How Do You Look for a Job While You Still Have One?

April 3, 2012

Looking for another job? Don't look like this at your current one.

This is a question that comes up periodically when I’m teaching my “Applying for a Job Online” class here at the library.  How you deal with your  current employer and co-workers as you look for a new position can be a tricky situation.  Brian Moore was  short, sweet, and to the point in yesterday’s New York Post (2 April 2012, page 33). In his title “Mum’s the Word“, he sums up the first of his seven rules —  Keep Quiet.  You don’t tell anyone where you work that you are looking, not your boss nor any of  your co-workers, unless you have someone you know you can completely trust.  It’s a good way to either get fired or get sabotaged. If your boss is as unhappy with you as you are with your job, it’s a nice excuse to replace you.  Also taking on an attitude like our friend in the picture telegraphs the “I am out of here as soon as possible” message just as much as telling your boss outright.  And it won’t win friends among your co-workers either.

I am very lucky and very unusual in that I love my job and the place I work and have been able to stay here for twenty six years and counting.  However, at one point in my past, I learned the hard way that I had to go around my boss.  I told him I was looking for another job and asked him for a recommendation.  He seemed fine with it.  Then I noticed a funny thing happening.  I had some great interviews.  The only thing left to clinch the deal  was checking my references. It was always at that point that I got my rejection notice.  I suspected what was going on and asked the head of another department, who knew my work well, for a recommendation and used him in place of my boss.  I got the second job I applied for after I switched up my references.  When I went to tell my boss I had another position, he did not look happy and  the first thing he said to me was “Nobody contacted me.”  Brian Moore is absolutely right.  Keep quiet. Your future boss will understand.

This leads me into another  major rule. Never at any point disparage your current employer or your fellow co-workers either as you are working on your exit strategy or after you land your new job.  Always put a positive spin on why you are looking for work elsewhere, both in your resume and interviews.  If you start bad mouthing your boss or co-workers, it will give the people checking you out second thoughts about hiring you.  It does not make you look good.  Also, unless you are a psychic, you do not know what the future holds.  Five years down the line one of your co-workers may be in a position to hire you for your dream job. If you left them on good terms or bad will make all the difference.

There is a lot of common sense advice in this article and I would strongly advise that you check out all of Mr. Moore’s rules.  They could actually help you get a job, now and in the future.  Just click on “Mum’s the Word.”  You also might want to make a practice of checking out the New York Post online on Mondays.  The material in their @Work section, whether it’s the cover story, their Q&A Career Coach (Gregory Giangrande) or other job search related material they add from time to time, has been of tremendous help to me from the point I took over this blog  two and a half years ago.  And I’m not even looking for a job.  Imagine what it could do for you.

Good luck.

vea/3 April 2012
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.
Applying for Job LibGuide


Taxes, Deductions, and Your Job Hunt

October 4, 2011

Have you discovered that the federal tax code appears not to allow many, if any, deductions for the expenses of a  job search?  Laura Saunders decided to share information on this topic in The Wall Street Journal.  The article explains the dos and do nots of deducting your job search expenses from your federal taxes.  Unless you are very familiar with the tax code, the author hands over some very useful, and probably unfamiliar, ideas about what you can do to legitimately save yourself some money.  Take a look at “Write Off Your Job Hunt” by  clicking on the picture (above left), the article’s title, or here.  The piece was originally published in the WSJ’s Weekend Investor Section on September 24, 2011.

One of the many joys about working in a library is that you get to work with other librarians.  We tend to be a generous lot who like to share what we find. The article I am citing here is a case in point.  Knowing I do this blog, a  librarian in the Reference Department discovered and shared the above with me for you.

Good luck with your job hunt.

vea/4 October 2011
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass.
Applying for Job LibGuide

Before and After: Great Cover Letters and Thank You Notes

March 1, 2011

"The Reader" in the Snow by the Newton Free LibraryTammy Gooler Loeb, one of our two intrepid career coach speakers, has a deceptively simple talk this month, how to write a good cover letter (before) and thank you notes  (after) you’ve been interviewed.  If you are a job hunter, I would strongly suggest you come in and see what Tammy’s session has to offer.

In this “Brave New World” of the job hunt, you first have to figure out if you even need to write up a cover letter or whether it is sufficient just to send along a resume.  (See my class below regarding that “sending along” process.)  Whatever you decide,  you still need a basic cover letter.  Writing it is daunting. Tammy will show you how to make your cover letters effective and save you time (and perhaps embarrassment) by avoiding common mistakes.

