Career Direction

How to choose which LIS career direction is right for you

Graduates with either a Master’s in Library and Information Science (MLIS) or Master’s in Archives and Records Administration (MARA) degree have a unique opportunity to work in a variety of different settings and environments. You may already have some idea of what you want to do with your degree. However, not all students are sure, and others may find that their initial career objectives change as they spend more time in our School's MLIS and MARA programs.

If you’re not sure how you want to use your degree, you may want to invest some time in self-assessment, that is, thinking about who you are and what LIS career direction might be a good fit. SJSU’s main Career Center has excellent resources to help you do just that as part of its Explore Majors/Careers activities; check it out at Self Assessment.

After self-assessment, we recommend that you try the following career exploration strategies:

  • Carefully explore the iSchool Career Pathways pages (LIS students should explore all pathways; MARA students may be more interested in the Cultural Heritage and Digital Curation pathways)
  • Select a variety of classes to introduce yourself to various career possibilities
  • Network with people working in interesting settings and ask them questions
  • Join and get involved in professional associations, giving you valuable opportunities to meet and connect with people working in the field
  • Volunteer or complete an internship to “test drive” your ideas about different work settings and job functions(note that an internship is an elective class for MLIS students, but a requirement for MARA students)

As you progress in your degree program, be sure that you continue to gather information about your degree’s wide range of employment opportunities. Talk to people, network, volunteer, seek out part-time positions or projects to further your experience and to explore the many different areas open to you. Begin to develop your career direction.

It's O.K. to change your mind and go back and start again with discovering who you are and where you fit. That is part of the process and the experience of being a student.

The program covered a wide range of areas applicable to a career in library science, as well as skills that are useful in other careers. The range of learning I experienced was outstanding. – MLIS graduate