Q: I am currently 24 hours into my 39 hour MLIS program, I have a 3.75 grade point average and am obtaining this while working full time. I expect to graduate in Summer 2011. I have been working as a Juvenile Probation case manager for a large state agency for four and a half years. I am currently mobile, but would prefer to stay in the South close to my family members. I do have library experience, three years part time between 2001 and 2004, so obviously, it is old. In applying for jobs, how best can I highlight my case management experience and maybe find correlations between it and library work? Thank you Library Career People for providing this information to a struggling library science student. I am very nervous about making the transition from one career to another in a bleak job market, so any hope that you can provide to me would be greatly appreciated.
TA: I bet you have a lot of interesting stories to share about your experience managing juvenile probation cases! And I could imagine these stories (and your experience) being an asset when you apply for jobs in a library. First and foremost, in your application for any professional experience, describe your level of responsibility, your organizational skills, communication skills, and supervisory or project management experience. Additionally, you should be able to highlight certain experiences or skill sets for different types of library jobs. For example, if you’re applying for jobs in public libraries, you could talk about your experience with children and working in a state agency. If you’re applying for a job in an academic institution, you may want to consider positions that have responsibilities for social work, sociology or psychology.
I would strongly encourage you to find an opportunity to build on your previous library experience. With a full time job already, you may want to consider internships, field experiences, or part time work to build current experience on your resume. Also be sure to look into student memberships of relevant professional associations as a way to indicate your continued interest in the profession, to stay current with trends in the field, and to build a professional network of colleagues.