Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson
Grad school is not only an opportunity for you to develop your LIS skills and expertise, it’s also an opportunity for you to build a professional platform that will help launch you into a career that’s rewarding both personally and financially.
The following tactics will help you jumpstart your career:
1. Set your personal career growth agenda. Focus on growth, not grades, because your ability to grow professionally (that means stretching beyond your comfort zone, trying new challenges, recovering from failures and moving on to successes) lasts a lot longer – and will do you more good – than an A in cataloging.
“So, if I were to become an independent, what kind of work would I do?” Given the shaky state of the economy (and LIS jobs), more and more information pros are asking this question.
Or maybe you’re thinking about adding a second revenue stream in addition to your day job. Or wanting to develop a new career path into which you’ll eventually transition. If you’ve got information skills (or are willing to learn them), there are all sorts of ways to turn that knowledge into income.
What kinds of things can you do as an independent information pro? Three of the most popular types of information work are research and analysis, writing and content development, and information products.
One of the challenges for those of us in alternative LIS careers is how to describe ourselves. Information consultant? Check. Independent information professional? Check. Consulting/freelance/contract/independent librarian? Yep.
But the role I most often end up playing is information strategist. And what the heck, you may ask, is that?
The Information Strategist’s Role
As an information strategist, I work with for-profit and nonprofit organizations to help them create an information strategy that aligns with and drives their strategic goals. I meet with key members of the organization to determine answers to the following questions:
Years ago, when I was working as an executive information advisor to a CEO and was also teaching adjunct in the University of Denver MLIS program, my friend (and colleague) suggested that I wasn’t really a librarian, or a researcher, or an information manager, although I performed all those roles.
Infonista: Now My Mom Gets What I Do
Instead, she said, I was an infonista, someone who made her living using, creating, disseminating, or otherwise creating value with, information. I think she nailed it (certainly it offered a way to summarize my job skills for my mother), and I also have found that there are a lot of us who are doing exactly that – making a living with information.