Start Building Your Career Now
Published: September 1, 2020 by iSchool Career Advisor
Why is it important for students to worry about career development? Well, if you haven’t started preparing for your career before you graduate, you won’t have the scaffolding in place to build your post-school life.
If you are a current MLIS student, you may be wondering why you should be worrying about career development now. School, work, and life keep you plenty busy, so why add something else to your plate? Well, it turns out that school is a relatively short period of time and you will be done before you know it. If you haven’t started preparing for your career before you graduate, you won’t have the scaffolding in place to build your post-school life.
Kim Dority over at Infonista.com argues that while grades are of course important (especially if you have funding dependent on maintaining a certain GPA), school is the time to stretch yourself and grow professionally – it’s a safe space to learn new skills, challenge yourself, and perhaps even recover from failures. Dority writes:
“My suggestion is that students not put all their energy and efforts into being ‘perfect,’ straight-A students but rather shoot for being a good-enough student to keep that GPA where it needs to be, and then be able to put a bit of effort into other, career-positioning activities. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but just enough to start building some visibility as a professional.”
Try to carve out some time every week to do some career “stuff.” Login to LinkedIn and scan through your news feed and suggested connections. If you’ve read something smart, share the link as an update. Sometimes LinkedIn suggests connections+skills to endorse; if you can, provide endorsements; maybe people you endorse will do the same for you. Add class projects to your LinkedIn profile (the video has several helpful hints) that you feel demonstrate some of your skills.
If you have a lighter than usual week, perhaps you can use some of that breathing room to attend a networking event or a career center workshop, update your resume, or investigate our student chapters of professional organizations. There’s even great advice for improving your LinkedIn profile and more on using LinkedIn to build your network here on the iSchool’s Career Development website. After all, a career isn’t going to just appear along with your diploma; you’ve got to develop it.