You attend the Career Development workshops, you thoroughly reviewed the Networking section of the Career Development resource site, and you have practiced your networking skills when you’ve gone to the ALA Annual Conference, but you are questioning the hype about networking and wondering why this job search strategy doesn’t seem to be working for you. Perhaps you have missed the final step of networking.
Successful networking isn’t really successful unless you do one last thing and that is take action and follow through. I see it like this, with every networking contact you make there is an opportunity attached to it and it comes down to you whether you choose to act on that opportunity or not.
Do you have questions about your chosen career path? Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the possible jobs open to iSchool graduates? Have you come across a job title that sounds interesting but you have no idea what it really means? I promise you, you are not alone. I had (what I thought were) firm plans when I entered the program, but the more options I learned about, the fuzzier that path got.
Enter: Alumni Career Spotlights. These show us how iSchool grads are using their degrees in Real Life, and many of them are very open to answering a few questions via email or even through informational interviews. You can search the listings by keyword, name, year graduated, and/or degree earned.
A few quick examples to whet your appetite:
The big one, ALA’s Annual Conference, is coming up in June, as is SLA’s, and SAA’s starts in July. So, hopefully, you’ve thought about attending a professional conference (I argue: you should!!). Please, let us know in the comments! Maybe you’ll even discover some fellow Spartans you can connect with.
You did it! You just found your dream job. A position that sounds like a perfect fit for you. You feel like this is the reason you went to iSchool. Your pulse is racing and you have butterflies in your stomach—you are so excited. But you know you aren’t ready for it.
You feel like this just isn’t the right time. You are still working on your MLIS. The position is full time, and you aren’t ready to make that commitment. It would also be a long commute, and that is more than you want to take on right now. What do you do?
If you honestly know that the timing is not right to apply for this job, don’t do it. It would be a waste of your time and of the company’s time. But, I would not let this opportunity slip away. It’s a perfect time to follow up with the hiring manager or another contact in the department to get more information about the position and the type of candidate they are seeking. It’s time to do an informational interview.
Recently, Library Journal surveyed academic and public library directors, as well as some LIS movers and shakers, to learn what skills they think librarians will need in the next 20 years. For students, that means having the 11 skills on this list will help you get a job. Do any of these look familiar? They should! Note: I’ve taken the skill name from the original source, but the descriptions are mine.
Library directors want librarians who can demonstrate and explain the value of their library to their community, politicians, budget committees, and donors, among others. Information professionals should be comfortable and articulate when interacting with lots of kinds of people.
Last month, Jill Klees (our iSchool Career Center Liaison) hosted a Colloquium entitled “Applying for a Library Job? Do This!” that featured two library hiring managers who discussed what they look for in applicants and preparation tips. They also answered audience questions at the end of the hour. They shared a ton of really relevant, practical information. This is the second (Part 1 here) of a two-part series where I’m sharing what I learned, and I also promise to get answers to your questions. Keep reading!
Last month, Jill Klees (our iSchool Career Center Liaison) hosted a Colloquium entitled “Applying for a Library Job? Do This!” that featured two library hiring managers who discussed what they look for in applicants and preparation tips. They also answered audience questions at the end of the hour. They shared a ton of really relevant, practical information. In the first of a two-part series, I’ll share what I learned, and I also promise to get answers to your questions. Keep reading!
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Give me your best example of providing outstanding customer service. What does being a team player mean to you and share an example that demonstrates it? How do you build rapport with a difficult team member? If you are in job / internship search mode, you might very well be faced with answering one of these thought provoking questions. These questions are situational or behavioral interview questions, and the interviewer is looking for a particular kind of answer from you.
It might help to understand the big picture of where these questions are coming from. The purpose of asking situational or behavioral questions is:
• to get to know you,
• to understand your work style,
• to see how you handle stressful situations, and
• to learn more about your personality style.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting lots of emails about the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference that’s happening in June in Orlando, FL. Right now, they seem to be shouting warnings at me that the “early bird” rates will expire soon, so I should register now. But should I? Conventional wisdom emphatically says, “YES!”
I am currently a few months into my free ALA membership, thanks to taking INFO 200 last semester. I know that I really should do more with ALA and other professional associations starting now, while I’m still a student. But why? And how? A little research reveals all.
Well, because networking. And continuing education. And experience. And inspiration.
If you are a current MLIS student, you may be wondering why you should be worrying about career development now. I get it - school, work, and life keep you plenty busy, so why add something else to your plate? Well, it turns out that school is a relatively short period of time and you will be done before you know it. If you haven’t started preparing for your career before you graduate, you won’t have the scaffolding in place to build your post-school life.
Kim Dority over at Infonista argues that while grades are of course important (especially if you have funding dependent on maintaining a certain GPA), school is the time to stretch yourself and grow professionally – it’s a safe space to learn new skills, challenge yourself, and perhaps even recover from failures. Dority writes: