I’ll confess, I’ve always had a soft spot for libraries. Whether it’s the quiet ambiance, the invaluable amounts of history they preserve, or the addictive chemicals I suspect might be present in book-binding glue, I’ve always enjoyed spending large chunks of quality time “among the stacks” throughout my life.
Honestly, though, I haven’t physically visited a library in years. Or even thought all that much about them, given that the rise of the web eliminated the need to rely heavily on such institutions for much of the research involved in the job-hunting process. Recently, however, I was prepping for a workshop and took a few moments to log into the King County Library System website (www.kcls.org) just to poke around — using my trusty library card — and I had a great time “rediscovering” some of the traditional resources that were available, as well as some new tools I don’t recall encountering previously.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the available offerings for those of you, like me, who haven’t frequented the local library circuit in quite some time. While the links provided all require a KCLS Library Card to access, my hunch is that many of these tools are also available through other library systems, if you inquire accordingly:
• D&B Million Dollar Directory: This time-tested corporate directory provides data on over 34 million companies around the globe, allowing you to search via a dizzying number of parameters including traditional criteria like Size, Location, and Industry — as well as more obscure fields such as Year Established, Import/Export Activity, or Employment Growth.
• Reference USA: Similar to the D&B directory above, ReferenceUSA contains information on 24 million U.S. businesses and features (in my opinion) a much more streamlined and easy-to-use interface. It allows for the creation of company lists using many common criteria, as well as a few interesting options like Executive Ethnicity, Yellow Page Ad Size, and Square Footage.
• Gale Business Insights|Essentials: Looking to do some deep-dive research on specific industries or organizations, prior to an interview? This engaging tool contains a potpourri of different features, including the ability to look up individual SWOT reports evaluating the viability of certain firms, uncover white papers projecting the future of various industries, and access a tool allowing for the comparison of two companies against one another in various ways.
• ABI Inform/ProQuest: Allows you to search for company info within a massive array of publications including full-text newspaper articles, trade journals, scholarly journals, wire feeds, magazines, and more. If you’re looking to uncover every last tidbit of press a potential employer might have gained over the years, this site’s your new best friend.
• Premium Resume-Builder & Career Tools: While I’ll confess I don’t feel these resources are quite as “premium” as the name implies (although I should probably recuse myself from saying this, due to self-interest) I was still pleasantly surprised to see that the library sponsors access to an application that walks people through the process of building a basic resume — as well as to access some supplemental tools related to interview preparation and job search success.
In closing, again, this is just a short list of the top resources a library member might access to gain an edge in the job hunting process. If you poke around, either via a trip to your local branch or some online exploration, I guarantee you’ll find quite a few other tools, as well, that might be useful to have tucked into your back pocket when looking for work!