Today I had the pleasure of giving a talk to the library & information studies students at UCL in London.
Talking to the students about the range of jobs where they could apply their skills, and where they could find those jobs, brought home once again the huge scope of the information profession.
Information is ubiquitous, and everywhere it is found it needs to be organised, retrieved and disseminated. The result is information management jobs everywhere. Roles that utilise information management skills pop up in the private, public and third sectors, in banks, law firms and in industry, in charities, institutes and societies, in government, local councils and academia – the list goes on and on.
Not only is the location of information jobs so varied, but also the content of the jobs themselves. Once upon a time the choice for graduating students seeking their first professional post was ‘assistant librarian’ or ‘information officer’. Today I didn’t even try to put up a representative list of job titles on the screen – the font would have had to be too small for anyone to read!
Evolving technologies has led to all the various types of ‘information work’ to both expand and to blur together and converge; the core skills gained during an information studies qualification can equally be used in information management, records management or knowledge management roles.
As a result of these changes, much of my talk focused on skills analysis and identification, searching for jobs based on the skills they call for, not on job title, and creating tailored CVs to carefully match your skills to those specified in the job description.
During a lively Q&A at the end of the session one student asked about the impact of social media and especially LinkedIn on finding a job – did I recommend students having a profile on these sites? I replied that both recruiters and employers make use of sites such as this, either to find people with the experience/skills that fit their vacancy or to compare with CVs and check for professional (or unprofessional!) activities. My advice would be to definitely have a profile on a professional social networking site, and also to cast an eye over your other, more social/informal, online presence to make sure you giving an impression you’d be happy for your future employer to see.
- Nicola Franklin