Monday, December 21, 2009

Organized and orderly, a job seeker's online library--by Vickie Elmer

In a special to the Washington Post Jobs Section on December 20th, 2009, Vickie Elmer wrote the following:

Founder of Web portal Riley Guide helps job hunters

By Vickie Elmer

Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Margaret F. Dikel abruptly ended her career as a university librarian more than a decade ago, frustrated and unprepared to support herself. But she drew on her extensive research and cataloguing skills -- and a well-formed network -- to build a new career helping other job seekers find work.
Dikel is the creator and owner of the Riley Guide, which can be found at  Online since 1994, the job search and career portal is one of the Web's oldest career sites.
"I try to be very general," she said, to "hit the spectrum . . . of all kinds of job areas, all kinds of industries, all job levels."
Her site has a simplicity and order that shows her librarian's mind-set of making resources easy to find. Resources cover topics from career information for actuaries to zookeepers, to adventurous work opportunities and to job hunters' rights.
"I get so many résumés sent to me. I get international calls" seeking career advice, she said. Questions come from librarians or career counselors, and from job hunters themselves. She sends them to specific pages or resources listed on the Riley Guide. A few prompt her to research, and a new post will go up in a day or two. She's added sections on the 30-second elevator pitch and using employment kiosks in stores. And she created a page with links to all 51 of the unemployment insurance online filing systems because of concerns about scams.
"What makes Margaret and stand out is Margaret's attention to detail, her thoroughness, her intelligence, and -- most of all -- her honesty," said Susan P. Joyce, editor and publisher of Job-Hunt, at  The two women are "supportive colleagues" who share opinions and ideas on job hunt information. " is the best, most up-to-date directory of job search resources available. I don't know of an equivalent, or better, directory."
Dikel notes that she's not a career coach or recruiter, so she tries not to give too much advice herself. Instead she shares what she's learned from reading and research.
Still, she reminds people that they need face-to-face connections, as well as online connections through LinkedIn and Facebook. "The true connection has to be more personal," she said. She also suggested that people who have specialized careers "get into the more targeted search" by looking at specialized sites and organizations.
One of the hardest parts of running the Riley Guide is keeping up with the huge array of Internet-based employment and career information -- and deciding which is valuable. "It's a tsunami," she said. "We're drowning in this stuff."
Before listing any article or Web site, she spends at least 15 minutes -- and sometimes up to an hour -- reading its pages and evaluating both the creators and the content. "Anything I list I'm generally endorsing," she said.

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