Wondering How to Market your iSchool Skills in the Unpredictable Future?

Career Blog

Published: April 12, 2020 by Greta Snyder

Hoping everyone is continuing to stay safe and healthy during this challenging and unpredictable time. The Covid-19 health crisis is impacting so many of us that right now that supporting each other as LIS professionals is more crucial than ever. Take pride in your skills, especially as an SJSU iSchool student, as you’ve mastered the world of virtual learning, connecting and working remotely so your infinitely equipped with the tools to succeed in the unpredictable future and changing job landscape. One thing you can count on is that organizations are going to be scrambling to adapt to an online format and you can help. In fact, you’re a pro! So know you can ride every crashing wave and survive with your hard-earned skills and enduring resiliency.

How do I start to market my iSchool skills?

As I outline in a previous post about working and applying for jobs during Covid-19, a useful tactic to keep moving forward is to ask yourself: “what’s one thing can I do today?” Here are a few suggestions for how to start specifically marketing your iSchool LIS skills for the emerging trend of remote and virtual work.

Make a list each day: how to turn your anxiety and fear into productivity and positivity

  • Day 1; List 1: all the technology tools you’ve used in the program, e.g., Zoom, Prezi, Google Drive, Microsoft Power Point, VoiceThread, Pinterest, Flipboard, Adobe Acrobat, iMovie, Trello, WordPress, YouTube. You’ll be surprised how long the list will get.
  • Day 2; List 2: all the collaborative work you did remotely using technology. Did you join a student organization and participate in remote meetings? Did you lead a group project for a course? Are you currently working remotely with a partner or team?
  • Day 3; List 3: all the independent work you did remotely using technology. Even if you don’t have work experience here, you definitely have proven success doing this in your courses.
  • Day 4; List 4: references. It’s never too early to think of references and ask. Which instructors or supervisors might be able to speak to your mastery of working virtually? What students did you connect with that you gained experience from?
  • Day 5; List 5: consider what special skills you can bring. Helping others learn to use technology? Being a wizard with video editing? Facilitating a virtual meeting with grace and ease? Exceptional time-management and multi-tasking independently? Teaching children with YouTube videos?
  • Day 6; List 6: what do you use on social media? List the platforms you’re familiar with and if the list makes you cringe about your lack of presence or experience, then go ahead and write a Tweet, post on Instagram, share on Reddit or a listserv, start a blog -  in other words, seize the moment and start learning new ways to communicate.
  • Day 7; List 7: explore what excites you; what do you care about? It’s hard not to feel a bit like everything is in chaos, but if you focus on what you are certain about – which is what you care about, enjoy doing, are good at, and would love to take on as a new challenge this will both be beneficial to your mental health and your ability to approach this unpredictable time with a centered perspective.

Update your resume and Linke-In presence: Keep in mind LinkedIn is the time to spare no detail, but resumes should be crafted to address the particular job you’re applying to.

  • Just take an hour and you’ll bring your virtual skills to life. Check out my updated LinkedIn profile.

    • I edited my headline to: “virtual leader, collaborator, independent remote professional; experienced technician dedicated to exceptional service.” Previously, it read “Emerging LIS leader, committed to outreach, student support, professional development and research in the field.” Both these statements are 100% true, but the first speaks to current trends in the job market.
  • Start sprinkling in key clarifying words that you might have previously left out, such as remotely and virtually:
    • For example, I changed a job description bullet-point to: “work remotely to lead the editorial team with virtual communication, training, meetings and social media.” Previously, it read “lead the editorial team to uphold the mission of the journal through cultivating an organizational culture of engagement, collaboration and efficiency through strategic monthly meetings.”
  • Emphasize times you used virtual or online technology tools to accomplish your tasks, expand the impact of your role, design instructional or training content, provide technical support to others, or lead a team, especially if any of these tools are listed as qualifications for the jobs you’re looking at:
    • For example, I changed a job description bullet-point to: “design online instructional materials and research resources for students on YouTube and using Prezi and other instructional media tools; create and run a student support blog via WordPress and host webinars via Zoom with other key LIS staff and student leaders. Provide remote virtual support for technical issues for back-end systems.” Previously it read “partner with Core Curriculum Faculty to design online instructional materials and research resources for students; create and run a student support blog and host webinars with other key LIS staff and student leaders.”
  • Now that you’ve updated your resume and LinkedIn profile, it is the perfect time to do a self-assessment: find out how from iSchool’s amazing Career Consultant Jill Klees. Also, if you’re a current student or graduate of the iSchool program, reach out to Klees to review your resume. Read my blog post on the process here.

iSchool skills are amazing

The iSchool program offers us unparalleled opportunities to learn virtual learning, collaboration,  information sharing, presentation and communication platforms. As a student or graduate of the program, you’re set up for success to find a career where you can leverage your technology skills and adaptability. You have proven success with independent and collaborative virtual work and in many cases have probably helped others learn to use these tools. Start asking questions to see how much you’ve done! How many times have you showed someone else how to use Zoom or helped a classmate with an audio issue with a presentation?

Final thoughts

Take pride in your hard work in the program and know that it’s setting you up for success in today’s unpredictable world:  the one thing you can count on is for your iSchool skills to be marketable, sustainable and to put you in a position to positively support your community and impact others. It’s time to re-imagine our careers as information professionals and educators; you’re resilient, adaptable and prepared with your iSchool skills.

Let’s come together as an SJSU iSchool and LIS community during this time to support each other and the communities we serve. Keep in touch and stay healthy: email me with questions or advice. And to those who just graduated, congratulations! Do something special to celebrate before diving into your future career and know that SJSU iSchool is here for you.

So, take a deep breath and use this word as your mantra today: equanimity. Per Merriam-Webster equanimity means evenness of mind under stress and balance. You’ve got this and we’ll get through this together.

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