The Internet is chock full of great information, but give me one good reference librarian and I’ll out-research you any day. That makes me and the candidates I send to my client companies your worst nightmare and your biggest competition when you’re looking for a job. Get thee to the library.

Your reference librarian: The indispensable edge

Did you know that in most communities you can pick up the phone and your local reference librarian will take your research request (24 hours a day, in some places), dig up the relevant materials you need, and have it all ready for you when you arrive — or on the phone or via e-mail?

Sure, you can look up a company or its CEO on Google — but what do you really know about the credibility of the results you find? When’s the last time you scrolled to the 10th page of results to find an obscure but critical morsel of information that happens to rank low on Google simply because no other website links to it? That morsel might give you the competitive advantage that makes you stand out as the best job candidate.

How do you even know Google is the best tool to find information you can use? The bottom line is, a trained reference librarian is indispensable to your job search. (See Will Librarians Be The Overseers Of The Information Age?)

Deploy the keepers of information

Whether you need to know what cities a company has operations in, which conference the CEO will keynote shortly, or how an obscure publication recently critiqued the company’s technology, a librarian can deliver the answers: charts, books, statistics, references, lists, articles, you name it.

Not only is the information out there; an expert researcher will find it for you. For free. (Well, your tax dollars pay for it whether you use the service or not.) So deploy your library resources.

When you walk into a job interview, there’s no excuse for not knowing something. Meet the keepers of the information. Get thee to the library.

(See Get Hired: 3 steps to become the wired insider for the job.)

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