Although it may not seem obvious at first glance, your MLIS degree gives you lots of options in terms of a career. Believe it or not, the skills you learn in our programs actually make you highly qualified for lots of different jobs. Think about what you've been doing in school for a second, and then think about what skills those activities involve (or, better yet, write them down!):
Looking for a job takes a lot of time and energy. In fact, you may have heard that job searching is a full-time job in itself. That is at least when you do your job search the right way. A half-fast job search is a waste of your precious time and energy. Your confidence and self-esteem may also take a beating due to the constant feelings of rejection when you don’t hear anything back from employers.
If you are looking for a job, here are 5 things NOT to do.
Yippee! You have a phone interview scheduled. This is a screening call to determine if the employer would like to invite you in-house for a face-to-face. This is not the time to wing it and just go with the flow. A phone screen interview is a real interview and it is a big deal. This is your opportunity to shine and make a positive first impression.
Here are my top 5 tips to phone interview success.
1. Prepare answers to common interview questions.
Just like a face-to-face interview, you’ll want to be prepared and feel comfortable and confident answering questions like:
Do you feel stuck in the catch 22 of needing experience to get hired but feel like you can’t get experience because no one will hire you? Not to worry. There is a solution. Experience can come in many different forms. You’ll want to start early as an MLIS student, be flexible, open minded, and think BIG.
1. Start early – as soon as you can, begin thinking of opportunities to gain experience and develop new skills. Keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to put the skills you are learning in the virtual classroom to use in a practical way. Don’t wait until you are graduating to think about getting experience. This is a process that is part of your life as a student and goes hand-in-hand with taking your MLIS courses.
2. Be flexible – be willing to try out and take advantage of diverse opportunities that come your way. Think of each experience, whether paid or unpaid, as an opportunity to gain new skills and relevant experience.
Here is a secret formula for success to making it as an informational professional. Alumna Christina Mune (MLIS 2011) shared her 3 hints for making a smooth transition from student to professional in what I like to call, secret tips for success. Hint #1 is to expand your horizons. Hint #2 is to be strategic, and hint #3 is to get good at something.
Hint #1 - Expand your horizons of LIS possibilities.
• Take a class or two outside of your track of interest to gain a broader perspective.
• Go on A LOT of informational interviews inside and outside your areas of interest.
• Vary the topics you choose to use in your class assignments – be open-minded and diverse. This is the time when you get to experiment and try out different areas of interest.
• Do internships at a variety of places to diversify your experience and to reality test different options.
Hint #2 - Be strategic.
Have you seen the recent Library Journal salary survey? This annual survey looks at salaries, job placements, and emerging trends in job titles and skills for LIS professionals.
This year, for first time ever, LJ survey respondents stressed the importance of building and using strong job search skills, alongside the LIS-specific skills and experience students gain in master’s degree LIS programs. Excellent job search skills and strategies are critical to help today’s students transition to new professional LIS jobs. From the LJ article: “New for this year, we are looking beyond the outcome of the search and focusing on the search process itself in hopes of providing future graduates with some insight for developing their own successful strategies. The search process begins while seekers are still students”.
“While success in finding a job was high, the search process demanded perseverance and preparation.”
LJ survey participants identified many resources they used during the search, and the article enumerates some of these resources.
It is no secret that conducting a job search can sometimes elicit feelings of stress, anxiety, and nervousness. When these feelings get the best of you, your confidence may suffer and that is the last thing you want to happen when you are trying to make a positive first impression. You need to take action to stress less and keep yourself in tip top job searching shape.
When faced with a job search, think of the 3 C’s to a stress less job search. The 3 C’s focus on balancing your mind, body, and spirit. This balance can help you approach your job search with energy, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude – and who wouldn’t want to hire that person?
Here are tips to integrating the 3 C’s of create, care, and connect into your job search.
You know that feeling when you are cruising along in your interview and you just feel like the stars are aligned and everything is going so well? It is an amazing feeling. And then you get a seemingly simple interview question, “Why are you the best candidate for this position?” and you freeze. You feel completely stumped and tongue tied about how to respond. You may even eek out what you think is a humble response, “Well, I don’t know that I AM the best candidate for the job.” What did you just say? Oh no! I think you just blew your interview.
Graduation is a time to celebrate! It can also be a time of stress when confronted with putting your MLIS to work. Start your post-graduation journey off on the right track by ensuring that you have a realistic and focused plan of action.
Many people start their job search by jumping right in with a general resume and applying online to a variety of jobs that sound interesting and look like something they qualify to do. They upload their resume, hit the send button, and call it a day.
With this job search approach, people feel like they have spent their time wisely and at first feel hopeful they will hear something back on the job they applied for. Sometimes they do hear back, but many times they do not. They wonder what went wrong and the feeling of rejection starts to take a toll on their confidence and that is exactly what you do not want to happen.
So let’s back-up from this approach and start again with a plan.
“How do I know if I am qualified to apply for a position?” I get asked this question more often than you’d think. While the answer seems simple, there are most definitely key factors to consider.
Students and recent grads contact me out of frustration and disappointment from applying for positions and receiving no response back from employers. Over time, this can take a toll on your level of confidence, as each time you apply for a position you are a hopeful that you will at least receive a phone screen.
When there is a consistent lack of employer response, my first thought is either the resume is not doing its job or this person is applying for positions they are not qualified to do. To rule out a resume issue, review the Resume section on the iSchool Career Development pages and check out the most recent LIS Resume Career Workshop recording for tips on targeting your resume.