Q: What can I do to improve my chances of getting hired?

Q: What can I do to improve my chances of getting hired?

This answer is provided by our guest author, Rachel Kuhn Stinehelfer.

Q: In the summer of 2010, I applied for massage therapy jobs and librarian jobs. I discovered with my simple 1-page massage therapy resume that I could get an interview and even the job. Most of the job opportunities were found using one information resource: Chicago Craigslist. The interview process included a practical portion: I had to give a massage to a colleague. The job opportunities were at respectable salons: Asha SalonSpa, the largest collection of Aveda salons in the Chicago area; Heavenly Massage with 11 locations in the Chicagoland area; Massage Envy, the biggest massage franchise in the country; and Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, a luxury spa on Michigan Avenue.

But when I applied for librarian jobs, I didn’t even receive a call back for interviews. It’s not like I didn’t do a deep search. I used nine different information resources: Chicago Department of Human Resources, USA jobs, LISjobs, Metropolitan Library System, American Library Association, Illinois Library Association, CareerBuilder, my alma matter’s career database, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.  My 1-page resume was not getting the response that I was hoping for. One rejection after the other reminded me of something else…my experience searching for jobs after graduating from Dominican University in 2007.

There must be a problem. Even though I was primarily looking for an entry-level position, I clearly am competing with candidates who look better on paper. The biggest issue could be that I am transitioning from an entirely different field. What’s the solution? My library resume and references could be improved if I acquired more experience; this would give my prospective employers more confidence.  But, by definition, I am a Librarian, since a Librarian is someone who completes a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. Moreover, I already did two internships while in school: one was at the American Library Association and one was at St. Scholastica High School. What can I do to improve my chances of getting hired? 

RKS: You make some great points about the differences in looking for a salon type position and a professional librarian position.  Having been on the other end of reading those letters and resumes I can say that there is A LOT of competition out there.   There may even be fifty candidates for an entry-level job.  Try not to be discouraged, but do look at your resume and cover letter with a closer eye.  I would also recommend having a friend (especially one who is already in a professional librarian position) edit your resume and cover letter.

First things first – do not confine your resume to one page if you have more relevant experience than that.  The non-library work is somewhat relevant however you need to make sure it does not look like you are too heavy on the salon work.  I would briefly describe the salon work including the years you worked there and a two-sentence description for each job.  Mostly to show you have been working during those years.  You can bring together the public services/working with people aspects of the two types of jobs in the cover letter. 

The internships and your coursework at Dominican should be the bulk of the resume.  Describe the specifics of your internships and list any websites or databases where the committee can go and review your work. 

Do limit the cover letter not necessarily to only one page, but for an entry-level position not much more than one and a half.  The cover letter is the personal connection you can make with a search committee so be sure to tailor it to the job for which you are applying.  Know that this is your chance to express why you are making a career change and how the work you have done in a salon will help you in libraries. 

Who you list as your referees is also very important.  Do list library folks – I find it useful to list your relationship in parentheses or italics – Professor or Internship Supervisor.  I would only list one salon referee probably your current employer or if you are not comfortable with the current supervisor until you are further in the process you can simply say Current supervisor contact information upon request.

Finally make sure you are qualified for the position.  If you do not meet the basic qualifications which may include a specific major or years of experience then you do not need to apply.  

Good luck to you in your job search and new career as a librarian!

Q: I would like to know what other jobs and industries I could use my Library Support Staff Diploma in, besides libraries. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Q: I would like to know what other jobs and industries I could use my Library Support Staff Diploma in, besides libraries. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Q: I would like to know what other jobs and industries I could use my Library Support Staff Diploma in, besides libraries.  Any suggestions are appreciated. 

A: I guess a lot would depend on where and when you received your diploma, and the coursework you took toward the degree.  In looking at the ALA-APA Library Support Staff Certification program online (http://ala-apa.org/lssc/) there seems to be several areas of study that could transfer to other jobs and industries.  In a January 2010 press release, ALA introduced the program: “This new certification program will help library support staff achieve recognition for current and new skills and abilities, as well as increase access to continuing education opportunities.” (http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pressreleases2010/january2010/lssc_apa1.cfm)  The certification requires three courses of study (Foundations of Library Service; Communication and Teamwork; and Technology), plus three electives (ranging from Access Services to Youth Services). 

