TEL & Career Transitions: Connecting People with Jobs

By Steven Hicks and Kim Martin

For job seekers, libraries play a crucial role in career discovery, development, and overall assistance. In fact, almost one quarter of library visitors are there to look or apply for a job, according to the Pew Research Center. 1. To further solidify the library’s role as a hub for employment resources, in July, 2014 President Obama signed into law the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, identifying public libraries as potential partners of the American Job Center network, and acknowledging libraries’ ability to provide an expansive array of job search services.

Career Transitions, an online resource from Gale, assists users with career exploration and offers a complete, personalized and guided experience from assessing strengths and interests, to finding new career opportunities, to ultimately completing professional resumes and improving the chances of landing jobs.

The Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL) provides convenient and free access to Career Transitions and other quality digital resources to Tennessee residents to help improve lives and move communities forward.

TEL’s Administrator Erin Loree said: “When I show people how to use Career Transitions, they are always amazed at everything they can do with this resource. Many are unaware that, in addition to creating a resume, you can research different career paths, search job postings, and practice interviewing. Patrons find it easy to use and I love that I’ve had dozens of librarians tell me about how Career Transitions has helped their patrons find good, well-paying jobs.”

Ms. Loree often speaks with libraries across the state and hears first-hand accounts of the real outcomes associated with Career Transitions. Here are two of her favorites:

From Judi Reynolds, Library Director at Meigs County – Decatur Public Library:

This past April, I arrived at the library and found a gentleman waiting at the door. He had been laid off and unemployed for several months. He came to the library to see if we could help him. He had little experience creating a resume and was uncomfortable using computers. I asked a few questions to determine his needs, then sat down with him at one of our public computers and showed him how to access Career Transitions on TEL. He created a basic resume with minimal instruction. Then we worked together to search for jobs using the same resource….He applied for a job that we found. Within the week, he notified us at the library that he got the job.

 Career Transitions provided the tools he needed to not only find and apply for jobs in his field, but to improve his rate of pay to a salary almost double the amount he made in the past! I hope you’ll share this story about the value of TEL, and specifically the value of Career Transitions.

Another heartwarming story comes from Obion River Regional Director, Mary Vaughan Carpenter:

As a regional library director, I am continually sharing with community members, family, and friends about all of the many helpful resources in the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL), especially with my 17- year-old twin daughters who are currently seniors in high school. Between preparing for the ACT, and receiving help with homework assignments, Libby and Molly have been made well aware of this wonderful resource available without charge to all Tennesseans.

 My daughter Molly had her eye on a black Jeep in the car lot next to the library, but with her bank account near empty and no job prospects in our small town, car ownership seemed unlikely.

 Wanting to help, I opened up the TEL website and went to the Career Transitions and listed our zip code, with a parameter of five miles. Five pages of jobs immediately were displayed; probably about 10 percent of these were entry level jobs for which any teen would be qualified. With a quick hug and peck on the cheek, my teenager was out the door.

 I was surprised that two hours later, I had a text from Molly. “Guess who the weekend cook is at The Arbors?” This is a memory care home in our community, where the girls’ grandmother is a patient. Surprisingly, both girls were hired, working opposite weekend shifts. And, this had indeed been one of the jobs posted in Career Transitions.

Their father and I are thrilled! They are gaining invaluable life lessons, earning money to save for college, and spending precious time with their grandmother. Oh, the Jeep, it turned out to not be such a good deal when she and her dad calculated the payment, insurance and how long it would take to repay. So, thanks to TEL, that turned out to be a good lesson, too!

If you’re interested in accessing a free trial for Career Transitions, visit

We’d like nothing more than to open our inbox in the future and find a letter from you about how your library helped someone with his or her career.


1 Horrigan, John. “Libraries at the Crossroads: Pew Research Center, September 2015,

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