I was very glad to see that thank you notes are also being covered. People underestimate the importance of writing these troublesome little creatures. I always mention them in my class as an example of a guerrilla tactic for the job hunter.  How can something so civilized be a “guerrilla” tactic?  Because so few people take the time to do it.  And it pays great dividends when done right. It may make the difference between which of two good candidates for a position actually gets hired.  It not only helps the interviewers remember precisely who you are, but to remember you positively.

All you have to do to hear Tammy is to come to Newton Free Library’s  Druker Auditorium on Tuesday, March 22nd at 7:00. (Take your first left after you come into the building from the parking lot. Then it’s the first door on your left.) A small expenditure of time and a few steps may help you get hired.


This month’s class on “Applying for a Job Online” will be held the day after Tammy’s talk, on Wednesday, the 23rd of March from 2:30 to 3:30. The class is located in the library’s computer training room on the second floor near the top of the front staircase. There are only ten computer stations so we ask you to call us and register to save your place.  The phone number is 1-617-796-1380

The class covers the use of several online databases, gives tips on dealing with applying for a job online, and shows in detail how to change your formatted resume into plain text. Having a plain text copy of your resume (or cover letter) is critical when you want to send it in the body of your email or when you need to cut and paste it into an online job application. There is a large amount of material to go over, so classes can sometimes run overtime. You will be given handouts of everything covered in class. You should be able to follow the handouts and  do at home most of what we do in class.


Women in Career Transitionwill meet on Tuesday, the 15th of March at 7:30 p.m. in Room A. The meeting room is in the group of rooms directly across from Druker Auditorium.  The purpose of the club is to provide information, share concerns, and give support.  It is led by Joyce Picard, a Career Counselor.  If you are interested or have questions, you may call her at 1-617-969-5673.

vea/1 March 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.

Proceed Carefully When Using

November 17, 2010

I often find among suggested resources for jobseekers. Many people assume that if a site is listed, it is credible and safe. Where craigslist is concerned, I have reservations about recommending it without adding a few caveats first. It can be a dangerous site to use.  You may come up with some helpful results.  You may also end up being the victim of a job scam or identity theft with you wallet being decidedly lighter than when you started.  You have to know what you are doing on the Internet in general, but especially with sites like Craigslist where anyone can post an ad. 

I was looking through various blog sites and postings for information on the scams that you might fall prey to in your search for work.  I have listed four of them below.  Click on the titles to read up on some of the things that can go seriously wrong when you are on craigslist. 

How to Avoid Job Scams on CraigsList

Craigslist Scams – 20 Ways to Identify Fake Job Scams

Craigslist Job SCAMS!!!

Craigslist Job Scams: Be Careful Responding to Craigslist Employment Ads

There is also a section on itself that you might want to look at after you read some or all of the above. Click here to see what the list itself has to say.

It is up to you to decide if Craigslist is worth the risk.  If you do decide to check it out, make sure of one more thing — that you type the address correctly.  It’s craigs, not craig. It’s list, not lists.  It’s .org, not .com.  You get the idea.  Whenever you are on the Internet, make absolutely sure you have the right address to begin with and that you are typing it correctly.  Scam artists thrive on misspelled and incorrectly typed web addresses. 

17 November 2010/vea
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 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

If you want to check the main site for Massachusetts state government, go to  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.

Good Advice to be Found on the JobSpice Blog

September 9, 2010

As you have probably noticed, my personal blogging style is finding a topic I think will help you out and then writing about it, incorporating links to other sites or other postings within that topic. I don’t like overwhelming people.  You’re under enough stress at the moment as it is.   Thanks to a reply that another blogger left for me, I learned of a blog that is packed with first hand information from someone who has been through a relatively recent job hunt. I have looked at this blog a number of times.  It has short, well written articles with advice on effective interviewing, writing resumes, using guerilla tactics, even an article about cover letters.  There is a great deal of free advice here that the author is passing along.  The articles are well worth reading.

The blog is so good that I could not pass it by.  But I did have to think about how I was going to handle it.  The blog is the free part of a commercial resume builder site. As a public library reference librarian, I do not  recommend anything that you have to buy, online or off.  I have never used anything on the site I am discussing except the free blog.  I realize that just as I would recommend the “Learning Center” of (a free section of a subscription database), I am recommending the JobSpice blog (also a free section of a commercial website).  To take a look, click on JobSpice Blog and pick your topic from the right hand frame. Let me know what you think.