Additionally, in an appeal to Library Administrators to support the certification program, ALA-APA’s webpage states that:

“Research shows that LSS certified in a rigorous certification program:

  • have more self confidence in their own ability
  • believe they provide better service to the public
  • better understand how the entire library operates
  • are more willing to accept responsibility
  • work better on the library team”  (http://ala-apa.org/lssc/for-library-administrators/)

If you take all of this information and try to apply it to another job or field of employment, there are several areas that I believe would transfer well.  First, two of the required courses are relevant to just about any workplace today: Teamwork and Communication, and Technology.  Second, if the research is supported, a confident employee who works better on teams and is willing to accept more responsibility is appealing to any employer.  I would recommend that you explore new areas that include service, technology and teamwork.  Look for positions that are exciting and of interest to you, and think broadly about how your skills, experience, and credentials would apply.

Q: I have been a school librarian for over 15 years. I would love to work in the public sector and do have 10 years PT experience in a public library. How do I craft my resume to: (1) Show that the only difference between school and public libraries are the clientele? (2) Show that what I have done running school libraries are the same skills required for being a reference librarian? And (3) explain why I would accept such a pay cut? Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Q: I have been a school librarian for over 15 years. I would love to work in the public sector and do have 10 years PT experience in a public library. How do I craft my resume to: (1) Show that the only difference between school and public libraries are the clientele? (2) Show that what I have done running school libraries are the same skills required for being a reference librarian? And (3) explain why I would accept such a pay cut? Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Q: I have been a school librarian for over 15 years. I would love to work in the public sector and do have 10 years PT experience in a public library.  How do I craft my resume to: (1) Show that the only difference between school and public libraries are the clientele? (2) Show that what I have done running school libraries are the same skills required for being a reference librarian? And (3) explain why I would accept such a pay cut?  Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

TA:  Your full-time experience in a school library, as well as your part-time experience in a public library should position you well for making a transition.  As we’ve discussed in previous articles, you’ll want to use your application materials (cover letter, resume and references) to address transferable skills (skills that you’ve learned in one context that will serve you well in another).  Be sure your cover letter expresses a deep interest in and enthusiasm for the public library position and draws parallels between your experience and the needs of the position.  Your resume should also do the same by highlighting experience and accomplishments that relate to your current and previous positions, as well as the position you are applying for.  And finally, use your references wisely.  Be sure to prepare them in advance for the fact that you are applying outside of school libraries and ask them if there’s anything you can provide that will prepare them to speak about your ability to work in all kinds of contexts. 

Also in your application materials, you will want to talk about the core values and responsibilities of libraries (collection building, access, facilities, technology, instruction and research assistance, and connecting with a constituency)—all of these will be relevant regardless of setting (i.e. school versus public).  Be careful to avoid basing your comments on assumptions; be sure to base your comments on data gathered via experience in both public and school libraries.  For example, it’s really not well received when someone external to the operation makes a “Sure, I could do that” statement without any experience to back it up.  So tread carefully with things like “the only difference between school and public libraries are the clientele.”  I would bet there are many other differences (maybe funding, collections, access, and responsibilities) so go in with confidence in your experience, but also with an intellectual curiosity to explore those differences. 

And about the salary issue, this seems like something you could address (lightly) in the cover letter.  I wouldn’t advise making any firm statements about salary requirements in the cover letter, but in this case, since you have a concern about making it past the initial review due to the salary differences, you could use the closing paragraph of your cover letter to touch, reassuringly, on the subject.  In the closing paragraph, reiterate your interest in and enthusiasm for the position, and acknowledge the obvious with something like “I’m also aware of the considerable differences in salary for public librarians as compared to school librarians, and remain interested in switching fields, particularly because this position, and the missions of public libraries, are so appealing to me.”

Q: How do I switch to being a catalog librarian without having any real formal cataloging experience?

