During my career, I have worked with many students doing placements. These include pre-service teachers, training Teacher-Librarians, students undertaking their Masters in Library Science and library technician students studying at TAFE. For the first time today, I was asked by one such student – “What would make me employable?” It’s a good question & I needed to think about the answer.
Here is what I think:
It’s not what you know that’ll get you a job – it’s all about passion!
If you are passionate about libraries and library services this is the No. 1 quality that will get you a job. You should LOVE library and information services and your work, your voluntary contributions, your social media presence and your study should all reflect that. You should seek every opportunity possible to participate in libraries, the online world of information and the world of literature and you should let people know what you are doing and learning – share your stories – tell them, tweet them, Instagram them, build Pinterest boards and blog about them. Be involved in book clubs or start your own. Help out organisations such as The Children’s Book Council –they are always appreciative of anyone who can lend a hand and it’s a great way to meet people in the field.
People think it’s quirky when I say I love job interviews, but it’s true. I see job interview panels as a captured audience – these people WANT to know about all the things I love. I have never been asked in a job interview if I know how to catalogue. Employees are not interested in what you know – your resume tells them that. What they want to find out is how you are going to interact with people. How you work with people and the relationships you build are the most important quality you will bring to a place of employment. If you are studying to work in a library because you think it will be a nice, quiet place to work or because you love books then you need a big rethink. Libraries are for those who love working with people and in a school library, this means kids or teenagers.
Finally, passion can’t bluff. If you are really passionate about what you are doing, you will never need to ‘bluff your way’ through a job interview. You will have they integrity to say you don’t know something but that you’ll find out. In fact, the unknown will be inspiring – there’s now something new you need to learn! And that’s another thing …..
in a library you will always be a learner because it is a world that changes every day. This should be yet one more reason why you love it.
Sweets, conceptual image. [Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest.