Submitted by Debra Werner, President, Midwest Chapter; edited by Jennifer K. Lloyd, AHIP, and Annette Parde-Maass, AHIP
Congratulations to the Midwest Chapter for winning the 2017 Majors/MLA Chapter Project of the Year Award! The Midwest Chapter was honored at the President’s Awards Dinner during MLA ’17 in Seattle, Washington, for its project, “A Pilot Mentoring Program for Library Students and New Graduates to Better Prepare for Interviewing for Health Sciences Librarian Professional Positions.”
The Resume/Interview Practice Pilot Program was conceived of and implemented by Midwest Chapter membership secretary, Stephanie Schulte. Andrea C. Kepsel, AHIP, and Emily M. Johnson, AHIP, both contributed to the project by providing feedback on the program’s evaluation results.
The program matched students and recent graduates of library or information science programs with mentors for a two-month period. During this time, the mentees submitted their CVs or resumes to their mentors, followed by two thirty-minute meetings. The first was for the mentor to provide feedback on the mentee’s CV or resume. The second meeting was to practice interviewing: the mentor asked interview questions, the mentee answered, and at the end, they discussed what went well and how to improve.
At the end of the program, both mentors and mentees were asked to fill out a survey about their experiences. An evaluation of the program conducted in April 2016 revealed that all respondents were extremely or somewhat satisfied with the program and that 71% of the meetings went longer than the required 30 minutes, lasting 30–60 minutes. Several suggestions were also made on how to improve on the program, such as expanding the duration of the program to allow for a third meeting, providing an online resource site, and so on.
Matthew Noe, one of the mentees, had this to say about the program:
Looking back on it, I think the most valuable part of the experience was the opportunity to bounce ideas off of someone already well-established—something I prize as a first-generation, imposter-syndrome bearing new professional. The confidence that I gained through our conversation proved valuable, as I am now working as a Library Fellow at the UMASS Medical School Lamar Soutter Library. I hope that the program not only continues moving forward, but that it can expand and provide a pathway into the profession for even more new graduates.
The Midwest Chapter plans to move this program out of the pilot phase and implement it as an ongoing program. Thank you to Stephanie Schulte for recognizing the need that students and recent graduates have in developing their interviewing skills and creating a quality, high-impact CV or resume, and then planning and implementing something to address that need. Thanks also to all of those who have helped with or participated in this program.