Question #1: Nontraditional career paths

Apr 21, 2011 by

Candidates for the SLA Board of Directors will be asked to answer questions on the SLA Blog until election time. I’ve published my answer to Question #1 today. I’m copying it below.

Catherine Lavallée-Welch- Candidate, Division Cabinet Chair-Elect – Question #1 What sort of advice would you give to professionals in their first library-related position who might be interested in nontraditional career paths?

Here is what I would say to new colleagues that want a nontraditional career:

Explore your options, continue professional development long past college and connect with professionals already working in your particular field of interest.

Well-established, “traditional” support organizations still benefit those following nontraditional career paths. With a varied coterie of information professionals, SLA is the best choice for individuals in search of different challenges and horizons.

With SLA, members can join divisions that cover diverse and expanding job environments and duties. Local chapters are also well worth a look as fellow members are from different work environments. I would strongly suggest that you participate in division and chapter events and programs to network and develop professionally. They are the perfect places to expand professional networks and develop mentor relationships.

Finally, I would suggest that you make your way to the annual conference so that you scout the INFO-EXPO to discover the latest products and trends. You should attend the programs you find intriguing, get a taste of topics you have yet to explore and, that way, expand your knowledge. Attend receptions, open houses and events, even outside your current memberships to continue networking (if you find it intimidating, recruiting a “conference buddy” from your division or chapter can help.) With each visit, I’m positive you will find your future job possibilities multiply as quickly as your knowledge of our varied field.

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