Be Confident and Communicate

Candidate Question: What sort of advice would you give to professionals in their first library-related position who might be interested in nontraditional career paths?

Establishing your expertise as an information professional through your traditional networks such as SLA is an important foundation for launching your nontraditional career. Information professionals have a myriad of choices and a foundation of skills that can lead to interesting nontraditional careers. When you are seeking those careers it is useful to embrace untraditional characteristics to lead you forward. 

In all things be confident.  Without confidence you can get sidelined by second guessing whether you should move towards your chosen goal.  Confidence is an essential skill for all professionals, without confidence it becomes difficult to illustrate your right to be in the space you want to occupy.

Mentors and strategic partners are invaluable resources.  Cultivate relationships with the movers and shakers within your organization.  Let them teach you how to communicate, how to relate and how to move up the ladder.  Mentors and strategic partners open up networks that you may otherwise not enter and that could prove invaluable in making career changes.  If at all possible, seek a mentor or partner  in the industry you want to enter.  Once you have that connection, your path to change gets smoother.

Most importantly, know what differentiates you and communicate it with confidence.  Is it your ability to quickly analyze data and draw conclusion that can be acted upon?  Understanding your strengths and the skills that set you apart from your competitors will allow you to distinguish yourself in any industry.  If you aren’t sure ask your mentors and partners.  Knowing how others perceive your professional skills will allow you to embrace your confidence.

Constance Ard
Answer Maven
Candidate Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect

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