How to Gain Experience that Makes You an Attractive Candidate

Most careers in special libraries involve an in-depth knowledge of technology and information management infrastructure. During your time at SJSU:

  • Take advantage of the many technology classes that are available, such as INFO 240, 242, and 246. For a more thorough list, check out Career Pathways
  • Find an internship - see the iSchool Internships database for a variety of physical and virtual internships.
  • Vary your experience as much as possible.
  • Even if you don't have time to complete an internship, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities that don't require as much of a time commitment and will give you invaluable hands on experience.
  • Do not limit your options at this point!
  • Check out libraries and businesses in the areas where you live and inquire about internship possibilities if you can't find something that works for you through the school.
  • SJSU's iSchool has an ever growing network of alumni who have found success outside the traditional realm of libraries. Check out the Career Spotlights to see a few of these success stories and find alumni who are willing to provide advice.

Another great way to gain experience is by getting involved with one of the many student chapters of library associations. The SJSU iSchool hosts thriving chapters of ALA, ASIS&T, and SLA. Joining the Special Libraries Association is a great way to get involved and make connections!

For more tips, see Kim Dority’s Infonista blog post: Ten Tips for Building your Career While in Grad School

And if you are close to completing your degree, or have just finished and are looking for librarian work, consider applying for jobs as a substitute, temporary, or on-call librarian. This can be a way to gain experience and network while looking for your full-time “dream” job. See iSchool alumna Emily Weak’s Community Profile and Resume as an example of someone who successfully transitioned from several part-time positions to full-time employment. And check out her Library 2.012 presentation (with Sarah Naumann) on How Bay Area Libraries Use On-Call Librarians (see the transcript and slide show or watch a Collaborate recording).