AS THE SCHOOL YEAR WANES, I’ve spent the last few days grading electronic portfolios for a cadre of SLIS students. The portfolio is part of their culminating experience at San José and serves as a lexicon of learning, detailing experiences and evidence of their mastery of our competencies. It promotes a high degree of self-evaluation by articulating a statement of professional philosophy. Truth be told, both students and practitioners can benefit from careful consideration of what it means to be a professional in libraries in 2012.
In a market where one library job may have 200 applicants, how do you set yourself apart? Demonstrating skills is one way. A well-crafted cover letter outlining pertinent experience and pointers to an e-portfolio or online vita with links to social networking presence and other evidence is a good start. [For sample cover letters that work, see opencoverletters.com, the brainchild of LJ Mover & Shaker Stephen X. Flynn.—Ed.] Focusing on professionalism, foundational values, and service throughout all of these resources can set you apart. No library experience? Seek out an internship or volunteer opportunity to establish some evidence of your own contributions to the field.
Read the whole column here: http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2012/05/opinion/michael-stephens/office-hours-professionalism-matters/