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:
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?!
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.
Thanks to a recommendation from Ge Ge at Variegated Stacks, I recently checked out a really interesting blog called Hack Library School, an online resource “by, for and about library school students.” It’s the brainchild of Micah Vandegrift, a soon-to-graduate LIS student at Florida State University, and is based on the following ideas:
Soon-to-be-grads are starting to look for jobs, and many who’d targeted public or academic jobs are finding few opportunities. They are, however, finding other jobs that could make use of their skills. If they take these non-traditional-library jobs, will they damage their ability to land future jobs in traditional libraries should those jobs open up?
One has only to participate in a few LIS discussion lists or online groups, hang out at a professional conference or two, or read some of the many LIS blogs and their comments to realize that the library profession is in the midst of extensive and somewhat discouraging change.
Although the long-promised “graying of the profession” is in fact underway, the equally long-awaited results – thousands of professional-level jobs opening up and tons of great, entry-level opportunities for new grads – are simply not happening. Nor are they likely ever to do so again.