The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job (and 1 Librarian Abroad) Interviews :
June 22-26, 2020
Welcome to the 5th weekly summary of INALJ’s 2020 series on non-library jobs for library workers and those with their MLIS. This week I am adding in the summary for INALJ’s first interview in my newest series on getting a Library job abroad. But before we get to this week’s summary check out
- My 1st weekly summary: The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews : May 26-29, 2020.
- My 2nd weekly summary: The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews : June 1-5, 2020.
- My 3rd weekly summary: The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews : June 8-12, 2020.
- My 4th weekly summary: The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews : June 15-19, 2020.
I am grateful for the time and expertise of all of this week’s interviewees. The aim of the weekly summary is to give a snapshot of the top two takeaways for each interview, then as a value-add I have included further resources for each job title, with an emphasis on jobs resources, associations, and certifications. Usually it is published on Fridays but this week, due to life I am publishing it on the following Monday.
As always INALJ remains free and accessible to all with a focus on LIS (library and information science) folk. If you find value in our labor consider contributing. Employers can sponsor a job (which is the funding for the site) or post free jobs and readers can donate. If you would like to contribute your own non-library job career story please email naomi dot house at inalj dot com. I hope you enjoy the series and gain knowledge that helps you in your own job hunt or career.
Additional Resource Suggestion : The Ink On The Page’s #RECOGNIZE interview series
One additional resource I would like to recommend to my readers is The Ink On The Page’s #Recognize interview series. “A public scratchpad for ideas about professionalism, research/scholarship, and other aspects of academic library work-life – and a sandbox for sharing music, media, creativity, and inspiration – from the perspective of an (African) American information professional living in the South.” The interview series was created by Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, M.S.L.S. (whom you can also follow at @Kaetrena) and “is meant to offer a platform for PoC librarians to briefly share their perspectives on American LIS practice, share their latest work, and/or showcase what inspires them when they are not in the stacks.” You may also follow the site on Twitter @TheInkOnThePage. The interviews with PoC in LIS are extremely helpful in understanding job fields LIS pros can do and so much more.
Here are this week’s 6 interview summaries:
- Search Quality Analyst, Business Systems Analyst & Taxonomist Summary
- Coordinator of Volunteers Summary
- Military Librarian Overseas Summary
- Sales Manager Summary
- Knowledge Manager (KM) Summary
- Brand Archivist Summary
Search Quality Analyst, Business Systems Analyst & Taxonomist Summary
I got the week started with a multi-focused interview about his career trajectory with Leif Durley, search quality analyst at Glassdoor, “On Search Quality Analyst, Business Systems Analyst & Taxonomist Work : an Interview with Leif Durley.” Two key takeaways from the interview:
- “So… what these tech companies all need, it turns out, is people to structure and architect their data in ways that products can be built on top of them to serve their users/customers with the most precise and complete set of whatever they are looking for that a company has. This is known as taxonomy or the classification of [insert product] often using metadata to further differentiate for better findability. At tech companies you’ll often hear the term “structured data” associated with roles fit for MLSers because this is of course what we do as library professionals; structure data to begin using it.”
- “I think LIS workers are particularly suited for taxonomy work because there is so much research involved. Who checks their sources and makes the most well informed decisions based on the information as we do?! In both of these roles I’ve had, you are not expected to come in knowing everything about a product but you are expected to immerse yourself and become a subject matter expert in order to own the taxonomy. “
- Read the full interview and more tips “On Search Quality Analyst, Business Systems Analyst & Taxonomist Work : an Interview with Leif Durley.”
Further Resources for Search Quality Analyst, Business Systems Analyst & Taxonomist Jobs
- Keyword searches for analyst and taxonomist positions on major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA, as well as job aggregators like Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkUp are key. Leif points out that “the term “structured data” associated with roles fit for MLSers” so this is an important keyword search you can use when checking out jobs sites / boards for jobs you may qualify for.
- In addition to your MLS/MLIS having Project Management Certification and SQL training can be helpful as well. There are many options out there for training/certification in both these aspects, and if you are currently employed or in school check to see what may be available to you for free. Leif also mentions that he sent his “resume cold to an agency that places information professionals” in his state and that is how he got his first placement.
