Friday, January 20, 2012

Update your resume!

How many times have you heard -- from your professors, career counselors, parents, LinkedIn groups -- "Always have an updated resume on hand"? Oh, blogger boys and girls -- this tip paid off a whole bunch this week!

First: You just might need it in a hurry.

My sweetie's back on the market this week, and having to make only a few changes to the resume(s) she last used (and then saved online, in a Google Doc) meant less downtime. Aside from a few online gigs (check out Mechanical Turk or TaskRabbit if you haven't yet!), she's launched a new search for a full-time or part-time job in the area. Resume at the ready, she's set to network with friends, browse LinkedIn and Craiglist, and get her feet back under her FAST. Consider whether you'd be ready to knock on a temp agency's door tomorrow morning if today you were let go, your position was cut, your relationship or housing situation changed, or the company you work for closed their doors. In an uncertain economy, that extra bit of preparation can have big results.

Second: You never know when you'll stumble across a golden opportunity in a narrow timeframe.

Wednesday evening, my standing appointment was rescheduled, so I was actually home baking cookies and watching Netflix. Although the semester hasn't officially started yet, some professors are making their course pages public a little early. I figured I'd get a head start if there was anything new to look at, so I logged into D2L and checked the new emails from the SLIS list. Last week, an announcement for a student assistant position was posted -- someone to help with the debut of the Virtual Internships Program at SJSU (a collaboration between the records management folks at SLIS and the management info systems department in SJSU's College of Business, as I currently understand it). The assistant would work 10 hours a week (paid!) creating, populating, and updating a database for current and future interns and their supervisors. The work seemed right up my alley, but I was concerned that the position would itself be an internship, with concurrent enrollment in LIBR 294 -- and I won't be eligible for that course until after I finish the Spring semester. (Not to mention that most of the paycheck would go toward tuition fees for the course credits!)

So I emailed the head of the program to ask whether this was an internship, work-study, or what. (I phrased it a bit more elegantly.) When I'd had questions about the Virtual Internship program last semester, she'd been very responsive via email, so I was hoping to get an answer the next day. I was NOT expecting an email an hour later explaining that the position was not an internship (and therefore I could apply), but that the application deadline was THAT NIGHT! Resumes would be reviewed the next day, and "tomorrow will be too late". Yikes! Guess it was a good thing that I asked right away.

Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Larkin in last semester's LIBR 204, and the helpful input I received from Jill Klees at the SJSU Career Center, I had a resume suitable for this position at the ready. A few minor updates and a solid cover letter later, I'd applied for the position! Turn-around time from receiving the email: about half an hour. AWESOME.

As I write this, I don't know whether I'll be offered the position. But at least I'm in the running! I also think that I'm an excellent candidate for the job. The sense of accomplishment of finding a job opening that fits with my work skills and experience, and is also connected to the SLIS program, is a great encouragement to my fledgling job/internship search. So I'll repeat the wisdom, and gladly -- Always have an updated resume on hand!!

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