Help! I Need Focus

Career Blog Jill-Klees

Q: I have some very specific things that I will be looking for in a career once I complete the program. I’m constantly reviewing job postings, background info on professionals in the industry and reading up on current trends. But I can’t really identify an exact position that I want.

Also, I’m concerned that the broad types of classes I plan to take will make me a Jack of All Trades, Master of None. As an undergrad student, I didn’t allow myself to explore much outside of my major (Communications) and I found that it pigeon-holed me in the job market. I don’t want to make that same mistake, but I also don’t want a potential employer to dismiss me for not having enough specific experience. I know I’m not completely hopeless, just in dire need of some direction.

A: Thank you for your message. You are doing all of the right things at this point in terms of reviewing job descriptions, researching the backgrounds of professionals and staying on top of industry trends. Keep doing this.

It is also perfectly normal for you to NOT know what exact position you are interested in at this early point in the MLIS program. In fact, it makes sense that you don’t because there are many options to consider. Just continue to keep an open mind, talk to people, and gather information and you will start to figure out what is most interesting to you. I also encourage you to look into internship and/or volunteer opportunities in order to reality test some of the ideas you have.

In terms of course selection, do take a variety of classes instead of having a narrow focus. I think in this field, following what you are interested in and developing a diverse skill set will serve you well. This program is all about the skills you develop and how those skills can transfer to many different types of job opportunities. As you take a variety of classes, you will begin to identify what areas you are most interested in and most likely that is where you will start to focus your energy.

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