Career Advice from a Recent Grad
Published: January 13, 2017 by Kate M. Spaulding
Are you just starting INFO 203? Not as new as that? Heed some smart advice from a very recent grad about preparing for your future career.
Are you just starting INFO 203? Welcome to the iSchool and the Career Blog! Not as new as that? You’re just as welcome! In the spirit of resolutions and new beginnings, I asked some recent graduates to share their wisdom and advice for new students, but what’s below is 100% applicable to all of us in the program.
Bethany just graduated in December (yay!), and I know her because we were both Peer Mentors for INFO 203 this past fall. Coincidentally, besides our time here at SJSU, we unknowingly overlapped as undergraduates at Indiana University. Small world! Easy networking in action.
First, could you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been working full-time in museum collections management since 2012, after I earned a graduate certificate in museum studies. I wanted to earn my master’s in something practical and I was drawn to the information management side of collections work. I started the MLIS at my in-state university, but the program was on-campus, small, and didn’t offer much course work outside of traditional library work. So after one semester I transferred to SJSU; all together, earning the degree took me 3 years. I took between 1 and 3 courses per semester, including summers. My ultimate career goal is to manage collection information for a large museum with many information needs, although I’m open to many possibilities in a variety of fields.
While you were in school, how did you prepare for life after graduation? Did you attend extracurricular workshops (career or otherwise), complete an internship, participate in a student group, work part- or full-time in the LIS field, something else?
Since I was already working in my field, I looked for ways to apply what I was learning to my job, and I tried to take courses that could help me on future projects. I attended webinars and virtual conferences offered through SJSU and explored the ways my knowledge and degree could apply to other fields, as museum jobs are not always prevalent.
Is there anything you wish you had done while in school that you didn’t?
I wish I could have had an internship or other hands-on experience that was very different or complementary to my current job. This would not have been easy while taking other classes and working, but I would have welcomed the variety and chance to explore a bit.
What is your advice for new students in terms of preparing for an LIS career?
Stay open-minded about the types of jobs you’ll find after graduation. Although libraries or museums may not be overflowing with job opportunities, many other fields need LIS skills and they can offer rewarding career opportunities, too. Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into just one job type or field, even if it’s your dream. You never know where a job or professional opportunity may lead you.