A Word About the Usefulness of Books

January 21, 2011

Career and Job Hunting Books at the Newton Free LibraryThe postings you find here usually point to online resources, classes, or programs held at the library.  Let us not forget another very important source of information —  books.  Whether you are flipping through pages looking for a more effective resume format or are reading closely to learn  how to do something that is complicated or unfamiliar, there is nothing quite like a book to help you with your job search.   If you take a look at this blog, you will see several tabbed subjects at the top, between the blog title and the latest posting. “Books” is one of these tabs.  Click on it and take a look.

I have just finished [20 January 2011] revamping this list, attempting to set in up in the order of a job hunt.  Starting with broader topics, like overall guides and reference books, I then list books that help you find job information on the Internet, including broad topics like search strategies down to specifics like job banks. Towards the beginning a job search, a person  will begin composing a basic resume, then cover letter . These are the next two categories. When a person finds a job listing, the process of refining a resume and cover letter begins. This hopefully leads to an interview, the next category of books.  At some point in this process, people start seeing references to the potential of social networking, especially LinkedIn, the next set of books. Looking for work in government offers a whole different set of demands and challenges. You will find books on that topic.  Questions or problems with career skills? There are books that help here as well.  The last section is on staying safe online.  Though not specifically related to your job hunt, you need to keep yourself out of the clutches of identity thieves.  And believe me, they prey on vulnerable people, and people looking for work are vulnerable.  Think about it.  How often have you been tempted to take chances that you might not do otherwise while you are hunting for a job.  A tip or chapter from one of these books might help keep you out of trouble.

An additional software format that is relatively new to the library is called LibGuides. Clicking lists of useful books will bring you directly to the Jobs’ LibGuide tab that includes books.  Updates to the various job booklists will now appear here first. [20 September 2011]

Take a look and give me some feedback if you have the chance.  Feel free to offer suggestions if a book has helped you that you don’t see on my list. Also books that you used but did not find especially useful.  Your comments are deeply appreciated.

vea/revised 20 January 2011/updated 20 September 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Newton’s Job Search Blog:  https://jobsearchchatter.wordpress.com


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 http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net.  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.

Help for Job Seekers from the Massachusetts State Website

November 17, 2010

The state of Massachusetts offers help for job seekers in various sections of its online website.  I would suggest starting with the Job Seekers section of Labor and Workforce Development. Click here to find this.  Take a look at the headings and explanations to see which of these categories will be most useful to you.

Two key sections that you should definitely read through here are “Career Centers” and “Job Hunting: Information to Help You.”  Under “Career Centers,” you will find free classes that give you the opportunity to learn or to hone computer and  job searching skills. “Job Hunting: Information to Help You” is a treasure trove of useful material.  It includes advice on everything from resumes, networking, and interviewing, to tips for completing an online application. (If you are already trying to cut and paste your resume information into an online application or email and are having trouble, you may need to change your resume from formatted text to plain text. This is not covered on the state site. To learn how to do this, click on the Newton Free Library list of class handouts and open number 7.)  

When you are going through the Massachusetts offerings, as with anything on the web, use your judgment.  If you are not comfortable with a recommended site or with launching your resume onto an online posting site, don’t use it or do it.  The state lists craigslist.org as one of a number of recommended sources.  Personally that would be a site I would hesitate either to use or to recommend.  (See new posting above regarding craigslist.)  To learn more information about posting resumes, click here.

One additional site is the state’s  job blog.  Called Commonwealth Conversations, you can find it at  http://jobs.blog.state.ma.us.

If you want to check the main site for Massachusetts state government, go to http://www.mass.gov.  Here you will find a whole range of state services and information. To maneuver your way around the site, you can scroll down to the very bottom right corner and click on Site Map.  You can also check the A-Z Subject Listing near the top right of the website.

Good luck on your job hunt.

17 November 2010/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.


May 25, 2010

In both the print and online versions of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, you will find key information you need when deciding on career choices and alternatives.  Do you want to expand your options in a current career, jump to a related job, or switch completely? The Occupational Outlook Handbook can help you make an informed decision.  Each occupation based article has sections that describe the nature of the work; training, other qualifications, and advancement; employment opportunities; job outlook; earnings; related occupations; and sources of additional information.

The online version has much more information for the job hunter if you know where to find it. The rest of this article will show you where to look and what you will discover,  On the homepage of Occupational Outlook Handbook (http://www.bls.gov/oco/) look down the left frame until you see “Special Features” (just above the search box).  Click on it.  The top two categories are of special interest to job seekers.

The first, “Sources of Career Information” categorizes useful sites into several subject areas. Take a look at them.  Pay special attention to the State Sources heading.  Here you will find the states listed in alphabetical order.  On the Massachusetts site provided, please note that you do not have to register.   You can skip the user name and password at the top of the screen.  Choose a city or fill in a zip code at the bottom of the screen.  That gives you full access to all of the site’s information.

The second option under “Special Features” is “Finding and Applying for Jobs and Evaluating Offers.” Again, take a look at the headings listed here.  Under “More Information” it suggests you visit us, your local library.  It also provides links to five articles from Occupational Outlook Quarterly.  All in all, there is a treasure trove of information here provided at no cost from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.  You can take the information at your own pace, checking out a little or a lot.

You can find the print copy of the 2010-11 Occupational Outlook Handbook in the reference stacks of the Newton Free Library.   Look for the call number R 331.7 O15O. You can find the online version on your home computer at http://www.bls.gov/oco/.

JOB-SEEKER ADVICE: Tips for finding, getting, and keeping a job

May 11, 2010

I have been searching for a local site that gives useful, but compact, information on searching for a job. I hate sites that feel their work is done when they throw down a long list of undifferentiated web addresses or tips for you to follow.  You (or at least I) don’t look at any of them.

I think “Job-Seeker Advice” on the boston.com website comes close to fitting the bill. It has good advice, but usually doesn’t give you so much of it that you get overwhelmed.  They do have some lists.  “Globe Top 100 Places to Work” or “Linkedin Help” are good examples.  In lists of 100, they often give you ten at a time to skim.  In a list of tips, they usually give you one at a time.  The site is divided into seven topics.  The topics are Choose a Career, Organize your Search, Resumes, Network, Interview, Workplace, and Layoffs. You have to scroll down on the main page to find the topics you want to see.

 If you use this site, I’d love to hear what you think of it.  Did it help you?  Did you find it easy to use or not?  What did you like and not like about it?  As with my classes, I can really use feedback.  It helps me to make decisions on what to put in the blog that you need and can use.

Glassdoor.com See what employees are saying

April 20, 2010

At Glassdoor.com you will find reviews of companies, salary ranges, and interview questions for over 80,000 companies.  The information is provided by employees of these companies or by people who have been interviewed there.  Since the information and companies covered are dependent upon people who are willing to post information, not all companies are included.  If a company you are considering is listed here, you may find information that will help you get that job you are applying for.  It may also warn you about problems within a specific company that you will want to consider.   It’s worth a look.  And if your company is not included, it is worth rechecking this site periodically.  The number of companies covered continues to grow.  Click here or the logo above to check it out.

Job Interview skills

March 26, 2009

A good discussion on job interviewing . This site lists questions and the “best” answers.  Also included is a discussion of behavioral interviewing!