Get Published and Advance Your Career
On Tuesday, February 7, at 6pm Pacific, current students, alums, and faculty will speak on a panel about publishing opportunities for students through the iSchool and beyond. From blogs to newsletters to peer-reviewed journals, this online session will help you understand the differences among them and find the best place to publish your writing.
If you’re a good writer, getting published is a great way to fill out a resume and help you stand out from the crowd. You will also grow your network and gain contacts who may help you find a job down the road. Furthermore, taking advantage of one or more of these opportunities can help you provide evidence of a number of professional-level skills. For example, an article can back up your resume claims that you are an excellent researcher, writer, and communicator. If you have a coauthor or two, you can clearly collaborate well. You can also demonstrate that not only do you have good ideas, you can take initiative, organize, execute, and produce results.
I was curious if any of the student panel members could point to a time when their published work helped them on their career path. Not surprisingly, our classmates gave me thoughtful, well-written, and insightful answers. Spoiler alert: getting published works.
From Student to Professional
Rebecca Leung has written three articles for Archeota, the official publication of the iSchool’s Society of American Archivists student chapter; two were reflection pieces and the third was an interview with a conservator. Rebecca told me, “Writing for Archeota has enhanced my professional relationships. For example, I was able to demonstrate to my coworkers what I learned from processing my first collection, what it meant to me, and how I intended to share my newfound knowledge with other students. It showed that I care about my work. Rather than just a coworker relationship, we could begin to speak as colleagues about a profession that is important to both of us.” This last point is especially important – Rebecca’s writing is helping her morph from student to professional in the eyes of her coworkers (and, hopefully, her boss).
Allison Randall Gatt, whose name you might recognize from the iStudent blog, is certain her blogging experience helped her land her internship with EveryLibrary. She wrote, “The promotional writing I do and the easy and relatable style I use stand out to those who read the blog, and I think it's a style of writing that will translate well into the political sphere. The Community issue of the Descriptor touches on grassroots organizing and calling people to unite for common causes in their communities. These are themes which I'm passionate about, and I think that passion, as well as my writing style, come through as a valuable asset for an organization like EveryLibrary.”
A Wealth of Opportunities
Alison Peters, another student writer here at the iSchool, had her publishing interest piqued when she helped “edit and beef up the LIS Publications Wiki with Laurie Putnam. This was the first time that I saw the real depth and breadth of LIS and LIS-friendly publications, from scholarly and peer-reviewed to newsletters to student publications. I also found platforms like Book Riot, an unabashed book-lovers site that naturally has library-allied readers. I was looking for a new writing outlet, so I researched the publication, queried them, and became a contributing writer for the site. The whole experience helped me get back into a writing groove, and from there I was fortunate to transition to writing the iSchool's Community Profiles of fabulous students, alumni, faculty, and partners.”
Like me, Alison has found that being a student writer has helped her understand the breadth of LIS opportunities and “used that knowledge to write for sites like Hack Library School and publications such as Collaborative Librarianship.” In her favorite project to date, she “interviewed iSchool Director Dr. Sandy Hirsh, who had just published Information Services Today: An Introduction. The interview, focusing on Dr. Hirsh's career path and creative strategies for success, was published on INALJ.com, and my review of her book was published in the international library publication Libreas. The whole experience gave me a wonderful friend and ally in Dr. Hirsh; a preview of an extremely valuable and interesting LIS book; and excellent, far-reaching writing opportunities.”
Tamarack Hockin has worn a few different hats with the Student Research Journal (SRJ), and currently serves as the Journal's Editor-in-Chief. She cited a recent four-hour(!) interview process in which she was asked, How do you manage your scheduling, especially when busy, and keep organized? How successful are you at managing priorities? Give examples.
Her response? Spot on: “Writing and publishing is never easy work. It takes time to conceptualize, research, write, and revise. Publishing in a peer-reviewed journal requires dedicating time to work on turning what may have been an ‘A’ grade paper into a publication-ready article. These are not the same things. Like others who have published in the Student Research Journal, I have balanced a demanding course load, a job, and personal obligations – and then I have gone above what is expected to meet additional deadlines of revision for my manuscript. This shows considerable capacity for managing multiple deadlines on discrete projects.”
Tamarack also pointed out that “evidence-based decision-making is a growing trend in public libraries, and showing interest and involvement in research as manifest in publishing in a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal, demonstrates a capacity to engage with research and synthesize findings. While the tone of an environmental scan and a published literature review may be different, the skillset is absolutely transferable.”
See You There!
These voices, and a few more, will be speaking via Collaborate this coming Tuesday, February 7, at 6pm Pacific. If you’ve been thinking about ways to show off your communication skills to potential employers, grow your network, and even help yourself come eportfolio time, I think attending this panel will be worth your time. For more information and a link to join, visit the Publications Roundtable event page. And check out Allison’s post on the iStudent blog for even more insight into this exciting event!
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