Developing yourself for an alternative career


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A presentation given at the CPD25 career development day for library & information assistants:

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Developing yourself for an alternative career

  1. 1. Developing yourself for an ‘alternative’careerBethan Ruddock @bethanarCPD25, Feb 2013
  2. 2. Bethan RuddockContent Development Officer,Library and Archival Services,Mimas,University of Manchester
  3. 3. Bethan RuddockMCLIPCILIP MentorMember, CILIP Future Skills Project BoardBoard member, SLA EuropeSLA Europe ECCA 2009SLA Rising Star 2010Author, New Professional‟s Toolkit
  4. 4. What is an „alternative career‟?Depends what you think of as traditional!Can be:• A traditional role in a non-traditional environment• A non-traditional role in a traditional environment• A non-traditional role in a non-traditional environmentWhatever it is, it will use your librarianly skills and knowledge – andyou might get to learn interesting new ones, too!
  5. 5. How did I get here? MimasGraduate Trainee, University of Manchester Library, 2006-7MA Library & Information Studies, MMU, 2007-8Copac Challenge Fund Officer, Mimas, 2008-9Content Development Officer, Library & Archival Services, Mimas 2009-nowHow did I get this job? I took a chance, and applied! used under a CC licence from
  6. 6. What do I do?Take in data from libraries & archives in theUK, to make them searchable from a single interface.My job includes:• Communications• Data handling (MARC, EAD)• Data manipulation (XML, XSLT, json, javascript)• Cataloguing knowledge (library & archival)• Project management• Teaching/training (archivists & archive students)• Presenting• Writing (articles, blogs, columns)• Enquiry handling• ...Could I do most of these when I started? No!
  7. 7. My job requires me to be... A good communicator Teach & train Technically literate Enough to know what can and can‟t be done, and work with programmers Flexible Work on different projects & need to switch quickly Willing to learn Don‟t be scared of trying new things – always ready to have a go Proactive I need to identify and take opportunities An expert And willing to use that expertise Image used under a CC licence from
  8. 8. Finding an alternative career• Decide what you want to do!• Skills audit • Write down everything you can do!• Think about: • What can you do? • What do you enjoy doing? • How can you do more of the stuff you enjoy?Look at job adverts for jobs you‟d enjoy – CILIP Professional Knowledge & Skillsin 1/5/10 years time Base: skills/experience are they asking careers/professional-knowledge-and-skills-for? base/pages/professional%20knowledge%2What are you missing? Plan to fill gaps. 0and%20skills%20base.aspx (free to members, or £25) Image used under a CC licence from
  9. 9. Finding an alternative career• Look for jobs that use the skills you identified in your skills audit • Try different keywords• Look in professional press for the area/sector you‟re interested in• Look beyond “librar*” • Information • Communication • Research • Training • Data handling • Outreach • Support • Metadata Image used under a CC licence from
  10. 10. Applying for jobs• Tailor your application to that job. • Speak the language of the organisation • Don‟t use librarian/info pro/sector jargon!• Be explicit, not implicit. • Don‟t expect them to make the connections between your experience and their needs – lay it out for them.• Prepare to be Googled • Have a good online reputation that showcases your professional skills• Be brave! A job application costs you nothing, except a little time and effort, and the rewards can be huge.• Evidence doesn‟t just have to come from the job Image used under a CC licence from
  11. 11. How did I get here? Awards & ProfessionalInvolvement The power of the network! Found out about the SLA Europe ECCAs though my network Expanded network before/during/after conference • Tweeting, blogging, talking! Say „yes‟!Images used under CC licence from,,,,
  12. 12. Building your networks• Good professional networks are based on trust & respect • Be generous – give and receive • What can you do to help them?• Make new contacts • Talk to people at conferences – attendees and vendors • Online social networking can make you more comfortable approaching people• You will often find out about jobs and opportunities through word of mouth, rather than adverts.• Don‟t be scared of asking for help! • People feel valued Image used under a CC licence from
  13. 13. How did I get here? New Professional‟s Toolkit Share, care, dare the work about to take you do helping chances on others in yourself & their work others
  14. 14. Looking for something even more alternative?How about a career in a related field? You could try Archives Teaching Technology Research Publishing Cultural heritage Knowledge management Communications Community relations Image used under a CC licence from
  15. 15. So what do I do next?Skills audit: think about what you can do and what you want to doLook for job adverts – use the skills you‟ve identified as keywordsIdentify skill gaps and think about how you can fill themCreate an online presence. Expand your network.Make the most of what you do by sharing it – blog, put papers &learning objects in repositories And take time to appreciate what others shareTake a chance! Contact someone, apply for a job, volunteer for acommittee And don‟t feel bad about asking for or offering help
  16. 16. @bethanar http://lisnewprofs.comSign outside Boise State University Library, from 17