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Should New Grads Take Non-LIS Jobs?

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?
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Looking for Emerging Information Professional Jobs? Start Here

To paraphrase the oh-so-elegant Babe Paley, you can never be too rich or have too many terrific books on LIS career options. Two of the best ones on alternative LIS paths are A Day in the Life: Career Options in Library and Information Science (Priscilla K. Shontz and Richard Murray, Libraries Unlimited, 2007) and What’s the Alternative? Career Options for Librarians and Info Pros (Rachel Singer Gordon, Information Today, 2008).
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They Hired the Other Candidate – Now What?

Recently I’ve had several conversations with friends, colleagues, and a couple of nieces and nephews who’ve made it to the final cut of a job candidacy, only to learn, after several rounds of interviews, that the other applicant was hired. Their reactions have understandably ranged from disappointment to frustration to resignation (okay, with a couple of double scotches mixed in).

But even though these reactions make complete sense, they’re not likely to help advance friends and family members toward their ultimate goal of landing that great job. Instead, here’s the approach I recommended they consider:

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For 2011: Say Yes

Ah, where was I before all hell broke loose, which is another way of saying before I started teaching this past fall? The double whammy of teaching my alternative LIS careers course for the University of Denver and then the holidays means that it’s been an embarrassingly long time since I last posted.

Perfect timing for a New Year’s resolution to be a more diligent blogger, yes? Maybe, maybe not.
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Putting Yourself in the Path of Opportunity

Creating a dynamic career is often a mix of good luck, hard work, and an ability to position yourself smack in the middle of the “path of opportunity” – that spot where cool new things are happening, and someone needs to take charge. If that’s where you’d like to be, consider the following four actions to get things moving:

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F. Scott Fitzgerald Got It Wrong

In fact, I think he completely missed the mark with his “There are no second acts in American lives” remark. On the contrary, we are completely capable of reinventing ourselves – and our careers – on an ongoing basis.

Sometimes it happens just by accident. You start out doing one job, and then you end up being the person who just happens to be good at that new thing that needed to be done, and your career takes off heading in a new direction. Or you volunteer for a project and then realize that you not only love the new work you’re doing, you’re also pretty darn good at it – so you keep doing it. Or you’re promoted into a position that at first feels way over your head but then ends up being a perfect match for your growing professional skills. In each instance, you’re reinventing your career.

Other times, however, reinventing yourself – creating that next act – becomes a purposeful choice. Perhaps you’ve simply outgrown the job you’ve been in for years, and are ready to explore the question of what type of work or work environment might re-engage you. Or perhaps a change in your job (new boss? new leadership? new expectations? new mission?) has left you feeling like it’s time to consider other, more rewarding, options. Or perhaps your personal circumstances have changed, so that what worked for you previously no longer meets your requirements.

For whatever reason, you’re ready to reinvent your career.

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Career Profile: Sara Mooney, Technical Documentalist, Cirque du Soleil

Sara Mooney has managed to combine a love of theater with her LIS skills in a highly unusual job, with a highly innovative organization. She managed to follow her own interests while also doing a great job of creating business value wherever she went. Her comments about her job and her eclectic career path:

What is your current position or professional role?
Technical Documentalist for Cirque du Soleil

How long have you been doing this work?
Approximately 2 ½ years although I’ve been with Cirque for eight years.

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Stephen Abram: LIS Career Opportunities and Insights

In his Career Profile, Stephen Abram discussed his career path, including his highly-visible work with information vendors, his publishing and presentation work, and his involvement with many national and international professional associations.

Here, Stephen talks about working with a vendor as a career path, and the opportunities he sees emerging for LIS professionals in the coming years.

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Career Profile: Stephen Abram, Cengage Learning

Stephen Abram has had multiple high-visibility, high-impact roles within the library profession the most recent with Cengage Learning, known formerly as Gale. His career history provides a terrific tour through the ways an information professional can continue to grow and add value in a constantly changing environment. Sort of like the one we’re in now.

Following is Part 1 of a two-part interview with Stephen. Be sure to also see Part 2, LIS Career Insights from Stephen Abram.

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Seven Careers – Or Seven Career Extensions?

Recently the Wall Street Journal ran an article debunking the oft-repeated mantra that most of us will go through seven career changes throughout our working lifetimes. Basically, the Department of Labor has completely disavowed the statement, and no one’s ready to ‘fess up to having started the seven-careers rumor.

However, I think a more valid (and useful) way of framing this is that we may, in fact, be much likelier to have at least seven career extensions throughout our working lives. With that frame, I’ve had at least seven so far, and have friends and colleagues who’ve had even more as new opportunities have opened up (or been created by them).

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