My last two posts – lists of the best blogs to follow for MLIS and MARA students – as well as my article earlier this the summer about LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts to follow – are meant to be springboards for your own exploration. Because, let’s face it, my lists definitely reflect my interests, biases, career goals, history, coursework, internet rabbit holes, and aspirations, among lots of other things, and yours are different (duh, I know, but I felt it had to be said #youdoyou). Hopefully those resources I wrote about got you thinking and clicking and generally expanding your sphere.
A new student inquired about job prospects when he completes his MLIS because he lives in a relatively small town and so he is already thinking and planning ahead.
My advice: Cast your job search net far and wide. When you limit yourself, you limit your options.
As a new student, it is wise to be thinking ahead and starting to take steps that can help you with your future job search. Here are my top 4 steps to consider:
Step 1: Identify all of the potential organizations in your commutable geographic area where your MLIS will be a selling point. Think BIG! Consider large and small academic and public institutions; city and county offices; historical sites and museums; and tech organizations. Continue to add to the list as you learn more about the LIS profession.
If you read last week’s post and thought, hey what about archives/MARA, then this is for you! The same general thoughts apply:
- when beginning in a new career (or perhaps furthering a career), there’s a lot of new information to absorb
- taking the relatively easy step of adding in some new material to my Feedly (RSS aggregator) means that I have been able to slide new information sources into my daily reading routine
- RSS feeds save time
I admit that I am in the MLIS program, not MARA, so I am no authority here. But I’ve done some Internet digging, and with some help from the iSchool Students & Alumni Facebook page (thanks Rebecca & Melissa!), here are 10+ archives blogs I recommend adding to your own RSS feed.
When I first started the iSchool MLIS program, I was kind of overwhelmed by the sheer amount of new information coming at me – and not just in my classes. I’m a career transition student, so I didn’t start with years of (or any) library experience. This meant that my learning curve was quite steep. The LIS profession has its own acronyms, people of note, corners of the internet, and values that my new-student-self wanted to take in. One step was aligning my social media diet to my new career/life plans and goals.
Today I am happy to present a guest post from Kim Dority with smart (and welcome!) ideas and guidance for how to best approach your first job in the library and information science (LIS) field. I love that just reading this knocked my anxiety level down a notch or two. I hope it helps you, too! -Kate
Thinking about where your LIS career may take you? To riff on Dr. Seuss, oh, the places you’ll go! Of course, when you’re just starting out, that very amazing universe of LIS opportunities can be a bit daunting – where should you start?
The good news is that wherever you start, your first job is just your first job. In other words, that first job is simply the first step in what will undoubtedly be a rich and varied path of professional projects, opportunities you can’t even imagine at this point, and a great learning experience.
What it won’t be is the determining factor in what your LIS career will be for the next several decades.
Given that it’s 2016, you probably know that social media can help you find a job. You know that it can help you meet new people and network, and you know that those connections are what will likely lead you to a new job. Finding like-minded professionals can seem like finding a needle in a haystack of needles, so here are some starting points. I hope you’ll share some of yours in the comments!
LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site (it boasts over 433 million members) and it’s the site that employers and HR professionals use most when searching for candidates. Use it to network and connect with other professionals, join and participate in groups, ask and answer questions, and connect with alumni.
I bet you’ve heard this advice during your MLIS or MARA path: Conduct informational interviews. And I bet you haven’t followed that advice yet. But, I have to tell you, although setting up and going through with one had me somewhat anxious, I did one last semester and it was much less terrifying in real time than my pre-interview angst predicted.
I bet I can predict and shoot down most of your arguments against taking this step. Wanna play?
Argument: I’ve never heard of informational interviewing before this program. It is not a real thing.
Rebuttal: Au contraire, mon frere.
a. It’s in Wikipedia, so it must be real
b. Lots of other resources online talk about how and why to conduct them
c. The nice librarian I talked to in October was not confused about what I was asking
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.