This answer is provided by our guest author, Rachel Kuhn Stinehelfer.
Q: I love your website & your column. It keeps me motivated through some trying times! I have over a decade’s worth of experience in academic libraries – circulation, subject libraries, cataloging & solo. I’ve just started working on my MLIS through an online program while working full time & have been sorting out my post-graduate career goals (I would like to work in special/corporate libraries or library/information consulting/sales). Most experts say students should complete a practicum or internship before graduating so they’re more attractive to employers. My question is how would a person who is currently working full time, going to school online, & trying to have a family/personal life squeeze in a consulting practicum? Do you think it’s necessary for someone with my background? Any suggestions would be great. Thanks so much!
RKS: You have a very diverse background in libraries already. I think with your work experience and MLIS that you would be a strong candidate without having an additional practicum. What I would suggest is concentrate your coursework to go the direction you want your career to go and emphasize this connection in your cover letter. Also, carefully construct your resume to highlight the experience you do have in detail. A mistake that some candidates make is only writing a short description or sometimes only the title of a position without actually describing the depth and breadth of the work. Going to school full time and working full time takes a lot of time management that you should also highlight when you are applying for jobs. Good luck to you!