The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews : June 15-19, 2020

by Naomi House, MLIS

The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews :
June 15-19, 2020

Welcome to the fourth 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. For the third weekly summary please read The Week in INALJ Non-Library Job Interviews : June 8-12, 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 the Juneteenth commemorations, I am publishing it on Saturday.

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.

Here are this week’s 4 interview summaries:

Skip ahead to what to expect next week!


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User Research Operations & Knowledge Manager Summary

The week started with an in depth interview with Samantha Sergeant, a UK librarian, about her career path and how solving practical challenges inspired her career change, “On User Research Operations & Knowledge Manager Work : an Interview with Samantha Sergeant.” Two key takeaways from the interview:

  • “I’m most motivated when I’m solving practical challenges which involve information transfer, and improving systems and processes. That’s why I decided to move away from professional services and into the research operations field.”
  • “Where user research exists, research ops is sure to shortly follow once the team realise how much of their precious researchers’ time is being expended on tasks they’re not best qualified for and probably don’t enjoy.”
  • Read the full interview and more tips “On User Research Operations & Knowledge Manager Work : an Interview with Samantha Sergeant.”

Further Resources for User Research Operations Jobs

  • Samantha points out that this is an emerging and niche field, so finding jobs can be hard. She recommends LinkedIn jobs and “following big digital players, like the big tech companies or digital departments within government.” Joining online Research Ops communities, like the re+ops one can help get your foot in the door and understand the field better.
  • Keyword searches for research operations and user research positions on job aggregators like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkUp.


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IT Business System Analyst & Scrum Master Summary

My interview with Laura Gavin was both a journey to and through her career from librarian to non-library work, “On Lead IT Business System Analyst & Scrum Master Work : an Interview with Laura Gavin.” Two key takeaways from the interview:

  • “I’ll never forget the job post: Manage the innovation pipeline from idea generation through concept development. Qualifications: background in information sciences, library science or equivalent background required. Whoa! This job was not at a library, but they wanted someone who had that experience.”
  • “Never underestimate your reference skills. I am constantly asking open ended questions, starting with the phrase, “Help me understand….”. Keep asking questions. I conduct reference interviews in my current role for many reasons. Often I am trying to understand a problem so that I can find a solution.”
  • Read the full interview and more tips “On Lead IT Business System Analyst & Scrum Master Work : an Interview with Laura Gavin.”

Further Resources for IT Business System Analyst & Scrum Master Jobs

  • Keyword searches for “innovation curator,” “business system analyst,” “IT business system analyst,” “scrum master,” and “customer experience manager” (all jobs Laura has held) on job aggregators like Indeed, Glassdoor and LinkUp.
  • Laura suggested that using business lingo is important, and rephrasing your skills on your resume is key. She points out that you should “consider your skills and tailor your resume. I noted above that I conduct reference interviews. I wouldn’t use that phrasing in a resume for a corporate role. I would use something like, “detailed oriented,” and follows up with more specific examples. Also check out Scrum.org for certifications and more info.


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Document Management Technician Summary

In her interview Nickia Bell touches on the precarious nature of finding a traditional library job as a reason she branched out, “On Document Management Technician Work : an Interview with Nickia Bell.” Two key takeaways from the interview:

  • “I began tailoring my resumes to apply for different positions, highlighting my computer and technological abilities. By chance, I applied for the DMT post, which is a federal contract position, figuring that it would be a step up into a new direction on my career path, information management.”
  • “Emphasize having knowledge and skills in operating databases and using basic computer software programs like the Microsoft suite, being able to adequately organize information into print and digital documentation, and having good listening skills for document transcriptions.”
  • Read the full interview and more tips “On Document Management Technician Work : an Interview with Nickia Bell.”

Further Resources for Document Management Technician Jobs

  • Keyword searches for Document Management Technician on both major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA, as well as job aggregators like Indeed and LinkUp is a great strategy and where many government contractors will post their jobs. For government jobs search USA Jobs (federal positions), and Government Jobs (local positions) as well.
  • Follow government contractors and companies on LinkedIn to see what positions they have. Make sure to submit your resume to them and be in contact with them so they have you in mind for positions.


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Trainer Developer, Intranet Specialist & IT Specialist Summary

Max Macias takes us through the advantages of IT work for librarians and makes note that the IT field is more welcoming of anti-racist activists than traditional library workplaces, “On Trainer Developer, Intranet Specialist & IT Specialist Work : an Interview with Max Macias.” Two key takeaways from the interview:

  • “LIS workers who have technology skills will most likely have people skills as well. These two skills combined–are pretty rare in the IT world. The IT world tends to be full of technology people who love technology, but are not the best with people… People and technology skills together are something that can make LIS workers shine when it comes to getting a job in IT.”
  • “Documentation, archiving and keeping clean resources are vital to any IT organization. LIS professionals have these skills and can use them to improve an IT organization. Let IT organizations know about your documentation skills.”
  • Read the full interview and more tips “On Trainer Developer, Intranet Specialist & IT Specialist Work : an Interview with Max Macias.”

Further Resources for Trainer Developer, Intranet Specialist & IT Specialist Jobs

  • Keyword search for “IT,” “intranet,” “developer,” and “trainer” positions on major library jobs boards like INALJ, SLA and ALA, as well as job aggregators like Indeed and LinkUp. Niche LIS jobs boards are extremely important to search as well, such as Code4Lib Jobs and LITA Jobs list (LITA is merging with 2 other ALA divisions as of September 1, 2020 and together they will be called CORE).
  • Max recommends looking “for a job at a college or university. You may not get paid quite as much as private industry, but your job will, generally be more stable.” While there are many IT certifications, including many lucrative ones, he recommends talking to your own IT departments to learn about their needs and auditing or taking local courses.


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

  • Search Quality Analyst / Business Systems Analyst / Taxonomist
  • Coordinator of Volunteers
  • Military Librarian – #1 in the new Librarians Abroad series
  • Sales Manager
  • 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.

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