About two weeks ago, I attended a presentation by Tracy Z. Maleeff put on by the iSchool Student Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLASC). In her talk, titled “Sharpening Career and Networking Skills for Fun and Profit,” Tracy covered a lot of ground. In past semesters, she’s spoken about the nuts and bolts of networking, but this time she focused more on communication and the introspective aspects of career building.
Today on the Career Blog, I am sharing an interview with Jean Bedord, an iSchool faculty member and an independent information professional. She's had a really interesting career, and she graciously took time in her busy schedule to answer some questions and pass along a lot of very practical career advice. Thank you, Jean!
Hi! Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do and how you got to this place in your career?
My name is Jean Bedord. I’m currently a content consultant and part-time instructor at the iSchool. Although I primarily teach INFO 244 Online Searching, I have also taught INFO 200 Information Communities.
I don’t think I’m alone in having mixed feelings about my career direction. It’s not that I don’t want to earn my MLIS, and it’s not that I don’t want to work within the LIS world – it’s more that 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. Has that happened to you? I decided I should talk to Jill Klees about my concerns, and she replied with smart, confidence-inspiring answers that I am passing along to you.
My fellow students, the end is nigh. Of course, I’m referring to the end of the semester. The time for final projects and papers is upon us, which is good news because that means classes are almost over, buuut less good news because it means we have to stop procrastinating and actually do them.
If you’re lucky, you might have your choice of final assignments. For instance, you may be able to decide between writing a paper, recording a 5-minute presentation, or creating a packet of materials. When I took INFO 244, we could create a training packet, and a friend in INFO 287 developed marketing brochures.
This week, I asked Tamarack Hockin to talk a bit about the SRJ – Student Research Journal – for a couple of reasons. The first is that, as Editor-in-Chief, she’s currently recruiting editors to begin in January. The second is that I’m a copy editor on the editorial board, and I’ve found it to be an interesting and educational experience.
I began my tenure in July, along with several other newbies. Approximately every two weeks I receive a manuscript to review. Sometimes it’s the initial accept/reject step, and sometimes it’s a final edit before publication. As one of two copy editors, I correct grammar and APA mistakes, tackle clarity issues, and make suggestions to improve the style and readability (like different word choices and sentence rewrites).
It’s been fascinating to see how and what other students write about, and the SRJ training and eagle eye required for APA style have taught me a lot. Incidentally, I was a Peer Mentor for INFO 203 this fall, and the APA Module was an excellently-timed refresher for me. A big thanks to Vicki Steiner for being such a stickler!
Today I bring you insight from Scott Brown, who keeps himself busy not only with a full-time job, but with various side gigs and projects. He has a lot of good things to say about his internship experience as well as smart ways to think about your skills. Thank you, Scott, for taking the time to do this!
Hi, Scott! Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you do and how you got to this place in your career?
My name is Scott Brown – I’m currently a “Cybrarian” with Oracle, Inc., based in Portland, Oregon. I’m also an adjunct professor for the SJSU School of Information, teaching INFO 281-10, “Marketing Your LIS Skills in a Networked and Changing World”.
On Wednesday, November 9, Sally Gore will speak about “Supply & Demand: Matching Your Skills to the Information Needs of Today” via Collaborate. Another applicable name, perhaps, could be “How to Get a Job.” Maybe that holds some appeal? The webcast is live from 5:30-6:30pm Pacific, and a recording is now available on YouTube.
So in my 10 years, I’ve been a consumer health librarian, a reference librarian, a research and scholarly communications librarian, an informationist, and now a research evaluation analyst. But remember what I said earlier, for me these are all facets of the same profession – librarianship and/or information science. They’re all about dealing with information, that’s the common denominator.
Earlier this week, Jill Klees, our wonderful iSchool Career Center Liaison, gave a presentation on how to “Interview Like a Superstar.” She covered a lot of ground and answered a ton of audience questions. I think it’s fair to say that this was a more interactive workshop than previous ones I’ve attended; as an editorial aside, let’s keep it up, people! Other students asked smart questions, some I hadn’t thought of, and Jill’s answers were practical and super helpful.
Jill emphasized preparation and practice, which really resonated with me. History has taught me that the more thoroughly prepared I am, and the more I’ve practiced, the better I can perform when it’s my turn in the spotlight. The rehearsals build confidence, so by the time the curtain goes up, or the interview door opens, I can relax (a bit), be myself, and lean on the preparation.
Confidence goes hand-in-hand with preparation. The practice will build confidence, of course, but Jill also pointed out that we should begin with a belief in ourselves. Why? I’m so glad you asked!
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s an election next Tuesday. Throughout America, from the top of the ballot to the bottom, there are choices for us to make. Depending where you live, you could be voting for city council members, Senators, state representatives, new bond measures, or school boards. Here in California, we have 17(!!) propositions to consider and 223 pages (plus all of the internet) to help us choose.
But even with all of the options clearly delineated and all of the information at our fingertips, sometimes none of the choices are ideal. This is true in elections, and it’s also true in life, from medical care to internet providers to insurance plans and your career. All you can do is to make the best choice you can with the best information you have at the time.
So what to do if what you thought was a good choice turns out not to be so great?
It’s Not You, It’s Them
Library Journal has released its annual “Placements & Salaries” survey, and there’s a lot to comb through. First of all, I want to say that even though the title sounds academic (read: boring), the data and analysis actually has a lot of relevance to current MLIS students, and it’s worth a read.
You can read about the survey methods here, but, basically, Library Journal collected data from accredited library and science schools and students in the United States. Thirty-three of those schools sent LJ’s survey on to their 2015 graduates, and six (including SJSU) submitted data from their own assessments of their graduates. LJ reported a 29% response rate from 4,002 graduates of 39 schools.