accessions) to the field? Corporate archives. Corporations are hiring. They need records managers and archivists to wrangle their huge out pouring of paper and digital records. We the bright eyed, idealistic, and naive are being thrown, according to Cox, to the ethical wolves.

Now comes the “I am on my own” part. Cox points out that as a records manager, I would be the first to come across illegal or unethical records that hint that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. What do I do? What happens as a corporate archivist when I am charged to create an exhibit to make the company “look good” when the records tell a different story? Do I put a “spin” on the documents or just leave them out?

I will be honest, the answer I would give on the discussion board in my ethics class is much easier to arrive at and proclaim vehemently as “right” than the answer I would ponder while in the “real” world. My job, my livelihood, my  future could be riding on the answer, and SAA gives no concrete direction. There is no code or articles I can attach to an email to my boss or piece of paper to place on his desk to say “Look I can not do this. It is against my professional code.” I do not have a stable piece of ground to stand on.

Now with the passage of rulings such as Citizens United which has highlighted a corporation’s right to free speech, do archivists have even less ethical ground to stand on? In this new era of thinking where “Corporations are people, my friend.”, do I dare be a “whistle blower” and destroy any chance of ever working in the private sector ever again? These are issues that archival and library schools need to be facing head on.  As Cox says “These are dangerous, interesting, and exciting times to be an archivist or records manager” (1132). So please archival and library schools, outfit new archivists with the ethical armor to combat the dangers of the corporate world, new ideas to be interesting to our bosses, and the passion to make it all exciting.

3 Comments

Filed under Archives, Library School, Professional Ethics, Professional musings

A Daughter of Two Worlds

The professional world I am trying to carve out for myself is an odd one and sometimes I wonder if I am doomed to be forever a daughter of two different worlds of thought.

As this blog proclaims my passion is history and I believe everyone should easily have access to it. However, I elected to pursue a Masters of Library and Information Science and not a Masters of Arts in History or even Public History. Why did I do this?

Well one word: Archivess

Let’s make that two words: Digital Archives

I believe that both creating digital archives focused on digital preservation and digitization of print materials will bring history to the people where they are — online.

I was turned on to this idea actually in a class categorized as an introduction to the field of Public History during my undergrad. I worked as an intern in both a traditional archive setting creating finding aids and a digital archive (we called it a digital memory project). I loved my work at the digital archive and it brought me the library and information science world.

However, when I dig into the archival world through blogs and tweets I feel as if archivists are viciously defending their profession from others like public historians. It gives me an uneasy feeling since I seriously considered going down that path or even pursuing both an MA in Public History and a MLIS.

My doubts have been eased to a degree by a recent post in The Signal. Butch Lazorchak “daydream[ed]  about a time (ideally in the not-so-distant future) when librarians, archivists and museum professionals rule the world.” I too daydream about such a time especially when these three groups release embrace each other as all being Information Professionals and not pointing out the differences of our day to day operations.

I hope as a proceed especially in the digital preservation area of the profession that I will meet liked minded collaborators and get to work with a wide range of my fellow LAM brethren.

1 Comment

Filed under Digital Archives, Professional musings, Public History