Your Career: Right Now, Right Here

Published: Friday, March 4, 2016 by Kate M. Spaulding

If you are a current MLIS student, you may be wondering why you should be worrying about career development now. I get it - 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 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.”

I try and carve out some time every week to do some career “stuff.” I don’t spend a lot of time on it, and some weeks I don’t manage any. But at the very least, I try to login to LinkedIn and scan through my news feed and suggested connections. If I’ve read something smart (like this post perhaps? yes?) I will share the link as an update. Sometimes LinkedIn suggests connections+skills to endorse, and I click some of those, partly altruistically, and partly in hopes that people I endorse will do the same for me. At the end of last semester, I added a couple of class projects to my profile (<-- that video has several helpful hints) that I felt demonstrated some of my 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 using LinkedIn from Jill Klees. After all, a career isn’t going to just appear along with your diploma; you’ve got to develop it.

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