by Jennifer Crutchfield, Head Editor, INALJ Connecticut
Tips to be professionally successful
Being successful in our profession is what we all strive for. Whether in a library setting or any professional setting, keeping ourselves focused on being successful at what we do is important in our professional development. I would like to share some tips I use daily in my position and that I hope will help you in your career.
Trying new things in our careers seems like an easy thing to do. But sometimes we can feel entitled to finding a great job quickly and painlessly because of our education or professional background. I have found that employers need to see you are willing and ready to work on new projects and try tasks that are out of your comfort zone. For example, I was really nervous when I was asked to reconcile purchasing transactions, but within a couple months I became more comfortable with the process and felt somewhat confident at what I was doing. You need to be open to change and ready to learn new processes that may be intimidating. In my experience, When I try a new task or work on a different project, I find that it’s not as scary or overwhelming as I think it’s going to be. When I give my all I find that it really makes a difference in how I’m seen as an employee and colleague. Think out of the librarian box and have faith in yourself.
Volunteering is a great way to gain experience and gain connections. I’ve volunteered for several different organizations during and after library school. Try mixing your volunteer experience up by volunteering somewhere other than a library. Gain new experiences through different organizations. Demonstrate how these different experiences can be applied to librarianship. I found the experiences not only rewarding but professionally enriching. If you have a few extra hours in your week, I highly recommend volunteering and opening the doors to new library experiences.
I’ve always believed in the importance of being a team player in your job. This is especially helpful if you have many strong personalities in your working group. It is important to share your thoughts and ideas with your group, but it’s also a great character trait when you are able to accept a colleague’s idea if it is more beneficial to the overall goal and to work through that idea in a supporting role. You will have many opportunities to shine and being in a supportive role makes you invaluable to your team. The main goal is to have your department or organization work more efficiently.
Lastly, try to stay organized. I always struggle with this one, but it is important to stay on top of your goals and your to-do list. I have recently been using Microsoft Outlook to help me with my tasks. Before using Outlook I would write my tasks down on sticky notes. I found the sticky note method didn’t work for me. I would lose the notes or simply forget the tasks. Setting up reminders with Outlook has really helped me prioritize. You can set up reminders for meeting and due dates. Keeping up with project goals shows that you’re responsible and reliable. It also helps to demonstrate how you can keep up with many tasks at one time and that you are a productive part of your team.
In sharing these thoughts and ideas, my hope is to get others to think of how they strive to be professionally successful and what actions are taken to do so. What are some actions that have worked for you?