How Our (Online) Universal Class Can Help You with Your Job Search

September 27, 2012

The Newton Free Library has recently subscribed to Universal Class. This is an online database with an offering of over 500 courses.  These are not the equivalent of college coursework.   However, have you ever heard of CEUs?  This stands for Continuing Education Units.  Some professions require a certain number of CEUs each year to show that a person is keeping up with developments in their field. Universal Classes are accepted for CEUs.  Whether you are showing your interest in something new or catching up with jobs or careers you’ve had in the past, listing a course you have completed with its CEUs on a resume could add just the leverage you need to get noticed.

Each course consists  of a number of online classes an hour or less in length.  You cannot skip around.  You must go class by class, answering questions or writing essays until you get to the end.  Don’t let this sound intimidating. It isn’t.  The questions I have seen are not difficult.  As in the best of our schooling, each class builds on the next, until you find that you’ve completed a course.  You  have nothing to lose by trying them out and everything to gain, especially if you feel your resume needs a little more substance or currency.  The classes are listed under broader subject headings, making it easier for you to find what you specifically need. Just a few of the subjects listed are Career Training, Business, Computers and Technology, Writing Help, Office Skills, Accounting and Bookkeeping.  There are even a number of  fun classes when you need a break:  Crafts and Hobbies, Cooking, Art and Photography. Curious?  For a complete list of courses click here.

Most classes have a video component and a printout (pdf format so everyone can print it out.)  Personally, I’m at a loss when just confronted with a video.  My brain just doesn’t absorb material that fast.  But give me a handout and a video and I’m good to go. It’s the best of both worlds.  Since I set up my own classes with handouts for everything I cover, I like the way these people think.

If you live in Newton, you can sign in from home.  All you need is a Newton Free  Library card that begins with 21323 connected to a Newton, MA address.  You also need to go in through our website into Universal Class.   If you don’t live in Newton, you can come into the library and sign up.  If you live farther afield, check to see if any of you local libraries offer the service.  Take a look and give it a trial run.

vea/27 September 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.
Applying for Job LibGuide


Newton’s Job Search Class Now Open to Anyone, Anywhere (Plus a Few Extras)

June 9, 2011

The Process:  Over the winter I have been updating, refining, and adding to everything related to the library’s “Applying for a Jobs Online” class. Just as this was completed, Newton purchased a new software package called LibGuides.  Since it takes time to learn to use it, our Assistant Head of Reference, John Walsh, took the material that had been created for the class and created a design for it. Once everything had been put together, I went through the Guide again, updating and tweeking it, learning how to use the program at the same time.

The Result:  If you have Microsoft PowerPoint and Word on your computer, you now have direct access to the library’s class materials no matter where you are located.  If you don’t have these programs, you can still access a wealth of information  in the LibGuide by clicking on the tabs at the top of the Guide.  Under the first tab on the left (Home) you will find contact information for the library, for me, and for John.  There is a brief explanation of the guide in the center.  The material in the right frame gives you you  complete access to all the PowerPoints, handouts, and supplementary materials I present  in my class.  If you are interested in using any of this,  I have two requests.  First, read the syllabus at the top of the list. You may not need everything that you find here.  Second, give credit where credit is due. Tell people where you got the material so they can use it too, if they like.  That’s it.

Tips on Content:  Make sure you check out the tabs.  Besides presenting information on the Library’s Online Career Center and this blog, you will also find RSS feeds, book and website recommendations, as well as  information on several databases that can be used for job and company research.  Especially important is Handout 8 on Plain Text, located  in the right frame of the Home page, and the tab above on “Applying Online”.  The handout gives you step-by-step instructions (screen shot by screen shot) for changing formatted text into ASCII/plain text as well as explaining why you need to do this.  Clicking on the tab will give you information on using online job applications as well as plain text.

Interested?  Just click on LibGuide: Applying for a Job Online.

Let me know what you think. Whether you are looking for a job or helping others become reemployed, good luck. I hope you are able to put this material to good use.


vea/ 9 June 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.

A Database that Offers Tips, Tests, Practice, and eBook Study Guides for Job Hunters

January 10, 2011

Most people who are familiar with Learning Express use it for the academic practice tests that it offers.   Many people do not know that it also includes a number of opportunities for people looking to brush up on or expand their work and job search skills.  If you live in Newton, you have home access to this database through the use of your library card and the Newton Free Library website.  Anyone has access to it within the library.  If you live outside the Newton area, a library near you may subscribe to this service.

There are three main categories of interest.  The first is “Job Search and Research Skills.”  Under this category, Learning Express offers courses, practice, and eBook study guides on Business Writing; on the TOEIC [Test of English for International Communication]; and on Job Searching, Resume Writing, and Interviewing Skills.

The second category is “Jobs and Careers.”  Here you will find information broken down by very specific careers and career types.  Their list includes Air Traffic Controller, Civil Service, Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Electrical, Emergency Medical Services, Firefighter, Green Careers, Law Enforcement, Military, Nursing and Allied Health, Legal, Plumbing, Real Estate, and Teaching.  A last category is more general but very important, Test-Taking Skills Improvement.  What LearningExpress offers here are eBook study guides, courses, and instantly scored practice tests.

The last category is more general in terms of job requirements, but may be critical if you feel “rusty” or vulnerable in certain types of skill sets.  “Skill Building for Adults” includes tests, courses, and eBooks to help you improve your skills in math and reasoning, personal finance, public speaking, reading, science, statistics, trigonometry, and finally, writing and grammar.

To take advantage of any of these offerings from home, you must be a Newton resident with a Newton Free Library card and use the Newton Free Library website.  Go to  Click on “Free Online Databases” on the right of the home page.  Click on the subject heading “Test Preparation.” Click on Learning Express Library “Home Access” and put in your library card number. You will see a list of all the databases the City of Newton offers Newton patrons.  Click on Learning Express Library again and register with the user name you would like to use, a password, and your email address.  Be sure to write these down so you can get back in again.  [A word to the wise.  Have a secure area where you keep all your user names and passwords, whether it is a notebook, old Rolodex, or somewhere on your computer.]  Then poke, prod and explore the site.  As mentioned above, if you are not a Newton resident, you can use the site within the library.  You may also want to see if your local library provides this service.

vea/10 January 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.