Join Student Chapters of Professional Organizations to Expand Your Network

Career Blog

Published: September 7, 2020 by iSchool Career Advisor

Happy back to school!  Take advantage of student chapters of professional organizations to learn a lot and expand your network!

And just like that, stores are selling back-to-school and Halloween. While it doesn’t feel quite like pumpkin season yet, there is a sense of possibility and of fresh starts that comes with the beginning of every new school year. And that fresh start? It’s the perfect time to stretch your comfort zone and jump into the world of professional organizations.

Whether you are brand new to the iSchool or a seasoned student, you know that a number of professional associations exist in the library and information science world. For one, you were taught about them in INFO 203. For another, student chapters of national organizations are active at SJSU, and you are receiving emails about events, meetings, information, and ways to get involved.

Don’t delete all those emails. Get involved! Attend Collaborate sessions! Learn cool new stuff! Make new connections, or even friends!

A recent great session of the ASIS&T student chapter discussed ways to gain resume-level experience as a student; an earlier session included the group’s presentation with three recent grads who shared their tips for iSchool success. The student group ALASC has hosted events designed to help students choose between writing a thesis and doing the eportfolio (Collaborate recording available).  SJSU’s SLA chapter hosted Aaron Schmidt talking about UX for Libraries, which is not something you hear about everyday. 

What these examples demonstrate is that professional organizations are way more than those occasional, awkward cocktail hours – many of them are vibrant, active communities of students and professionals who want to learn more and also share what they already know. And they are definitely a great way to expand your network – you know, that thing that will help you get a job.

So the next time an email arrives in your inbox promising an interesting speaker, a local meet up, or opportunities for gaining experience and marketable skills, don’t delete it. Say yes. Your career will thank you for it!

Visit the student chapter associations’ websites:


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