The Special Libraries Association’s (SLA) tagline is, “Connecting People and Information,” which, first of all, excellent work, SLA. Second, what a great way to think about professional associations and conferences.
This is my third entry in a series about professional associations (previously: AIIP and SCIP). For this piece, I spoke with Brandy King, the SLA 2017 chair, about why to attend and how to get the most out of the experience. I’ll be at the conference this year (let’s meet if you’ll be there too!), and hearing how excited she is about it definitely alleviated some of my anxiety. My hope is that these interviews will do the same for you! For more stress relief, be sure to check out Conferencing 101: All the Tips.
Another one of the zillion ways that MLIS grads use their degree is in the field of competitive intelligence (CI). What is CI? I’m so glad you asked! Competitive intelligence is “the process of collecting and analyzing information about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in a legal and ethical manner to enhance business decision-making” (source).
Here’s another way to think of it: If you’ve taken INFO 204 already, then you have completed a SWOT analysis (SWOT = strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). CI professionals often perform SWOT analyses on their employer’s competitors in order to help their company make good decisions and prosper. CI meshes well with skills LIS folks typically have, like research, analysis, and communication skills.
By now, I know you know that LinkedIn should be part of your job-hunting arsenal (I think you also need a website). But maybe you’re switching careers, or haven’t updated your profile in a while, or aren’t sure about what you should include or exclude. However, even if you have a perfectly put-together and up-to-date-profile, you might not know how to really make LinkedIn work for you (I don’t).
Good news! On Wednesday, April 5 at 5:30pm Pacific Daylight Time, Jill Klees is holding her monthly career workshop. This time, she’ll be teaching us all about LinkedIn as a Job Search Tool. Jill will give us tips on how to market ourselves, increase our networking connections, and be findable for future employers.
With conference season approaching, I thought it would be interesting to speak with some of the organizers. Many professional associations hold conferences annually, and I wanted to hear their arguments for why students should find the time, money, and energy to attend. Several were kind enough to reply to my emails!
The Association of Independent Information Professionals’ (AIIP) 2017 Conference Chair, Cindy Romaine, kicks off this series. According to its website, AIIP is composed of “more than 400 info entrepreneur members located in over 20 countries around the world.” They have very active members-only discussions, a variety of resources, and a mentor program, not to mention a vendor discount program and a rich catalog of members-only webinars and recordings. Particularly if you’re thinking about striking out on your own, AIIP is a great resource; student memberships are only $50.
It’s almost April, which means it’s also almost conference season. Coincidentally, it’s also Spring Break! Yay! I’m taking this opportunity to present to you some non-required (but highly recommended, if I do say so myself) Spring Break Reading (à la Winter Break Reading) about conferences and networking – and networking at conferences. I’d love to hear what you find useful or other suggested reads; I know you know how to have an online discussion, so let’s do that! Comment below!
1. For those not sure about the value of professional organizations and/or going to conferences:
A recent Community Profile about iSchool student Lara Croft mentions something that dovetails really nicely with what we’ve been talking about here forever and what Jesse Walker-Lanz talked about in his webcast last week. It talks about what’s going to get you your next job.
That magical insight? Skills. The Profile reports, “All her previous positions, from retail management to non-profit work, prepared her for the work she’s doing now in one way or another.” Past Experience = Skills (or s = pe² ?)
The spring equinox and Persian New Year (or Nowruz) occur in a few days. Daylight savings time screwed up my sleep schedule this week. Christians around the world are a couple of weeks into the season of Lent, and the Jewish holiday of Passover begins in a few weeks. Cute baby farm animals are all over Instagram (you’re welcome). ‘Tis the season for rebirth and renewal.
All of which brings me to Renew Yourself: A Six-Step Plan for More Meaningful Work by Catherine Hakala-Ausperk. The author calls this slim book a “project” – one that will “put you more firmly, confidently, and intentionally in charge of your own future” (p. 2).
Are you interested in a career in public libraries? Are you nervous about the hiring process? Never fear, Career Development is here!
On Wednesday, March 15 at 5:30pm Pacific, Jesse Walker-Lanz will be participating in our latest Career Webcast (yes, “latest” implies there’s more! Check out the archives.). Jesse is the County of Los Angeles Public Library’s Library Administrator and head of Adult & Digital Services, so he has a lot of insight into the ins and outs of applying, interviewing, and getting a job.
I first heard about the Mechanics’ Institute in INFO 280: History of Books and Libraries. As you’ll see below, it has a rich history, and my classmate was intrigued enough to write her final paper about it. We traded manuscripts for editing, so I learned a lot about its storied past, and I was thrilled when the opportunity to interview the Library Director presented itself. Deb Hunt has served in that role since 2013. She told me that although her “career has been mostly outside of libraries, the Mechanics’ lured me back to libraryland.”
One of my last posts in 2016 was a call for you to set up a personal website. I argued, “having a personal website gives you more control over your image, how you present yourself, and how you showcase your work.” I still believe it, and I think it’s even more true now than it was in December.
Why? Well, in case you haven’t been hit by LinkedIn’s new user interface (UI) rollout yet, here’s your fair warning: there’s a new desktop UI coming, and I think it’s terrible. If your profile has already been updated, do you agree with me or not? I’d love to hear more in the comments.
Whether you like it or not, you must admit that the site and your profile are organized very differently than they were before. In the last iteration, users had a lot of control over how their profile looked, the arrangement, and what information was highlighted. Users could also toggle between a chronological or algorithm-determined “top updates” view of their newsfeed. Groups were easy to find, and it was simple to participate in discussions.