It’s Never Too Early to Plan for Your Career – Advice from Jane and Jill

iStudent Blog

Last week, Jane Fisher and Jill Klees hosted an online session for incoming Fall 2012 students, emphasizing the importance of early career planning. For those who might have missed the session, this blog post recaps some of the advice shared, as well as provides links to web pages mentioned. To view the recording, please follow this link:  View the Blackboard Collaborate Recording

As a new student at SJSU SLIS, Jane suggests you ask yourself a very important question – where do you hope to be when you complete the MLIS program? The answer will help guide you as you peruse the career pathways and choose your elective courses. (You can enroll in electives after completing the core classes and any required prerequisites.)  The MLIS curriculum includes nine elective courses, allowing you to try new things and diversify your skillset. Some students feel overwhelmed by the vast choice in courses. If this describes you, the self-assessment tools may help shed light on your strengths and individual interests.

As you explore the career pathways on our website, multiple career pathways may pique your interest. If you find yourself in that boat, Jane advises new students to check out the courses listed for each career pathway that interests them and see if there is any overlap. Courses found in multiple career pathways provide the optimal flexibility for career planning. Please keep in mind that the career pathways are for advising purposes only. Your San Jose State University transcript will only say MLIS, not an area of specialization or career pathway.

An underlying message throughout the session was the importance of technology. Jane encourages new students to get comfortable with technology and embrace emerging technologies. Most likely you’ll use technology no matter the career you pursue, and mastering it will make you more employable. She also advises new students to think broadly about the profession and how the skills learned in the MLIS program can be transferred beyond librarianship. Many times, it is just a matter of translating vocabulary, mapping LIS skills to different business environments. Everything you do while in school will help you gain experience, leading to a successful career.

Some other important tips for early career planning include:

  •  Scan the information environment (e.g., job posts and industry news)
  • Get involved with professional associations (e.g., American Library Association, Special Libraries Association, and Society of American Archivists)
  • Join special interest groups (e.g., LinkedIn groups)
  • Network, intern, volunteer – consider everyone you meet a possible network contact. Keep track of everyone you meet while in the program. Those are the people who will help propel your career.

In addition, Jill, who has worked with SLIS for three years as a career consultant, advises students to look at emerging trends in the library and information science field. Students should look at industries that are growing because those are the places where they will find jobs.

In response to a question about the job market outlook for librarians, Jill is optimistic. She says that while the job market for ALL fields is tight and competitive, there are good jobs out there. It’s all about positioning yourself properly and representing yourself well on your resume and during an interview. The SLIS Career Development website is a vital resource providing job search tips, career guidance and advice on how to do just that. Jane and Jill also head up the SLIS Career Colloquium Series, Career Workshops, and the Career Blog.

Moreover, Jill produces a monthly “News and Opportunities” e-newsletter that includes job search tips, career and industry updates, and listings of SJSU Handshake “hot jobs.” All SLIS students will automatically receive the e-newsletter as subscibers of the SLISAdmin listserv.

A lot of valuable information was covered during the live, one-hour session. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment on this blog or email Jane and Jill directly. This blog along with the Career Blog are forums for students to ask questions and get answers.

Contact Jane at:

Contact Jill at:

To view the recording, click the link below:

View the Blackboard Collaborate Recording


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