10 Takeaways from the MLIS Skills at Work Report

Career Blog

Published: May 25, 2018 by Evelyn Hudson

Whether you are getting your diploma this month or just starting the MLIS program, your end goal is the same: landing a great job. The iSchool at SJSU conducts an annual study of LIS-related job posting to see what employers are looking for. They reviewed 400 job postings in February and March of this year to determine the similarities among them. The MLIS Skills at Work: A Snapshot of Job Postings Spring 2018 report is an excellent resource for students at any stage in their schooling.

If you’re wondering what skills you need to stand out in the job market, here are the top 10 takeaways from this essential report.

  1. LIS professionals are in highest demand in university/college (38% of postings) and public libraries (20% of postings). Government came in at 14% of job postings reviewed, and business at 13%.
  2. “Communication/Interpersonal Skills” was the most sought-after skill set in the postings. This is the same result from the 2016-2017 report.
  3. “Collaboration/Teamwork” was the second most sought-after skill, while “Integrated Library Systems/Software/Technology Experience/Management” dropped down four places.
  4. The most frequent job duty was “Collaborating and Liaising” followed by “Training Instruction/Developing or Delivering Content.”
  5. An MLIS degree was required or preferred in 91% of postings, an increase of 6% from the previous year.
  6. Job postings requiring (rather than preferring) specific experience increased from 2017. The report recommends that based on these findings students should do their best to obtain either professional or volunteer experience before graduation, preferably through an internship if possible.
  7. For archival positions, the largest employer was university/college at 47% followed by government at 16%.
  8. Many job titles do not include library specific terms but still require the same skills, such as Information Technology Specialist and Data Collection Manager.
  9. The most common specialist skills listed were copyright expertise and instructional design.
  10. Final recommendations from the report included:
    1. Develop non-LIS skills to complement your LIS expertise
    2. Boost your resume with relevant experience
    3. Hone your search strategy and grow your network to open up job opportunities
    4. Keep up with trends in your learning to demonstrate professional engagement to hiring managers
    5. Develop in-demand skills as much as possible to provide yourself a competitive edge when applying for jobs
    6. Do not graduate without related experience, either in the skills you’d like to work with (for example, cataloging or instructional design) or with the type of organization for which you’d like to work (perhaps public, academic or medical libraries)

What stuck out to you in the report? Share your thoughts in the comments!

New LIS Jobs in Handshake

Library Evening & Weekend Monitor    Mills College
Branch Head Librarian     First Regional Library

Don’t forget to explore job openings outside of the public and/or academic libraries in Handshake. Consider searching on topics such as taxonomy, research, data management, digital asset management, and similar terms that may reflect your particular LIS skills or area of emphasis.