SCLA/PLDA Civil Service Program Addresses Timely Topic

Wednesday morning’s workshop, How to Fill Out a Training & Experience Exam, at the Brentwood Public Library was a testimony to the power of open communication and collaboration. Everyone involved in putting together the joint program between the SCLA Civil Service Committee and PLDA should be commended for organizing an informative event.

Were you back at your library serving the library users of Suffolk County? No worries; here are the highlights:

We heard a pep talk and introduction from Lindenhurst Library Director Peter Ward. Peter understood that he was addressing future library leaders. “The positions that require these exams,” Peter said, “are the positions in the library where you will meet your full potential.” If Peter’s statement resonates with you, keep reading.

The program, he went on to explain, was primarily put together to address stories he’s heard of candidates losing points as a result of mistakes they made filling out the training and experience exams. He also referred to the natural cycle of library administrators retiring and librarians moving up the ranks. “Some of us are getting long in the tooth.” Peter joked. “If you hear someone go down, get your resume out.” This was met with laughs of course, but Peter went on to say with all seriousness that “there are going to be a lot of opportunities, but you have to be ready for them.”

Next Peter introduced Cheryl of Suffolk County’s Civil Service Department, who Peter referred to as a “stone cold killer.” If by that he means she is a professional who knows her stuff and is completely approachable, well then yes, she is! Remember Cheryl’s name when you call Civil Service. She’ll be glad to help you with your questions. Here are some of the actions she recommended:

  • Cheryl reminded us that reporting your experience on civil service exams is all about dividing what you do up into percentages. A good way to start this process is to make a list of what you do in a week and assign percentages.
  • Attending the computational review (which is usually offered on a Saturday morning after the scores are released) is key to understanding how the scoring was done and making improvements for the next time around.
  • Start early. The deadline is midnight on February 29th. Do not wait until the last minute in case you have questions or computer network issues.
  • Read the exam through before filling in any experience. This will help you match your experience to the right section.
  • Read the directions. : )

I’d wish you good luck, but that’s not what you need. You need plenty of time to thoroughly read the instructions, answer the questions, and to pick up the phone and call Civil Service if you have questions.

For those of you who have read this far I’ll close with a key piece of advice Cheryl shared with the group regarding reporting work experience:

“If you’re in doubt whether or not to include something, put it in.”

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