10 career building tips for library students and new graduates

I recently spoke at an online careers evening, with two other library professionals. The central idea for my talk was “It’s Up To You” and I wasn’t surprised to hear the other speakers talk about taking control of their career post-study, reinforcing my theme perfectly! And I wasn’t surprised to hear that both speakers talk about seizing opportunities, making hard decisions around study, moving for work and joining special interest groups to network and learn.

Once you have graduated from your library course, the learning begins all over again. You might secure a role straight away and HELLO! time to learn all the things about your organisation and job. Or you may be job searching or learning how to maintain your enthusiasm and library knowledge whilst working in another industry. But how do you find the right people to connect with, find a mentor or learn more about the specific area of library/information you are interested in?

Before the information session started, I created a Google Doc to capture articles and links that would be useful for those attending, and of course I shared it on Twitter and the Turbitt & Duck Facebook group, with a request for my fellow library people:

The collaboration and knowledge sharing game is strong in the library and information world, so here are ten tips from the It’s Up To You Google Doc, Twitter discussion, information session and me!

  1. Join Twitter – it’s brilliant for following conferences from afar, connecting with people, finding resources and sharing knowledge.
  2. Brush up on your interview skills.
  3. Ask a colleague or friend to review your resume or use a resume review service. If it’s been a long time since you’ve updated this document, do it now.
  4. Join a special interest group. You will expand your networks and find opportunities very quickly!
  5. Be curious! Ask questions and read widely.
  6. Create networks. If you are happy to do this online, join Twitter, Facebook groups, participate in online chats. If face to face is your thing, find a local group or event or start one.
  7. Volunteer at GLAM events. You’ll meet people, hear from industry experts and flex your networking muscles.
  8. Professional development comes in many forms – articles, blog posts, YouTube videos, podcast episodes, hands on learning, books, online discussions  . . . get creative!
  9. Spend time learning about transferable skills and how to translate what you already have into library and information terms.
  10. Don’t expect your employer to provide opportunities for you. It’s up to you to develop the skills, attributes and knowledge you need.

The “It’s Up To You” doc will stay open to all, so if you have something to add, please do! And thank you to everyone who has contributed, let’s keep adding and sharing!

Stressed? I haven’t got time!

Time management and stress management was the theme of the first #auslibchat for 2018 and if you’re looking for a Twitter chat full of suggestions, puns, GIFs and support, jump over there immediately and bookmark/Pocket/Pinterest/print all the things. Seriously, if you need one reason to join Twitter, do it for this monthly chat. Instead of typing several long tweets with links to resources, it seemed like a nice idea to capture them here.

Here are some of my go-to stress and time management tools, in no particular order:

Learning how to live, work and get through the hard stuff

  1. Listening to stories and ideas about life (personal and professional) is my main stress management tool (particularly combined with point 3 on this list). Individual experiences, what went wrong and right, embracing change, developing new skills or becoming more resilient . . . it might not sound like stress management to you, but it definitely works for me. Listening and learning makes me feel more ok about myself and who I am. Try Discover Your Talent Do What You Love, How To Be Awesome At Your Job, Made of Human, Get Your Sh*t Together, Happier In Hollywood and By The Book.
  2. Cognitive behaviour therapy helped me change thought patterns and identify stressors before they take over. Sarah Edelman’s Change Your Thinking is an excellent introduction to CBT. My other favourite book to understand the mind and how to break free of negative self-talk is F*ck Feelings: Less Obsessing, More Living by Dr Michael Bennett and Sarah Bennett.
  3. Going outside on a break or at lunch is hugely beneficial to your mental health. Look at the sky, find some grass and take your shoes off, or just sit. Whatever works, just go outside!

Time is of the essence but also hard to wrangle

  1. Pomodoro keeps me focused for short bursts and then gives me time to wander away for a few minutes to make tea, talk to the dogs, look out the window without feeling guilty.
  2. Putting everything in my calendar, blocking out time for each task on my to do list.
  3. Headphones with music that match what I’m doing is great for keeping focused. (Now I’m working from home, I can dance and work to my hearts content – win!) I’m a big fan of wearing headphones in the office, don’t worry about offending people, just do it if you think you will get more done or need to tune out office chat!

One final thought

Having a friend (work colleague, non-work colleague, partner, parent, neighbour etc) to debrief with when work becomes too much is so important. Find that safe person, they could be online or right in front of you. It’s good to just say all the things and hear “OMG that’s terrible/stressful/have you thought about…”. And if you see someone online who seems to be struggling, reach out and send them a friendly GIF or message, whatever works. It could make all the difference.

P.S. The cards in the image are Affirmators! (50 Affirmation Cards to Help You Help Yourself – without the Self-Helpy-Ness!) and the weekly planner is from Kmart ($3!!!)

There’s no denying it

… I love podcasts.  There are so many podcast episodes on my phone that I either need an extra two hours in the day, or to get up earlier for more listening time. Here’s hoping someone can arrange those extra two hours…

Pocketcast (podcast app of choice) is full of personal development, comedy and people chatting about things. Of course, I’m also listening to gain more knowledge about hosting and editing podcasts for Turbitt & Duck, and it’s great there are so many formats and styles out there for me to learn from. These are a few episodes that ticked the “enjoyed” and “learnt something” boxes recently.

Librarians with Lives

Librarians with Lives is a new UK library podcast by Jo Wood and her first episode with Helen Berry is a cracker. Helen’s library career has been Diverse with a capital D. If you’ve ever wondered about moving between libraries and specialisations, this is a great episode. Helen is also very honest about career choices that were wrong for her and why. Have a listen! LwL Podcast Episode 1: Helen Berry

The Guilty Feminist

If you’re a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fan, you’ll enjoy the glimpse into what it takes to get their brilliant songs on TV: Episode 55. Pioneers with Rachel Bloom

How to Be Awesome at Your Job

No matter hard you try to avoid it, office politics is a thing…: Episode 213: Surviving and Winning Office Politics with Dorie Clark

Really enjoyed the quick rundowns of different personality frameworks and what they aren’t good for: Episode 215: Expanding Self-awareness Using the Top Personality Frameworks with Anne Bogel

Nerdette

Felicia Day’s book is excellent and I read it at a time when life was tricky and hard and it made me feel better about being myself. So I’m happy to listen to her talk anytime!: Felicia Day on Being Weird, Hard Work and Women in Hollywood

I stopped watching Doctor Who after David Tennant left, but have always felt a tiny bit of regret that I missed the River Song storyline. This episode has got me curious and who knows…maybe I’ll dip my toe back in: ‘Doctor Who’ Star Alex Kingston On The Women Who Drive The Tardis

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

I’ve always struggled with to do lists, but a Ta-Da! list? Yes please! Also has some excellent thoughts on ambition: Episode 134: Write a Ta-Da! list

That’s it for now! Listened to any good podcasts lately? I’d love to hear about what you’ve been enjoying.