Informational interviews can be a terrific way to explore career paths, companies of potential interest, and specific types of work. But they’re also a great opportunity to build your network, professional reputation, and insider insights about specific employers while – if you approach them thoughtfully and with advance preparation.
How to Make the Most of Your Interview
You know that you never, ever use an informational interview as a sideways approach to landing a job interview – basically, that’s the fastest way to get bounced out the door. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t reap other cool benefits from your informational interviews. (more…)
Perhaps it was a new (and somewhat crazy-making) library director. Or a change in management policies. Or a redefinition of your job responsibilities. Or the company’s move away from the values that had originally brought you onboard.
Or maybe you’ve just outgrown a job that you loved.
No matter the reason, it’s time to move on.
But like all smart professionals, you know it’s a lot easier to get a new job while you’re still employed. Solution: time for a stealth job search. (more…)
If you’re in an LIS grad program, you’ll probably end up doing an internship or practicum before you graduate. Internships can be a great opportunity to apply theory to practice, letting you test out those LIS skills you’ve been diligently working on throughout your studies.
Sometimes, however, students land in a less than stellar internship situation through no fault of their own, with the result being a waste of time, effort, and serious tuition dollars.
Happily, there are ways to turn things around so that you can still salvage some major career-building benefits. Assume in this case you’re going to create a “self-directed” internship that will progress alongside your official one. Essentially, your focus will be on four outcomes: (more…)
When I recently asked a young MLIS student about her career goals, she very matter-of-factly laid out a future of LIS work comprising multiple employer/clients based on her various skill sets.
Kate possesses a rich suite of in-demand skills, ones that might previously have led to being quickly hired by a lucky organization. But as a realistic monitor of today’s LIS employment environment, she’s hoping for the best (she’ll find a great job) but planning for the worst. If no job materializes, she’ll be able to create multiple revenue streams to support herself based on her LIS skills.
In fact, Kate is actively seeking out work projects and courses to broaden and deepen the skills she may be able to offer to a diverse range of employers – or clients. She’s positioning herself to be able to contribute value over a lifetime of information work. And one of the most effective ways to do that is to consider adding freelance work or projects to your worklife and portfolio. (more…)
Want to find out more about a company, industry, or career path? (This is definitely something you want to do as often as possible while you’re going through your degree program or growing your LIS career.)
It’s tough to beat the “insider information” and insights you can get from a good informational interview. But because you’re asking someone to give up some of their time for you, it’s important to be focused and thoughtful during the time they spend with you. That means you want to think about your questions well in advance so you can not only come up with thoughtful questions but also think about good follow-ups to your interviewee’s answers. (more…)
How often have you heard the often-repeated statement that if you’re an “ABC librarian,” you’ll never be able to transition into being an “XYW librarian?” As in, if you’re a public librarian, you’ll never be able to get a job in academia, or special libraries. If you’re in a corporate library, you’d never be considered for school or public.
Among the grad students I work with, this silo effect is such an accepted fact of life that it causes them to overweight the importance of every early-career decision they make.
But is it true?
Not according to the more than three dozen LIS professionals who’ve contributed their career-transition success stories to Career Transitions for Librarians: Proven Strategies for Moving to Another Type of Library. (more…)
Recently a grad student asked me how to write a headline or tagline for her LinkedIn profile that didn’t sound hopelessly vague or nondescript. Her valid concern was that as a student she didn’t really have a job title to point to, or an extensive “work persona.” I thought about it, realized I had no clue what to suggest, and promised to get back to her after doing some research post-webinar.
What I discovered was that although almost no one takes advantage of this profile feature, it’s actually pretty easy to do once you’ve figured out the basic approach. Whether you’re an LIS student, recent graduate, or established professional, the following steps should help you develop a terrific headline. (more…)
Anytime you’re asking a favor of someone, it feels a bit awkward, and information interviews are no exception.
Generally, you’re asking someone who’s both successful in their career and really busy to give you their time and attention out of the goodness of their heart. (Okay, occasionally for a cup of coffee or a quickie lunch….) Yep, that usually triggers our automatic “do not impose on people” response, but it’s time to get over your hesitation. Why? Because informational interviews for which you’ve done your homework can be one of the most effective ways to advance both your career knowledge and your career (think network building and professional visibility) ever. (more…)
Whether 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…)
Recently New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote about “The Choice Explosion,” or the increasing number of choices we have regarding every aspect of our lives. The research he cites confirms the tendency of Americans to prefer a high level of independent, personal choice. And in many ways, we’re no different when it comes to our careers. (more…)