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Researching LIS job opportunities and career paths

People network - blue graphicWhether you’re a student soon to graduate and getting ready to hit the job market, an employed professional seeking to make a job change, or a now-unemployed practitioner trying to identify or create new opportunities, LIS job hunting can be an adventure (feel free to substitute your preferred adjective here).

According to David E. Perry, co-author of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 3.0: How to Stand Out from the Crowd and Tap into the Hidden Job Market Using Social Media and 999 Other Tactics Today (Jay Conrad Levinson, co-author, Wiley, 2011), “Every job search is a sales and marketing campaign.”

Although, generally speaking, sales and marketing don’t come naturally to LIS students and professionals, if you approach looking for the right job as a process to move you from point A to point B (okay, and include some sales and marketing), both the job search – and your spirits – may improve. (more…)

Find your tribe

Recently I gave a talk to the Rocky Mountain SLA chapter on adaptive competence. It’s basically the ability to repurpose if not reinvent your LIS career (pretty much on demand) as market needs and opportunities require. Your adaptive competence is built on a core understanding that regardless of your current paycheck, we’re all self-employed – it’s up to us to take charge of our options and outcomes.

One of my recommendations for building adaptive competence, also known as career resiliency, was to find your tribe. Although marketing guru Seth Godin popularized the phrase in his Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us (Portfolio, 2008), Godin’s focus was on leading movements. With apologies to Godin, I’m going to redefine and repurpose it here (clear tip-off to my content-developer roots!) to describe a tribe as that group of people who make up your career inner circle. (more…)

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…)

Becoming an agile learner – as painlessly as possible

Ever since Darwin nailed the whole ‘adaptability equals survivability’ thing, it’s been pretty clear that being able to navigate changing circumstances was going to be critical to… well, just about everything. What was once a scientific premise is now also key to career resiliency.

Translation: learn fast, learn effectively, be able to learn on demand. (more…)

Mindfulness – key to becoming a better (and happier) information professional

Mindful LibrarianHow are we to teach our students to pay attention if we have not considered this more deeply ourselves? How do we better model mindful behavior and a thoughtful, caring, and contemplative approach to life?

This is the question posed by co-author Richard Moniz in the introduction to The Mindful Librarian: Connecting the Practice of Mindfulness to Librarianship. It’s also the essence of why the five authors of this fascinating guide chose to interweave the recent findings on mindfulness into the daily life of library work. By understanding how to be more mindful ourselves, we can become both better librarians and better – happier, more present, more engaged – human beings. (more…)

8 ways organizations need your information skills

Where can your LIS skills add value to a consumer-goods company, a software development organization, a green-tech developer, a national online retailer, or any of the myriad other organizations that could really benefit from a smart information professional, whether they know it (yet) or not?

Actually, those skills can address multiple needs throughout each of these potential employers; the key is understanding how and where to “plug in.” (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…)

Use a SWOT analysis to plot your career strategy

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Businesses use SWOT analyses (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) to help them plot their next moves. Where should they spend their money, where save it? What opportunities should they go after, and which aren’t worth the effort? That same approach can be just as valuable for you as figure out your next career moves. (more…)