Planning and Researching
Step 1: Register for an Email Address
- A popular provider of web-based email accounts is Google Gmail,
- Note: Gmail asks new registrants for a cell phone number, so if you do not have a cell phone that can receive text messages, please select another email service.
- Note: If you will be using this email account to contact employers, consider selecting a professional-sounding email address (ex: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
Step 2: Develop Your Computer Skills
Take courses on LearningExpress Library‘s Popular Software Tutorials page on Microsoft Office programs, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Mac and Windows Operating Systems. You can find LearningExpress Library on our databases page.
Note: You will need a valid library card to use LearningExpress Library. Need to reset your PIN? Click here.
Step 3: Research a Career
Use these resources to research a career before you submit an application and to evaluate a position after you have received a job offer.
- Use LearningExpress Library’s Interest Matcher and Skills Matcher quiz to find a career that’s the right fit for your skills and interest. Visit our databases page and click on LearningExpress Library to get started.
- The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics contains information about specific careers. Entries describe what the work in a particular field is like, what compensation and benefits can be expected, and what qualifications are required. The “Job Outlook” section of each job entry shows projections about the number of jobs in that field in the years to come.
- O*Net, produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, describes what a job or career is “really like” by exploring the common features of different careers.
- MyNextMove.org, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, can be accessed either by a keyword search, browsing known industries, or answering survey questions. The site is also available in Spanish.
- Career One-Stop, also sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, can be used to research a career, look at detailed, state-specific occupation and industry profiles, use self-assessment tools, and learn more about salaries & benefits, education & training, and resumes & interviews.
Step 4: Research a Potential Employer
- Visit the company’s website. Review the annual report, strategic plan, or financial disclosure documents about the company prior to an interview.
- Ask a librarian or visit the Reference Room to find information about a company in the LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations (look for REF 658 LEX 2017 in the Reference Room).
- Look for the company’s listing with the Better Business Bureau.
Avoid Employment-Related Scams
- Protect your personal information.
- Learn more about how to avoid job scams from the Federal Trade Commission.
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service maintains a page detailing how to protect yourself from identity theft.
Looking for Jobs Online
- Career Builder is an online job marketplace affiliated with 90 newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun. Registered users can also post résumés and set up job alerts.
- Career One-Stop includes a nationwide job-search tool.
- Craigslist search for location by state and city or region.
- Idealist connects “idealists with opportunities for action” Includes NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations), non-profits, educational institutions.
- Indeed collects job listings from many different websites of all kinds, presenting you with a wide range of vacancies from multiple sources.
- LinkedIn is good for networking and learning from colleagues in your field.
- Job Fetch includes job ads from local newspapers in DC, MD and VA. JobFetch includes information on continuing education, company profiles, and career resources.
- LinkUp is a job search engine that focuses on job postings on company websites.
- Monster is a large site listing multiple vacancies. Sign up to upload resumes & apply for jobs.
- SnagAJob lists part-time and full-time hourly jobs and is a great place to look for customer service work, and if you want to start work immediately.
- Federal jobs are listed at USAjobs.gov.
- The United States Department of Labor provides additional information about the Federal Job application process.
Employment for Ex-Offenders
Span, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt corporation based in Boston dedicated to assisting people who have been in prison to address the issues that brought them to prison. Their career development services assist recently released offenders in finding work and developing their career goals.
The mission of Dismas is to reconcile former prisoners to society, and society to former prisoners, through the development of a supportive community. Dismas House is located in Worcester.
The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding for the first six months of employment for hard-to-place job applicants. Eligible employees receive their bond letter from a local bonding services coordinator at a One-Stop Career Center
Completing an Online Application
- Learn about online applications from LearningExpress Library’s “How to Fill Out a Job Application”. Visit LearningExpress Library from the library’s databases page.
Note: Write down and remember usernames and passwords for job sites and email, and remember the answers to security questions. Without this information, you will not be able to recover passwords to access email or profiles on employment websites.
Note: Allow enough time to complete an online application, and be prepared to be directed to a follow-up evaluation or assessment after submitting an application.
Writing a Resume
Collect and organize information about your work history, education and references prior to writing a resume.
- Use LearningExpress Library’s Resume Builder to start building your resume. Visit the library’s databases page and click on LearningExpress Library to get started.
- Use O*NET Occupation Quick Search for ideas for your resume. The skills section has good action verbs and descriptions for most professions
- Career One-Stop’s resumes and interviews.
Writing a Cover Letter
A cover letter should:
- Be written specifically for each application.
- Amplify and reinforce (but not repeat) the sections of your resume that are relevant to the vacancy for which you are applying.
- Positively connect your previous experience to the open position.
- Explain why you are the best candidate for the position.
- Virginia Tech’s Cover letters: types and samples.
- Purdue University’s how to write a cover letter.
- Search for “interviewing” in Lynda.com. Access Lynda.com from our homepage.
- Search for “job interviews that get you hired” in LearningExpress Library. Visit the library’s databases pageand click on LearningExpress Library to get started.
- Purdue University’s preparing for the interview and what to do during and after the interview.
Career Support at Massachusetts Libraries
Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center @ Boston Public Library
700 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116
Lower Level, Johnson Building
The Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center (KBLIC) offers job hunting and career information, resources for business owners and investors, co-working spaces, public computers, and access to business directories and industry statistics. Media creators, innovators, job seekers, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, investors, coders, and makers are welcome.
If you would like more assistance with your job search, please get in touch.
Call (508) 457-2555 x6 or use our contact form on our website.
Interested in working for the library? Check our employment page for current listings.