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Can we talk? How to ask for an informational interview

Information Interview w Black ManAnytime you’re asking a favor of someone, it feels a bit awkward, and information interviews are no exception.

Generally, you’re asking someone who’s both successful in their career and really busy to give you their time and attention out of the goodness of their heart. (Okay, occasionally for a cup of coffee or a quickie lunch….) Yep, that usually triggers our automatic “do not impose on people” response, but it’s time to get over your hesitation. Why? Because informational interviews for which you’ve done your homework can be one of the most effective ways to advance both your career knowledge and your career (think network building and professional visibility) ever. (more…)

Find your tribe

Recently I gave a talk to the Rocky Mountain SLA chapter on adaptive competence. It’s basically the ability to repurpose if not reinvent your LIS career (pretty much on demand) as market needs and opportunities require. Your adaptive competence is built on a core understanding that regardless of your current paycheck, we’re all self-employed – it’s up to us to take charge of our options and outcomes.

One of my recommendations for building adaptive competence, also known as career resiliency, was to find your tribe. Although marketing guru Seth Godin popularized the phrase in his Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us (Portfolio, 2008), Godin’s focus was on leading movements. With apologies to Godin, I’m going to redefine and repurpose it here (clear tip-off to my content-developer roots!) to describe a tribe as that group of people who make up your career inner circle. (more…)

Informational interviews: the 5 basics

Thank-you noteWhen you’re trying to learn more about potential LIS jobs, employers, or careers, few options are better than going straight to the source, otherwise known as having an information interview. They’re one of the easiest and fastest ways to increase your career smarts – even when you’re not looking for a job. Why? Because these informal conversations can provide the perfect “reality check” for what you may have read or heard about a particular employer, industry, or career path  – an insider’s view of how the world really looks from those in the trenches.

To max out the benefit of any information interview, however, you want to make sure you do these five things: (more…)

No conference budget? No problem. Do this instead (and don’t spend a dime)

Hispanic woman using laptop on coffee table

Professional conferences can be a great LIS career booster – in-person networking, learning from cutting-edge presentations, immersing yourself in the dynamic energy of the profession or a new-to-you industry. There’s just one problem: conferences, including their registration, housing and travel costs, can be way expensive.

In addition, the broader your LIS interests and areas of expertise, the wider the range of conferences that might pique your interest. PLA, SLA, ALA, AASL, ACRL, and AIIP might just be the starters. Then there’s Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian, the Charleston Conference, KM World, ARMA Live, the ASIS&T annual conference, and dozens of other specialized information professional events.

Information professionals are even finding a home at theoretically unrelated events such as the music and tech festival, South by Southwest (SXSW), an indicator of the expanding range of information/library expertise and interests.

If you can only afford one, does that mean you miss out on everything else?

Not necessarily. (more…)

Use a SWOT analysis to plot your career strategy

diagram illustration

Businesses use SWOT analyses (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to help them plot their next moves. Where should they spend their money, where save it? What opportunities should they go after, and which aren’t worth the effort? That same approach can be just as valuable for you as figure out your next career moves. (more…)