Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Jobs

Networking

One thing I have not been very good at while at Simmons (and that I have mentioned here several times before) is networking.  The idea of going up to a stranger in my field and talking about myself pretty much makes me break out in hives, and I know I’m not the only person who reacts that way.  The unfortunate part is that networking, especially in the libraries and archives spheres, is a huge career booster, and the sort of thing that you pretty much need to know how to do, no matter how much you might hate it. Our NEA mentoring group recently talked about ways to network at our last meeting, and there were some concrete suggestions on ways to do it that I think are a little less unpleasant than having to make awkward small talk with complete strangers.  Here are some of them: Join professional organizations like New England Archivists, Society of American Archivists, the American Library Association, etc. Once you do, join the professional discussion lists, like NEA Discuss, the…


Interviews

I’ve had a few job interviews in the last couple of weeks, and I have another big one coming up soon (so cross your fingers for me, if you would), so it seems like I’ve been interview prepping for months now.  I’ve probably had a hundred or so interviews in my life, so I’ve got the general idea of them down pat, but every one is different, so there’s always (for me) something to be nervous about.  (Being so nervous in important interviews is definitely something I do, to the point where my mind goes blank.  It’s an issue.) The main thing to remember is this: no one likes interviews.  Not the interviewee, who is usually at least somewhat stressed and under pressure, and not the interviewer, who isn’t under the same pressure but is still in the awkward position of having to ask questions of someone who is.  My worst interview ever was with a library in Massachusetts that quizzed me on Library of Congress call numbers and then made me to a skills…


Looking to the Future

I’m going to be honest. I have no idea what I want to do when I graduate. And around this time when we’re registering for classes and everyone is talking about their future plans, I feel so scared. I love YA books, and I love libraries. It seemed like a pretty obvious step to do the dual program. But when people try to ask me if I’m going to be a librarian or go into publishing–well, I have no idea. I think I would love to do either. Or both. I feel like the older I get the more I should know what I want to do with my life. I should be settling down, finding a long-term job and a significant other and a house. (Maybe I just think these things because my sister has already achieved most of these, and my parents keep pushing me to do the same.) But I don’t know what I want from my future. I would love to be a teen librarian. But. I don’t love a lot…


NEA Mentoring Program

A few months ago the New England Archivists sent around an email to the Simmons email list looking for students or early professionals in the archives field to join a mentoring circle, wherein a few seasoned archivists will give career advice to people just starting out.  It sounded like a great opportunity to meet people and learn a little bit about how the archives field in New England looks from the other side, once people have successfully gotten their careers in motion.  That’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot anyway, as I begin to apply for actual professional jobs.  A mentoring circle, I thought, would help.  I’m not sure exactly what I expected, but at the very least I thought it couldn’t hurt to have a dialogue about what a career in archives really looked like, especially with informal discussion.  I’ve already proven that I’m no good at conferences, but the small group aspect of this was much more appealing. We had the first meeting this week, and it was actually fun to talk…


Careers for MLIS Grads

Most people who attend a Master’s in Library and Information Science program want to work at a library or archive when they finish.  The degree tends to be centered on those types of repositories, but there are also other research-oriented jobs that an M.S. can be excellent preparation for, especially in the current job market.  Here are a few different career tracks that I’ve seen advertised in the Boston area recently: Prospect Research involves finding potential donors for non-profit organizations.  It can involve a lot of internet and database research, determining not just who is likely to want to give to an organization but also what their donation capacity is.  Because prospect researchers are employed by different types and sizes of organizations, the pay and actual job can vary widely. I’m going to be doing a prospect research internship this fall, so I’ll probably end up writing a couple of blog entries about what it’s actually like to do this type of work. Rights and Permissions Research involves doing internet research to identify and locate…


Dressing for the Interview: Feel Unstoppable, Be Unstoppable

You got the interview – high fives all around. Applying and interviewing for jobs is without doubt a big part eventually becoming the unstoppable librarian, archivist, or information scientist you have set your sights on. After scheduling an interview, you’re prepared, you’re qualified, but there’s another secret level to securing that job that can produce undue stress and unease the day of – what to wear. It’s a couple hours until your interview and you’re amid a hellscape of button down shirts and khakis trying to piece together a puzzle which will somehow reveal the perfect interview outfit. The interview that might get you the job. You’re interviewing for a job that you see as an important step on your path to becoming an unstoppable librarian, archivist, or information scientist, right? If you want to be unstoppable, feel unstoppable. Sitting down with your interviewer, it’s easy to become unsure of yourself, and wearing something which will make you feel more confident during the process can make a huge difference. Equip the threads which will remind…


Job Hunting

I have about six months left until I get my degree, and that is both incredibly exciting and incredibly terrifying.  The point of library school is, of course, to be able to get a job at the end of it, and these days the competition for that job is stiffer than ever – especially in the Boston area.  I’m a little more fortunate than a lot of my peers because I have more than a decade of professional experience under my belt, but that’s no guarantee of anything.  Luckily, the same class that gives me a dose of real world internship experience (LIS502) also gives students a crash course in resume, cover letter and interviewing dos and don’ts, then lets students discuss their own experiences. The discussions are really the meat of it, because we give each other encouragement and tips, everything from interesting job boards to tricks for combatting nervousness and professional dress (I have to admit that I am in my 30s and still can’t walk in heels particularly well. It’s an issue!). …


Serious Business

Twenty-something and caught between earning that graduate degree and staying sharp in a competitive job market – I know the feeling. When navigating a sea of internships, interviews, and conferences while completing full or part time classes, that extra boost of professionalism and confidence can make a difference. While all of those qualifications featured on your well-rendered resumé speak for themselves, having a business card can help have your bases covered on the perilous and formidable frontier of professional networking. For a long time, the word business card alone evoked imagined landscapes of beepers and shoulder pads for as far as the eye could see. But sure enough, after seeing peers arrive to events with a business card in tow changed my ideas upon seeing their convenience and functionality in action. When you meet a someone that you’d like to collaborate with in a professional context, writing their number on a nearby receipt or popping them a friend request just won’t cut it – and that’s where business cards come in. Okay, we get the…


March Madness

Clever title, right? It’s fitting because of everything going on right now, I cannot believe March is almost over already! This semester ends in just about a month and I’ll have finished 10 of 12 classes to graduate. In fact, just this week GSLIS made an exciting announcement, August grads (like me) will be able to walk at the May graduation ceremony. Although it will feel weird to receive a (fake) diploma for a degree I haven’t technically earned yet, I’m so excited to participate in the graduation ceremony! The one downside of finishing in the summer was that I thought I wouldn’t get to walk at graduation, so props to Simmons for changing their policy. It wouldn’t feel real to me if I didn’t participate in a graduation ceremony to make it official. March madness doesn’t just refer to school and my basketball bracket, last week I accepted a full-time job starting in June! I’ll be working for a tech startup company called Green Mountain Digital working on an amazing (and free!) app called…


Write. Edit. Repeat.

I started writing this blog just over a year ago, right as I started at GSLIS. When I had been a prospective student I enjoyed reading the posts of current students and was happy to be able to contribute experiences when I became a student. Lately I’ve been happier than ever that I got involved outside of classes in the form of this blog because my job is requiring a lot of writing. When I first started writing blog posts that would be posted at the end of the week I would write an outline one day, a first draft the next day and edit a third day before finally submitting. I promise I’m not a perfectionist, very far from it, but writing has always taken me a long time, and in order to prevent typos I need to look at it more than once. While this may sound excessive, I’m ultimately glad I spent so much time editing and reworking my writing last spring while I had more time to devote to it. Not…