Graduates with either a Master in Library and Information Science or Master in Archives and Records Administration 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 the MLIS or MARA program.
If you’re not sure how you want to use your master’s 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 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 fine 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.
When thinking of how you want to use your degree, one approach to self-assessment is to think in terms of…
Career Direction Research
Do you know what kinds of jobs are available in the Library and Information Science (LIS) field? The possibilities are almost endless and continue to change and expand each year. The world of LIS is a constantly changing, exciting, and dynamic world. The delivery of information continues to become more and more technology-driven, making technology-based skill sets marketable and in-demand. Gathering information about the LIS world of employment opportunities will help you better understand how you can focus and use your LIS degree.
The School of Information describes numerous Career Pathways for your consideration as a partial list of the diverse career directions you can take with your degree (MARA students may want to focus specifically on the Cultural Heritage and Digital Curation pathways). Graduates with MLIS degrees work in many different organizational environments doing the work described in the career pathways.
Are you asking: Where can I best use the skills I will develop in my MLIS program? What are the different work environments where my skills might be needed and wanted? What is it like working in different LIS environments, institutions, companies?
Alternative LIS Careers
One of the great benefits of developing the information skills that come with your MLIS degree is that there are so many different ways to use those skills. You’ve probably at least somewhat familiar with the traditional options of school, public, and academic (although even these career paths offer many nontraditional opportunities these days).