Q: How do I switch to being a catalog librarian without having any real formal cataloging experience?

Q: I have been a librarian for over 20 years, mainly working in archives and small special libraries.  My question is, how do I switch to being a catalog librarian without having any real formal cataloging experience?  I considered looking for a copy catalog position, but have not found any openings.  I think people look at my resume and see archives and reference work, and never consider me for a cataloging position.  Also, I have only worked part-time during the last 10 years while raising my kids, mostly in para-professional positions, so I feel almost like I should start all over and go back to library school (although I can’t afford to)!

TA:  There are a number of areas that need to be addressed here: switching specializations from archives to cataloging; moving from part time to full time; and moving from a paraprofessional to professional position after 10 years.

My first suggestion is to dust off the old cover letter and resume and make sure it’s up to date in terms of both your experience and in formatting.  Styles change over a decade, so make sure you put some work into your application materials.  Make them look and feel polished and up to date.

Your cover letter will be especially important because it will be how you address all three questions (specialization, part time/ full time, para- to professional).  We’ve talked many times about the value of transferable skills, so you may want to refer to some of our other articles from the “Career Change” category of the column: http://www.lisjobs.com/CareerQA_blog/?cat=23

You should make a compelling case in your cover letter (supported by the work listed on your resume) about the parallels between your experience and the position for which you’ve applied.  For example, if you have experience processing archival collections and applying descriptive metadata using a standardized, controlled vocabulary, these are pretty similar in nature to traditional cataloging.  Describe how your experience will be an asset to the position.  Also include descriptive words that will appeal to the hiring supervisor, such as “detail oriented”, “works well independently as well as collaboratively”, or “self motivated and eager to learn”.  You’ll also need to explain in your letter that you’re in a position now to seek a full time, professional position, and that you’re eager to apply your knowledge, skills, and talents in that level of position.

In addition to your updating your application materials, if possible, you may want to seek opportunities to volunteer.  It’s a great way to gain experience, build skills, and add to a resume.  You will also build contacts in the profession, some of whom may serve as references for future cataloging positions.

A final idea to consider would be exploring the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) at Library and Information Science programs.  Wikipedia defines the Certificate of Advanced Study as:

A Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS), also called a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) or a Certificate of Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS), is a post-Master’s academic certificate designed for practitioners who seek a continuing education program to enhance their professional development in areas such as education and library science.

Many library schools, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, offer the CAS, and it might be a way for you to develop or further enhance your cataloging expertise.  Drexel University offers an online CAS program for Information Studies and Technology.  Many of the CAS programs are self-directed and allow you to select courses with a faculty advisor to customize your experience.  If you have the time and desire to supplement your educational background, the CAS may be the additional support you need to switch specializations within the profession.

In closing, I wish you the best.  Start with your application materials and put your time and energy there.  Move next to the volunteer experience, and down the road, if you’re so inclined, think about additional educational opportunities that may help you secure the position you’re seeking.

Q: What are my future career options?

Q: What are my future career options?

Q: [Question edited for length] I am a displaced worker [living in a major US city] who has work experience in both graphic design and records management. I also have an English degree. I think I am pretty good at doing research and locating information, although I have never spent any time on specialized databases like Factiva and LexisNexis, etc. I have just begun the certificate program of Library and Information Technology at my local community college, and am hoping to have some exposure and/or further develop my research and information retrieval skills through these classes. My questions concern future employment issues. Am I strictly limited to corporate libraries and/or any positions involving research? Are there any good web sites/links that might point me in the right direction?

TA: Your initiative in taking classes at your community college to re-tool yourself for new career opportunities is to be commended. And I especially like that you are interested in applying both your diverse work experience and your interests in research to a career in library and information technology. Your questions are good ones: What do I do with this certificate? What are my career options? And where can I find more information?

