Meeting the challenges of the ever-changing workplace: how to future-proof your skills
MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF THE
how to future-proof your skills
Laura Woods, Research &
Information Officer, Brake
I am an imposter!
I am not...
A law librarian
A knowledge manager
An information manager
...or am I?
Who am I?
Former law librarian
– Gray’s Inn 2007-08
– Davies Arnold Cooper 2009-11
– Addleshaw Goddard 2011-2012
Currently research and information officer for a
Campaigning road safety charity
Supporting the victims
Campaigning for safer roads
Engaging with fleet and road safety
What I do at Brake
A bit of everything!
Keep on top of road safety research
Build a network of expert speakers/writers and
organisation case studies
Research, write and edit guidance for
employers, police, and support literature
Talk to the media – written quotes and TV/radio
Am I a librarian?
No! No resources to manage (print or
electronic), no information service either
internally or externally.
Yes! I am an information professional – I
produce and disseminate information and
connect others with the knowledge they need.
What “traditional” jobs do I do?
Abstracting and summarising
Evaluating information sources (CRAAP test)
Tracking down open access publications
Web content management
Organising and presenting information
How did I get here?
Wanted to move to the charity sector
Traditional librarian jobs in charities are few and
Looked for jobs that would use my skills but
weren’t considered librarian jobs
Looking for jobs
Identified where to look
– Charityjob.co.uk, Guardian jobs page, notifications
from individual organisations
Identified keywords for the jobs I wanted
– Information, communication, research, content,
Explaining myself at interview
My interviewers weren’t librarians...
...hadn’t hired librarians...
...and weren’t looking to hire a librarian!
I had to explain my skills and experience without
any of the shorthand I was used to.
Explain your job without using these words...
What skills can you bring?
The first step is knowing what you can do
How do your skills/experience match up to the
jobs you want to do?
Skills audit – look at what you do and what skills
your job involves
Exercise: skills audit
Job role Skills Where developed?
Build a network of expert
Written and verbal
Attending law firm practice
Research, write and edit
guidance for fleets and
Writing and editing
Summarising complex info
Locating info from various
Evaluating sources of info
Summarising legal and
Developing practice group
Talk to the media Written and verbal
Running training sessions
Speaking at professional
Exercise: skills audit
What do you do in your job?
– E.g. Tracking legislation progress
What skills does this involve?
– E.g. Information literacy, knowledge of relevant
sources, summarising and presenting information
How did you develop these skills?
– E.g. In work, in volunteering roles, from
Developing your skills
What do you want to do vs what can you do
– What skills will you need for your next move?
Avenues for development
– Can you develop within your current role?
– Opportunities/funding for development?
Soft skills vs hard skills
– Do you need to know how to do specific tasks? (e.g.
– Or do you need specific skills? (e.g. delivering training)
Finding your dream job
– Are you actively looking?
– or just lost your job and need a new one quickly?
What do you really want to do?
What are your priorities?
– Job type
– Organisation type
In the job – proving yourself
How do you introduce yourself to colleagues?
– By your job title?
– By what you do?
How do you explain what you do?
Exercise: Elevator pitch
Come up with a one-sentence “pitch” to explain
your role and your skills
Think about the Taboo game from earlier – try
and avoid the same buzzwords!
My elevator pitches
I’m an expert in finding and evaluating
information, so we have the most accurate,
robust evidence on which to base our work.
I connect the people who know things with the
people who need to know them.
I’m immersed in road safety information so I
know what information and developments we
will need to act on.
In the job: finding new opportunities
Always look for where you can add value
What could be improved?
– E.g. Is your intranet organised and structured
– Is knowledge capture happening?
– Are information laws being followed?
Don’t assume people will know to ask for your
help – be nosey!
Information professionals have a wide range of
...but not everyone knows this!
Learn the organisation’s language and explain
what you do in their words
Analyse your skills – you can do more than you
Always look for opportunities to develop
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