The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews : June 8-12, 2020

by Naomi House, MLIS

The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews :
June 8-12, 2020

Welcome to the third weekly summary of INALJ’s 2020 series on non-library jobs for library workers and those with their MLIS. For the first weekly summary please read The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews : May 26-29, 2020. For the second weekly summary please read The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews : June 1-5, 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 my own job applications, I am publishing it on Sunday.

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 : WOC+Lib

One additional resource I would like to recommend to my readers is WOC+Lib: Showcasing Various Voices. They provide “a safe, inclusive place for (POC) in GLAM that promotes marginalized voices and identities in the field” and it was created by @lonyemeh and @Lorinland. You may follow them on Twitter @wocandlib. Their interviews with WOC in LIS are extremely helpful in understanding job fields LIS pros can do.

Here are this week’s 5 interview summaries:

Skip ahead to what to expect next week!


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Curator Summary

The week started with an in depth interview with Ashleigh D. Coren about her career path and need to pivot from her original intentions after the recession, “On Curatorial Work : an Interview with Ashleigh D. Coren.” Two key takeaways from the interview:

  • “LIS folks have so many skills that are necessary in the museum world: information management/metadata; information literacy/instruction, managing special collections and archival records, outreach/event planning, and work with copyright and intellectual property.”
  • “Be open. I’ve met a lot of folks who are very much dead set on working for a specific university/museum/library. I understand that everyone’s circumstances are different, but I know that I’ve probably missed out on wonderful opportunities in the past because I used to be so laser focused on certain things. I definitely would not be working for the National Portrait Gallery if I kept the same goals I developed in 2014.”
  • Read the full interview and more tips “On Curatorial Work : an Interview with Ashleigh D. Coren.”

Further Resources for Curator Jobs


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DAM (Digital Asset Management) Summary

My interview with Angela Pagliaro focused on concrete steps LIS Pros can take to get into the field, “On DAM (Digital Asset Management) Work : an Interview with Angela Pagliaro.” Two key takeaways from the interview:

  • “DAM folks need to have an eye for detail, understand information systems (metadata and taxonomies) but also need to be able to see the larger picture and the details of how the DAM system and the assets stored there can impact the company or organization. I think hiring managers are looking for people who can get into the weeds of the system but won’t get too wrapped up in the details.”
  • “For this job, I knew it was important for me to be honest about my skillset since it was my first DAM job. When I interviewed, I made it clear that there were certain tasks I had never performed but that there were plenty of other things I’ve learned on the job in my previous roles.”
  • Read the full interview and more tips “On DAM (Digital Asset Management) Work : an Interview with Angela Pagliaro.

Further Resources for DAM (Digital Asset Management) Jobs


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UX & Content Strategy Summary

In her interview Tawny Sverdlin focuses on why and how she pivoted into her roles, “On UX & Content Strategy Work : an Interview with Tawny Sverdlin.” Two key takeaways from the interview:

  • “UX and content strategy are fields that suit the skills and interests of LIS students. We are interested in the democracy of information and technology, and tend to value effective communication. I think there is a lot of empathy in both traditional library work and in these fields, as well as a need for analytical thinking and organization.”
  • “Look for continuing education programs at local universities. They are designed for adult students, and most people work and attend classes in the evening or online. Any program or class that focuses on web development, professional writing, UX design, or technical writing is helpful. In my field, it’s never ok to stop learning.
  • Read the full interview and more tips “On UX & Content Strategy Work : an Interview with Tawny Sverdlin.

Further Resources for UX & Content Strategy Jobs

  • Keyword searches for SEO, Content Strategy and UX on both major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA, as well as job aggregators like Indeed and LinkUp are great strategies. Additionally seek out more niche association jobs boards like the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) jobs site.
  • Tawny points to both “continuing education programs at local universities” and her own experience with continuing ed using “CodeAcademy and UC Berkeley – Extension” and she is working on her “UX Design certificate program at University of the Arts.” There are many options for learning about UX Design & User Experience Design as well as gaining certification including Coursera and Udemy.


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User Researcher Summary

UK based LIS pro Natasha S. Chowdory takes us through the variety of work she does as a User Researcher, “On User Researcher Work : an Interview with Natasha S. Chowdory.” Two key takeaways from the interview:

  • “My work is project-based, and we work around specific phases of work (Discovery, Alpha and Beta) and I work solely in the public sector (which I love)… It is definitely very fast-paced, and I had to hit the ground at a sprint. My constant pivoting through jobs over the last few years has helped prepare me for this.”
  • “Half of good UR work is being able to communicate effectively and take people (users) and stakeholders on that journey with you. I had been doing this for so long when extolling the virtues of libraries in my jobs and skills I could offer, that it’s something that I have as a muscle now.”
  • Read the full interview and more tips “On User Researcher Work : an Interview with Natasha S. Chowdory.”

Further Resources for User Researcher Jobs

  • Although Natasha is UK based, User Researcher jobs can be found globally including in the US. The best bet is to Keyword search for User Researcher positions on major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA, as well as job aggregators like Indeed and LinkUp.
  • Natasha recommends “being open to working on anything that is ‘user centered’ would be a plus as well and having knowledge of specific areas” which definitely fits LIS work and education. It all ties in to UX work as well (see those resources above.)


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Talent Intelligence Summary

My first non-college library job I got through a recruiter who had noticed my customer service skills while shopping at the import store I worked at and chatted me up about my own career goals and interests. Kim Haemmerle flips this and takes us through her surprising journey from recruiter to talent intelligence specialist, “On Talent Intelligence Work : an Interview with Kim Haemmerle.” Two key takeaways from the interview:

  • “I was asked by my hiring manager to identify the root cause of a staffing concern – we were having trouble attracting talent to a certain job. I decided to look on LinkedIn and do some keyword searching – I found that only 40 people in the world had the job title we posted. That’s right, 40 people. Naturally, we brainstormed a better title and more candidates started appearing in our system. Because I had my MLIS at this point, I realized there was an opportunity to leverage the combination of my recruiting knowledge and information retrieval and analysis skills.”
  • “LIS workers stand out in this field because of our degree – it means we are innately curious, quick learners, and want to help others. Our backgrounds often involve the stellar combination of customer service (assisting patrons and clients, responding to inquiries, and follow up) and academic training (information retrieval, critical thinking, and organizational skills) that are sought after in this field. Hiring managers often look for candidates who can “get their hands dirty” and actually do the work required, and at the same time, be comfortable leading a team call or explaining why a decision has been made. As LIS professionals, we do those things all the time, just in different environments. Remember: transferable skills.”
  • Read the full interview and more tips “On Talent Intelligence Work : an Interview with Kim Haemmerle.”

Further Resources for Talent Intelligence Jobs

  • LIS jobs boards rarely have this type of work listed, but it cannot hurt to check them. I would instead recommend focusing on general boards like Indeed and LinkUp. Keywords to look out for in your job search include “research analyst,” “recruiter” and “talent intelligence”especially on jobs boards for recruiting agencies or executive search firms.
  • Kim recommends getting your foot in the door by reaching out to recruiting agencies about working for them as recruiters.


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Next week I will share interviews from those working in the following fields:

  • User Research Operations & Knowledge Manager
  • IT Business System Analyst / Scrum Master
  • Document Management Technician
  • Trainer Developer / Intranet Specialist / IT Specialist
  • Knowledge Manager / Brand Archivist

I will continue to run interviews as long as I have them throughout the summer along with other series as yet to be determined. 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.

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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.

All INALJ Library and LIS jobs may be found here. How to Sponsor or Post a Job information here.

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. 

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