Select Page

What’s Up With the Elevator Speech?

Well, for starters, it shouldn’t really be a speech, but rather a brief exchange between two people momentarily sharing a connection in passing. But essentially, your piece of this exchange should be a roughly 30-second explanation of what you do (or what you would do amazingly well if given the opportunity) in language that’s clear, concise, and conversational. It’s an essential part of your professional brand, and yet often it’s one of the toughest things to come up with. (more…)

The Broaden-and-Build Career

background

While doing research for a client recently I came across the Broaden-and-Build theory of positive emotions – basically, you’re building on your existing positive emotions to broaden your positive experience of the world, and then continuing to build out from there. It dawned on me that this is a terrific analogy for what most of us are ending up doing with our careers.

We start with a basic “platform” of LIS skills, then broaden and build out from there, usually either to create new opportunities or in response to new job responsibilities. The question is, in what direction does it make sense for us to broaden and build? If you commit to ongoing professional development, you want to make sure the new skills you’re mastering open up the opportunities that pique your interest.

A Broaden-and-Build Career
I spoke with an amazing information professional today, Michele Lucero, who is the Director of Client Development for LAC Group. Her career began with ten years of public library work. But between then and now, she’s worked

– in law librarianship (first legal research then management),
– for a vendor (client relationships, market development, training),
– as a Communications Director for another law library (public relations, social media, events planning, branding),
– as an adjunct professor for an MLIS program as well as for another university in a non-MLIS program (instructional design, teaching, mentoring), and
– as a local coordinator for a remotely-delivered MLIS program (outreach, communication, marketing, recruitment).

During this period Michele also completed an MBA to boost her business skills, a master’s degree in Dispute Resolution to enhance her ability to work with individuals and groups (including clients), and is currently completing her doctorate in Organizational Leadership. In addition, during her less than three years with LAC, Michele has progressed from Director of Business Development & Recruiting to Director of Business Development & Client Services to Director of Client Development.

The “Broaden” Part
Among all the interesting aspects of Michele’s professional trajectory, one of the most fascinating to me was all of the “broadening and building” she has done throughout her career. When asked what additional skills she felt had been important to pick up along the way, she mentioned sales, project management, instructional design, team management and leadership, conflict management, customer service, public presentation skills, relationship management, and recruitment, which is a combination of almost all these skills.

Needless to say, Michele is an exceptionally high achiever, and if she weren’t such a delightful, caring, and warm human being we could almost get away with tagging her as a fluke of nature. But the reality is that she’s a perfect example of how far – and in how many diverse directions – you can take your career if you adopt a “broaden-and-build” mindset.

Where Will You Build?
Although I’m not at Michele’s level of amazing breadth of skills, my own career has broadened beyond my initial MLIS skill set to include instructional design, business writing, online content development, client relations, marketing, public relations, personal coaching, project management, and team leadership, among other skills. Some were developed in response to career opportunities, others to new responsibilities. But regardless, each eventually ended up being part of my core skill set for which clients would hire me.

When you think about broadening and building your own career, think about what kinds of opportunities you want to open up in your future, even if those are at your current employer. What additional skills will enable you to contribute in a new way or at a higher level? You probably don’t need another master’s degree, but it’s just good “career insurance” to be regularly adding new elements to what you know and can do with that knowledge.

The alternative is to stay right where you are…while the world, and the profession, passes you by.

Feedback? Revised SLA Core Competencies Draft

Yep, it’s here!

The SLA Core Competencies Revision Task Force has completed its initial revision work, and would like to ask all interested parties (including MLIS students interested in a special library-related career path) to weigh in with their comments. (The document draft is included below; the final document will be graphically designed.)

The SURVEY is brief (perhaps 5-10 minutes) and if you’d like to participate, please complete it by Friday, May 9. On behalf of the Task Force Members (Kim Dority, Kate Arnold, Anne Caputo, Susan Fifer-Canby, Cindy Hill, Deb Hunt, Carolyn Sosnowski, Jan Sykes), thank you in advance for your review and feedback.

The draft document may be found here:

Core Competencies Revisions – 4 30 14 draft

Reboot Your LIS Career?

Yesterday-Todoay-TomorrowAccording to marketing whiz Mitch Joel, author of Ctrl Alt Delete (Business Plus, 2013), we’re all sort of hanging out in uncharted territory these days, or as Joel puts it “purgatory.” New media technology has forever changed both the way we do business and the way we communicate with each other. Even those companies (and individuals) willing to adapt aren’t quite sure which way to adapt to ensure their future viability – or employability.

(more…)

Alternative Jobs/Career Paths for Former School Librarians

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about the high (and increasing) number of public middle and high schools going without professional school librarians in the state of New York. Existing positions were being eliminated, new schools were being created without any librarians on staff. I started a discussion on the LIS Career Options LinkedIn group asking whether this was part of a broader trend across the country. The response: absolutely.

(more…)

How to Be the Manager Everyone (Including You) Wants to Work For

Over the course of a highly eclectic career, I’ve had the ah, opportunity, to observe the management skills (or lack thereof) of many bosses. Since almost no one is trained in how to manage people effectively, I’ve generally been willing to cut them some slack based on the idea that I probably couldn’t do much better.

Despite that, I’ve ended up managing people and teams numerous times – and pretty much always felt like my primary goal (besides completing our project) was to not screw up my team members. “Winging it” was probably too generous a description of my best efforts….

(more…)

Signal vs. Noise: LinkedIn Endorsements

You know the drill: it’s important to have at least two (three’s better) LinkedIn recommendations for each one of your jobs, preferably from a boss, client, or higher-up colleague. These are basically written verifications of your outstanding abilities, and focus on the strengths you’d most like to be known for, by people who have seen your abilities in action. All good.

But recently LinkedIn introduced a feature that many of us are still scratching our heads about – what the heck are Endorsements, what value do they have, and, most importantly, is this something potential employers might be paying attention to?

(more…)

Being an Introvert in an Extrovert’s Career

Quit your job as a TV anchor and get a degree in library science. But if TV anchoring is
what you love, then create an extroverted persona to get yourself through the day.

-Susan Cain, Quiet

It took me a long time to realize I’m an introvert. I’ve never been particularly shy, I enjoy people when I’m hanging out with them, and growing up with three siblings, solitude was a luxury only imagined. It wasn’t until I got older and was better able to control my life circumstances that I began paying attention to when I was most energized, when most depleted. I began to realize that I enjoyed small-group get-togethers much more than large conference-type events. I explored my Myers-Briggs profile and found I was an “INTJ.”

Then, just to confirm the determination, I recently found that out of Cain’s 20 questions to identify extroversion/introversion, 19 of my answers fell firmly into the introvert category.

(more…)

Virtual internship clearinghouse – starting points

Thank you to the many LinkedIn LIS Career Options group members who weighed in with absolutely terrific, thoughtful comments about the possibility of creating a virtual internship clearinghouse. Based on their contributions, we now have a “straw man” document to start knocking around.

Project Concept

The LIS Virtual Internship Clearinghouse (VIC) will comprise a searchable database of library- or information-based internships that could be completed by LIS students, recent grads, and job-hunters via online communication and virtual project work.

(more…)

Alternative LIS Job Titles

One of the questions that have come up on the LIS Career Options LinkedIn group is what types of titles to search for when looking for alternative LIS positions. This list below, which I put together for my Alternative LIS Careers course, is by no means comprehensive, but may help provide a starting point!

(more…)