Question 3: What sort of advice would you give to professionals, both newly minted and more seasoned? Moy McIntosh, Candidate for Director

What sort of advice would you give to professionals, both newly minted and more seasoned professionals, who might be interested in non-traditional career paths?

My name is Moy McIntosh and I am running for Director.

The advice I give to professionals is what I was told while I was in library school, and I think they apply to any career path you chose:

First, you need to network, not just when you are looking for a job but throughout your career. Many of us are solo librarians or work in offices with few other information specialists so we need to have that support of others to learn from and stay in the know with what is going on in the profession. Of course if you’ve been networking all along then when you are ready to look for another job you’ll already have the contacts and connections to make that job search so much easier. If your chapter has happy hours then all the better, if it doesn’t contact  the president or someone else on the board and ask to meet for lunch or coffee, ask if other there are any other members you should get to know. Always have some kind of card to hand out when you meet people, and get to know the recruiters in your area before you need a job.

Secondly, I firmly believe we need to constantly keep learning. Technology isn’t going anywhere but up. If you work for a company willing to provide or pay for training take advantage of it. If there’s an area you are unfamiliar with get out of your comfort zone and give it a try; you may be fantastic at it. If you’re just starting out, ask a member who has your dream job where they think technology is going in their job and start learning. You’re never too young or too old to start, I am not tech savvy, but I try to keep learning and not get frustrated and toss my laptop out a window.

Volunteer. You don’t have to start with a big position, join a local chapter committee, or perhaps a division needs committee help. Team work is the best example of how you’d work on a job and never forget a fellow member could be the reason you get a job. If your local chapter doesn’t have a way for people to network, like above, then start a lunch group, tea group or book club.

These three tips given to me in library school have led me to every job I’ve received and a very rich and challenging professional career.

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