Going Global: Using Competency O to Land Your Dream Job

Career Blog

Published: March 2, 2018 by Evelyn Hudson

Whether you are planning a career in academic librarianship, digital services, public librarianship or any information profession, competency O is essential knowledge.

If you’re a current iSchool student, you’ve definitely heard about the MLIS core competencies. You may even be planning your future courses and to diligently make sure you take a course that meets each competency. These 15 competencies (A-O) ensure all graduates are armed with the essential knowledge to land a career and excel in the information science field.

All students who entered the program after spring 2015 must also meet the requirements of competency O. It states: “Identify ways in which information professionals can contribute to the cultural, economic, educational, and social well-being of our global communities.” In an increasingly connected world, information professionals have the ability to make an impact globally. The iSchool recognizes that students need to be prepared for this new environment. Whether you are planning a career in academic librarianship, digital services, public librarianship or any information profession, competency O is essential knowledge.

As an iSchool student, you are mastering these important 21st century skills as you progress through the program. Why not leverage them when looking for your dream job and stand out among other candidates?

Dr. Sue Alman, a professor in the iSchool who centers on emerging technologies, believes knowledge of globalization is essential on a resume.

“You must provide evidence that you have an understanding of the global cultural, economic, education, and social issues that impact those with whom we interact,” Dr. Alman states.

Dr. Alman also emphasizes that being able to work with people who come from different cultures or who have a first language other than English is important in the information field.

“Remember that soft skills (effective interpersonal communication) are the most in-demand skill set across all jobs,” she advises.

Dr. Virgina Tucker, an assistant professor in the iSchool, offers that competency O is also valuable for those looking for careers in web programming and information architecture.

She explains: “product designs are of course responsive to the cultures and languages of the target users and stakeholders. Skills in these professional areas are valued throughout the world.”

Dr. Geoffrey Liu, an iSchool professor with a focus on data science, takes Dr. Tucker’s statement one step further. Even more than simply being valued, these skills can prevent career disaster.

“Many fatal mistakes in technology and data science were made because of social and cultural ignorance on the engineer/technician’s part,” he warns.

iSchool professor Alyce Scott comments that information management is becoming a global issue, so students looking for digital curation careers must think outside of the United States.

“Having skills in communication and collaboration, as well as understanding global issues in librarianship will position students for success in digital curation careers,” she explains.

It is important to note that students do not need to take a course specifically designated as meeting competency O. There are many assignments in a variety of courses that will satisfy the competency O requirement during the e-Portfolio process.

You can even use real-world experience to qualify for competency O. Dr. Anthony Bernier, a professor in the iSchool who focuses on youth services, offers that students may consider “travel abroad – visiting and critically commenting on library services would qualify under most circumstances.”

Dr. Bernier also shares that in some of his own courses he offers assignments with a global perspective that would satisfy the competency O requirement.

“In my INFO 261A, I have an explicit writing assignment asking students to compare and contrast an example of youth services profiled in IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) with a normative example of a domestic US youth services unit. We also have required reading assignments addressing international experiences and global models of service,” he details.

Clearly, competency O is relevant to all career pathways and an important part of many iSchool courses. Use this knowledge and the work you complete in this area to wow potential employers and show them why iSchool graduates are ready for the information world of tomorrow.

Have you used a competency O experience to land a job? Do you plan to do so? Share your experience in the comments!


Upcoming Webinars

iSchool Webcast Series on Leadership

Part 1 Dana Vanzanten and Heather Robinson
St. Thomas Public Library
Friday, March 23, 2018
Time: 10:00am PST – 11:00am PST
Location: Online via Zoom https://sjsu.zoom.us/j/640243104


New LIS Jobs in Handshake

Librarian I/II     Children’s City of San Mateo

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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.