Question 1 – Nontraditional Career Paths (Candidate Questions)
What sort of advice would you give to professionals, both newly minted and more seasoned professionals, who might be interested in nontraditional career paths?
Kama Siegel, Chapter Cabinet Chair-Elect Candidate
The first thing I would suggest is to find a person whose job sounds interesting or appealing and grill them about it. Ask them questions, see if you can actually accompany them to work for a day, research their place of business. Sure, it could end up being a grass-is-greener situation, but sometimes the perfect opportunity falls into your lap.
My second suggestion is to get creative with your resume. If you want a nontraditional career, you need to think, well, nontraditionally. The skills you use in your current — or any former — position can be repurposed to fit the job you seek. Scott Brown of Social Information Group spoke to the Oregon Chapter of SLA (slides) last fall about how to take your existing "brand" and freshen it up. For example, consider the non-work skills you have, like coaching or playing the piano. Coaching translates to "leadership skills" and playing the piano requires "attention to detail."
My last suggestion is to network and retrain yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to join one or more professional organizations. If you're already a member, join multiple Divisions. Follow other Chapters' or Divisions' listservs. Use the free resources that SLA offers its membership. SLA's strength lies in its international membership, which encompasses a vast range of workplace locations and environments. One of my favorite things about the SLA Annual Meeting is that interaction when one person exclaims to another, "That's SO COOL!" about his or her job. And if you branch out of traditional library work, there are many other professional organizations that would happily welcome new members with complementary skills and interests.
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