- Recruiters want to get to know MLS pros because their jobs are to find qualified candidates, so do not be afraid to reach out to them. You can research recruiter directories, and read up on Job hunting tips from sources like Glassdoor (where Leif now works) like, “7 Ways to Get Recruiters & Job Offers to Come to You.” I also follow library job recruiters on LinkedIn.
Coordinator of Volunteers Summary
Amber Loveless takes us through how an outside-the-box job at an outside-the-box employer, a hospice, can be a viable option, in her interview, “On Coordinator of Volunteers Work : an Interview with Amber Loveless.” Two key takeaways from the interview:
- “When the volunteer services position opened, it seemed like a great fit with my MLS skills and also with the library-related soft skills I had, like empathy, readers advisory–in this case I was matching volunteers to patients rather than to books, structure and organization.”
- “I was experienced as a volunteer, though, at places with well-run volunteer programs. Having the advantage of being a volunteer and coordinating volunteers definitely made me a better leader. It gave me the ability to look at both sides so I can always ask what does the volunteer get out of the situation and how does the company benefit from having a volunteer program.”
- Read the full interview and more tips “On Coordinator of Volunteers Work : an Interview with Amber Loveless.”
Further Resources for Coordinator of Volunteers Jobs
- Keyword searches for volunteer coodinator positions on both major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA, as well as job aggregators like Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkUp. I also have seen these positions open in Government jobs sites like USAJobs and Government Jobs, so set alerts for those too.
- Amber mentions having volunteer experience can be key, so reaching out to your own network including Library Association listservs can help, but I found my own first volunteer position teaching English in DC on Idealist, so checking there may be helpful as well.
Military Librarian Overseas Summary
This week I kicked off a new series of interviews with Librarians Abroad focused on how LIS pros can be better candidates to land jobs abroad and Jada Jones got us started with, “On Being a Military Librarian Overseas : an INALJ Librarians Abroad Interview with Jada Jones.” Two key takeaways from the interview:
- The subtitle of her interview is a huge help in explaining how to stand out, it states “with info on how PMP (Project Management Professional) certification can help your job hunt,” and she expands on how to get certification and why it is important in her interview.
- “Federal jobs in general are very tough and the applications can be hard to navigate, but overseas jobs have additional preferences to assist with the employment of active duty military family members while overseas. The best advice that I have is to take a workshop in navigating the federal application process (these are offered through USAjobs and elsewhere) so that you can meet all of the qualifications when applying.”
- Read the full interview and more tips “On Being a Military Librarian Overseas : an INALJ Librarians Abroad Interview with Jada Jones.”
Further Resources for Military Librarian Overseas Jobs
- The key to finding these positions is to set up alerts or regularly check the federal jobs advertised on USAJobs. Sometimes you can find contracting positions and government ones too also advertised on major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA. I know I harvest from USAJobs and have had other contractors advertise on INALJ Jobs as well.
- Jada gave several great tips in her interview including using the resources and workshops available on USAJobs site to learn what is required and how to put together a winning application. She also recommends getting Project Management Certification to stand out, like Leif does above. There are many options so check around to see if there are any available to you for free or within your budget.
Sales Manager Summary
This fantastic interview with Kate Kosturski tackles the complicated relationship for librarians who work for vendors and really explains how they have the best ability to understand both sides of the transaction in, “On Sales Manager Work : an Interview with Kate Kosturski.” She also touches on her work as a journalist in the comics world too. Two key takeaways from the interview:
- “Talk up your library degree in interviews. The librarian versus the library vendor conflict is right up there with Capulet and Montague feud from Romeo and Juliet: the two sides just sometimes can’t seem to agree! By speaking the language of the library, you can bring that benefit to both your customers and to your colleagues. You’re that bridge that can help each side understand the other better.”
- “A big misconception is that you have to be an outgoing, extroverted person in order to have a successful career in sales. While it does help, it’s not always the case …librarians are excellent at research, so having good research skills to do that due diligence on your customers is very key. If that idea of presenting or negotiating makes you nervous, see if you can find some skills training in those areas.”
- Read the full interview and more tips “On Sales Manager Work : an Interview with Kate Kosturski.“
Further Resources for Sales Manager Jobs
- This is one of the most straight forward job hunts within LIS that you can undertake. If you want to work for a vendor then search vendor’s specific jobs on their sites to see what they offer. Additionally you can check major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA. I know I harvest from several library vendors and share their jobs.
