One Thing You Can Do Right Now to Build Your Career

Career Blog

Published: April 23, 2019 by Greta Snyder

At this point in the semester, it can be challenging to not feel a little burned out and unsure of the best way to forge ahead. First, we are almost there; I can’t believe it is only a month away until end of Spring semester! Next, ask yourself “what can I do right now to build my career?” This focus is a great way to re-set your perception of progress and growth and re-center your approach to intentional development. Your vision can be telescopic in terms of envisioning your future pathways, but it also needs to be microscopic, otherwise you might miss out on the chances right in front of you, right now.

One amazing way to discover additional learning experiences is to make sure you’re reading the SJSU iSchool alert emails. Next, to really up your involvement and awareness of career development events join an SJSU iSchool Student group. SJSU iSchool currently offers a variety of student groups; check them out and get involved, as many have upcoming elections:

To learn more about the types of opportunities and events these groups offered to students, I spoke with current SJSU iSchool MLIS student Danielle Dantema regarding her recent experience with SJUS SAASC visit to The Huntington Library last Friday April 12, 2019. Located in San Marino, California, The Huntington Library is one of the world’s great independent research libraries, with more than nine million items from around the world and spanning the 11th to 21st centuries.

Danielle shared with me that the private tour gave her the chance to view exclusive collections donated to the library and to hear first-hand from the archivists at work processing these collections. She and the other SJSU iSchool MLIS students in attendance viewed lithographs, original screenplays, postcards, and immigration paperwork. In particular, Danielle was interested in the collection of immigration paperwork and coaching papers from an exclusion-era Chinese-American translator and lawyer, You Chung Hong.

The SJSU iSchool MLIS students were not only able to tour the gorgeous library and revel in the splendor of mahogany banisters, they also had a chance to learn about the intricacies and unique challenges of archival practices and collections management- knowledge that could help shape future careers and answer job interview questions. Danielle observed that each archivist brought their unique background to their work, such as foreign language or music expertise, once again demonstrating that there is no one career path, but a constant chance to evolve and adapt your skills to emerging opportunities in the field.

Danielle will be collaborating on an article for the SJUS SAASC journal Archeota that I will share when published, so look forward to hearing more.

Some learning experiences are unexpected; it never hurts to try new things and put yourself out there to connect and take advantage of opportunities. No one professional development experience will be comprehensive. Instead, it is the accumulation of reference points and ability to speak to emerging trends and tools in the field by having a variety of classroom, workplace, and extra-curricular experiences that’s likely to best support your job search.

Extra-curricular learning experiences will give you a much richer repertoire for nailing the interview skill of storytelling. Storytelling is crucial for expressing why you would want to work for a specific organization or in a certain role.

One article I found helpful provided this step-by-step process for crafting the perfect interview story:

  1. Tell the punch line or the overall response early (e.g., “I had the most amazing chance to…” or “I was not sure what to expect, but found my new passion when…”)
  2. Give context (e.g., “I was just starting out in archival work when…” or “Stepping into leadership roles was new to me, but I was eager to give it a go…”)
  3. Introduce the situation or challenge (e.g., “I had so many questions about archiving and I wanted to speak to professionals active in the field….)
  4. Describe your specific actions (e.g., “So I joined SJSU SAA and immediately signed up for any trips I could attend and volunteered to write articles for their journal Archeota…”)
  5. Share the results (e.g., “At first I was not sure which questions to ask the archivists, but overtime I learned that I have a passion for the future social impact of collections….”)

Another resource on this topic: Good Interviewing Starts with Good Storytelling.

Coming up: a look at LinkedIn for career development.

Thank you again for reading and please comment or email me any ideas for future posts!

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Should you bring a list of your references to a job interview, or include them in your resume? Check out this advice to make sure your references are yet another asset working for you during your interview.


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