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 webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its 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. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians 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 one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.