Taking a Career Inventory

by Christina Wilson, Head Editor of INALJ Alberta and INALJ Manitoba

Taking a Career Inventory

ChristinaWilsonThe beginning of a new year is a reminder to reflect on your career over the last year.  It’s also a good time to conduct an inventory how things went over the preceding year.  What went well?  Of which accomplishments are you particularly proud and why?  Did you learn a new skill, approach or technique?  If you haven’t done this in a few years, delay no longer and take the time to conduct a career inventory to catch up on your last few years of accomplishments and lessons learned.  Such an exercise can help you overcome the winter blues, by instilling in yourself a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from your work, including work done during your job search.


Inventory what you’ve learned, how you’ve developed and craft this into a path towards what your future career development. This exercise can help you build a personal and professional plan for self development through a goal setting exercise.  As far as career plans and preparation go, the time taken can prove to be valuable preparation for your next interview, whether within a new organization or within your existing place of work.  Try taking a few of your career highs and writing them into a narrative or “star story” that demonstrates how you work, what you are capable of, how you overcame, collaborated or achieved.  Taking the time to do this annually is good preparation for performance assessments, resume updating and interview preparation.


Several of my colleagues remarked upon this recently as they prepared for internal interviews.  Both have been in their positions in the same organization for some time and had no real need to evaluate their career highlights until an enticing job opportunity arose in the organization.   Although content in their current positions, both decided to test themselves by applying for the new positions, in different areas of the organization.  The shared that it was a challenging to go back and summarize their long careers into a resume.  Each interview also posed a test of career recall to come up with the best examples to illuminated their skills and fit accurately.  While it was challenging to reach back and recall their career highs for the purpose of the interview, it was also a rewarding personal exercise as they remembered their accomplishments, talents and areas of development.  The exercise of creating “star stories” for the purpose of shining during a job interview or performance evaluation can also be deeply satisfying.


By taking the time annually, to reflect constructively, you can update your inventory of accomplishments and career learnings.  Not only will this prepare you for your next career move, but it you’ll find it’s a fulfilling and satisfying exercise.

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular LIS jobs resource INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ.com. INALJ has had over 20 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and now lives part time in Western NY and Budapest, Hungary. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.