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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…)

Conference proposals 101: what, when, and how to submit yours

As you grow your LIS career, one of the most effective ways to build your professional reputation and visibility is to present at conferences.

You’ll have a chance to share your expertise with colleagues interesting in learning more about your topic, and create credibility for your professional knowledge.

If you’ve never gone through the proposal process, however, it can be a bit daunting at first. Rest assured, it’s actually a pretty simple process. (more…)

Choosing MLIS Programs For the Career Strengths They Deliver

Prospective students tend to evaluate MLIS programs based on brand or price or location. Another way to evaluate potential programs, however, is within the framework of how well they’ll do at helping you create job prospects. In that case, you may want to explore the programs from a slightly different angle, considering the following program characteristics:

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Pump Up Your Portfolio While You’re in Grad School

Part of what you’re doing in grad school is positioning yourself for a versatile LIS career – and hopefully a great job – once you graduate. Having a solid portfolio or “evidence of accomplishments” you can point to, either via your resume or an online e-portfolio, will greatly increase your odds of landing a job quickly. Well, okay, more quickly….

The question is – between classes, internships, possible family commitments, and other obligations, who’s got the time?!

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The Three Questions Your Career Advisor Wishes You’d Ask (While You’re Still a Student!)

Recently I had an opportunity to connect with Kelly Kowatch, Assistant Director of the University of Michigan’s School of Information Career Development Office. Kelly is also one of the co-authors, along with Judy Lawson and Joanna Kroll, of the excellent The New Information Professional: Your Guide to Careers in the Digital Age (Neal-Schuman, 2010).

I asked Kelly to do a bit of “virtual career coaching” for students by providing some practical advice on how to make the most of a program’s career services.

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