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LIS generalist vs. specialist – which is best for you?

One of the questions most frequently asked by students is whether to specialize in a specific area (say cataloging or government documents) or graduate as a generalist, someone who has a broad range of skills but is not an expert in any. Ask five seasoned practitioners for their advice here, and you’re likely to get five well-reasoned, passionate, and completely different answers.

The reason is, there are benefits and disadvantages to both approaches. (more…)

Find – and tell – your story

How to pull the narrative threads from your chaotic eclectic career

Recently I worked with an MLIS student whose resume prior to grad school was primarily retail, clerical, and a number of nanny jobs. She was stymied about how to weave her job experience – which ostensibly had nothing to do with LIS work – into a strong enough narrative to convince employers to take a chance on her.

Many of us have been there, done that. (more…)

Career takeaways from LJ’s 2016 Placements and Salaries report

jobs-in-block-lettersThe recently published Library Journal annual “Placements and Salaries” report, written by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s Suzie Allard, once again provides fascinating insights into how new graduates are faring in the LIS job market.  (Shout-out to Library Journal for continuing to annually undertake and publicly share this information with the profession.)

The good news: to quote Dr. Allard, graduates are looking at “a healthy job market characterized by rising salary levels and work that calls for both traditional and nontraditional skills and roles.”

Key take-aways: (more…)

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…)