- If you are struggling to think of where to start finding vendor jobs sites start with your local library system site and see which vendors they use. ALA has several resources and lists of vendors on their site. Also check out the exhibitors lists for conferences, like the 2020 SLA list of conference exhibitors. When I was a library assistant and working on my BA degree I searched the site for what is now Thomson Reuters for jobs in DC with the word “research” in them and successfully found some to apply to.
Knowledge Manager (KM) Summary
I finished the week with 2 fantastic interviews with Laura Pike-Seeley, beginning with “On Knowledge Manager (KM) Work : an Interview with Laura Pike-Seeley.” Three key takeaways from the interview:
- “First of all, as working from home becomes more prevalent, improving the digital workplace experience will become a priority across industries. Knowledge management is a crucial piece to this puzzle, and I believe it will become an increasingly relevant function. LIS workers can serve an important role in this workplace movement.”
- “Skills that would serve you well in the field of knowledge management include taxonomy development, original and unique cataloging, basic web and graphic design, and change management, so any opportunity to develop those skills will help you in the job market. While you’re working on your personal brand, go ahead and create your own personal website, which will help you grow your communication and web design skills.”
- “Hiring managers should strongly consider professionals with this degree any time they are hoping to move their processes and/or resources from a state of chaos to order.”
- Read the full interview and more tips “On Knowledge Manager (KM) Work : an Interview with Laura Pike-Seeley.”
Further Resources for Knowledge Manager (KM) Jobs
- KM is already an established concentration in many iSchools so you may already have a network to tap about jobs resources including former/current professors. As always major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA, as well as job aggregators like Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkUp are key. Keyword search “knowledge management.”
- Laura mentions developing your personal brand and working “in non-traditional library environments as much as you can” to gain a variety of experience. She also recommends several conferences in her interview, and you can see if they have online resources. KM World and CMSWire’s Digital Workplace Experience.
Brand Archivist Summary
Laura Pike-Seeley’s second interview is about her time at Fossil getting their archives and library established, “On Brand Archivist Work : an Interview with Laura Pike-Seeley.” Two key takeaways from the interview:
- “You will often be challenged to pave your own way and market yourself and your services internally, and if you do this well, you will often be given the chance to establish your own priorities. If you are a self-starter who isn’t afraid of change, this could be a great path for you.”
- “You should prepare to be an LIS generalist, rather than a specialist, if you are interested in special libraries. You should be comfortable with original cataloging, reference and outreach, and collection development. Outside of library-specific skills, you should be ready to develop communication, research and management skills.”
- Read the full interview and more tips “On Information Services Work : an Interview with Adaliz N. Cruz.”
Further Resources for Brand Archivist Jobs
- The top resource for Archives jobs is Archives Gig, which has been maintained and was created by Meredith Lowe. Additionally Meredith has been a long time advocate for posting only jobs and internships which pay. SAA has a careers site you can check. Major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA, as well as job aggregators like Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkUp are key. Keyword search “archives” and “archivist.”
- Having an archives focus or certification in your MLIS can be helpful as well.
- Non-Library jobs for Librarians and other Info Pros: anyone who has worked in or had education for library work, at all levels, who is now working in a non-library job that is a good fit for LIS workers
- Librarians Abroad: American librarians who have found employment as librarians or in LIS fields abroad
- Entrepreneur Librarians: former Library workers and Librarians (and GLAM folk) who have started their own businesses
If interested in being interviewed please email email@example.com for more information and please do mention which series you are interested in and maybe a brief why you think you’d be a good fit! I really want to share and emphasize the work of Black Women and BIPOC so please, if you know someone, pass this along.
I will continue to run interviews as long as I have them throughout the summer, after this week long break, along with the other series mentioned above. Looking forward to sharing more job fields and more perspectives from LIS Pros / Info Pros who work in non-library jobs. If you are interested in being interviewed for this series, and you are working in a non-library position please email me at naomi dot house at inalj dot com. I am open to those with education and experience in the other GLAM fields as well.
Views expressed are those of the interviewees and not INALJ or their employer. Photos provided by the interviewees and permission granted to use them for these interviews.