Get the Details on Your Dream Job Through the iSchool’s Alumni Career Spotlights

iStudent Blog

Published: June 17, 2015

Want to know what life is really like as an archivist for a dance company, a teacher librarian in a STEM school, or what it’s like to work as a metadata specialist at the Library of Congress? Well, look no further than the iSchool’s Alumni Career Spotlights.

It’s a fascinating list, isn’t it? People who are working with these exact job titles used to be graduate students just like you—taking courses, building resumes and looking for their dream jobs. Now they’ve landed their dream jobs, and they’re available to tell you all about what they do and how they got there.

If you want to talk to someone who’s in the trenches of your chosen field, then brush up your informational interview skills and talk to some iSchool alumni who have posted in the school’s Alumni Career Spotlights.

Informational Interviews and Resources
First of all, you may ask, uh, what’s an informational interview? The iSchool Career Development page is a great place to start. The site defines an informational interview as “an arranged meeting or telephone call with a person who works in a particular profession or organization that you are interested in learning more about. You are gathering information about a specific job, field of interest or company. You are not asking for a job but simply gathering useful job search information.” The emphasis is both the website’s and my own—remember, iSchool graduate students, “stay classy.”

So take a look at what your career goals and ideal job environments are, and then look at the spotlights to determine whom you’d like to interview. Be sure to check if they are comfortable with being contacted (it says one way or the other at the bottom of their profile page) and be respectful of their time. Remember to plan out your questions and your goals for the interview and use your best manners—pleases and thank you’s required. The school’s informational interview page provides detailed guidelines and the interview questions page gives you some great sample questions that you can use as is or as a starting point for constructing an interview that fits your specific interests.

Searching Through the Spotlights
The Alumni Career Spotlights have detailed information about what the individual is doing in their current job and the skills they use in their position. Many alumni go on to describe exactly what courses and class projects were most helpful to the work they do.

Christina Mune suggests you take LIBR 210 (I concur!) and learn to build an entire website in a day (I’m working on that one!) among the most valuable skills and classes that apply to her current job as an academic liaison librarian at SJSU’s King Library.

If her spotlight looks interesting, she is open to being contacted both by email and through LinkedIn. Many alumni, as well as other information professionals and potential future employers, use LinkedIn profiles as a way of networking and keeping up with employment trends. Updating your profile is a great summer project—it’s already on my list!

Other spotlights include Amy Abadilla, a MARA alumna, and Erin Hawkins, who works for the World Digital Library in Washington DC as a metadata specialist.

Browsing the Alumni Career Spotlights and using them as a networking and informational resource is a great way to get some detailed, honest information and get connected with both the iSchool and professional communities.

If you’ve already graduated and you’d like to create a spotlight for people to find out what you’re doing, go here and fill it out with as many helpful details as you can. Thanks for helping students grow their careers!

Check out these resources and posts about interviewing and planning your career in the information profession:
Roles for Tomorrow’s Information Professionals: Unlimited Possibilities

Advice for Finding the Best Career for You in the Information Profession

Your New Career Starts Here Webinar (from the iSchool website)

Tips for Applying for Jobs and Acing the Interview

Tips for Acing the Interview

image courtesy of Stuart Miles