Most professional librarian positions require an advanced degree, usually the MLS. However, the community college certificate program may land you an advanced support staff position and will certainly be an excellent introduction into the field of librarianship and library-related technologies. One of my local community colleges has a Library and Information Technology certificate program and their website states:

If you enjoy working in a library setting and have an interest in technology, you should consider enrolling in the Library and Information Technology (LIT) program. Students in this program tend to be detail oriented. They enjoy assisting others and utilizing computer technology. The LIT program is suitable for persons seeking entry-level employment in either public or private libraries. The curriculum is also ideal for current paraprofessional and professional library employees who seek specialized training in new technologies… Graduates are employed in libraries, media areas, learning resources, information and instructional materials centers and with other organizations engaged in library-related activities. They are prepared for jobs with any organization that use technology to process, manage, and communicate information [http://www.cccc.edu/curriculum/majors/library/].

So essentially, the certificate will introduce you to library and information technologies, vocabularies and cultures, and will prepare you for a job working with data and managing information (which is broadly applicable in workplaces these days). Also, I would suggest that your diverse work experience, coupled with demonstrated initiative and the educational credentials, make you more marketable in a competitive workforce.To learn more about library support staff positions, I would explore the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 edition, which is available online: [http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos113.htm]. The Handbook provides information on training qualifications, earnings, work environment, and related occupations, as well as many other topics that may be of interest to you as you pursue your certificate.

Q: Is it ever a good idea to take a library job that doesn’t use any of my new knowledge in hopes that something better will come along?

Q: Is it ever a good idea to take a library job that doesn’t use any of my new knowledge in hopes that something better will come along?

Q: I recently got my MLS. I also have significant previous experience as a mainframe computer programmer, analyst and project leader. The job market is quite tight in my area, due to a library school in town and the economy. Is it ever a good idea to take a library job that doesn’t use any of my new knowledge in hopes that something better will come along? I am concerned about appearing unsure of my professional abilities and appearing to be a job-hopper should that “perfect job” come along within the first few months of a non-professional position. I am also open to other positions that don’t have the title of “librarian” especially if I can use some of my research skills. How do I find these types of jobs? I appreciate any suggestions that you have. Thank you.

SM: By not taking a job in a library, or at least one that utilizes your librarian skills, you could hamper your future career. Many jobs require some kind of library experience (pre- or post-MLS, or a combination), and if you are not working in a library, or using any of your new skills, you will not be qualified – or even considered – for those jobs. Also, potential employers will wonder why you are not currently working in the field. Unless you can justify this in your cover letter and convince them that your skills are transferable, you are the right candidate for the job, and your enthusiasm for the profession has not been lost, you might find yourself struggling to break into librarianship.

Many people are in similar situations, living in a community saturated with librarians and new grads, but without enough entry-level positions. New librarians will often move to take entry-level jobs in a different state (or even country), usually with the intention of acquiring necessary professional experience before coming home again. Sometimes they end up staying in their new locations (or move somewhere else), but some also make it back home after a few years and take a job in their ideal city. Call it sacrifice, or extreme motivation – it works well for some. Others, for a variety of reasons, are unable or unwilling to move.

If this is you, then taking a job close to home that utilizes at least some of your skills would be the best thing to do. You need to make a living somehow. Broaden your job search by looking for jobs in your local newspaper or news site, or on a large job bank such as Monster or CareerBuilder.com and search for jobs using terms like “librarian,” “library,” or “research.” You should get quite a variety of results. Some corporate positions actually prefer someone who has an MLS, although it might not be a librarian position or have “librarian” in the title. You might also want to look into a library staffing agency such as Library Associates for temporary or direct placement positions.

Some people never intend to go into librarianship after getting their MLS (or equivalent) and find alternative careers in various disciplines. Your MLS might serve you well in the computing industry; however, it sounds like you do really want to be a librarian in a library. This means that yes, you should primarily be looking for librarian positions.

If you do end up taking a non-library job, think about keeping involved in librarianship by volunteering. Contact your local libraries and offer your skills; they might have specific projects for you, and your computing background can be useful here. This is also a good way to make contacts and to keep an eye on job announcements.

TA: Susanne makes some excellent points. Taking a job right out of library school that in no way uses your newly-minted degree could be somewhat damaging. However, we all need to pay the bills. I live in an area that has three ALA-accredited library schools within a 60- mile radius, so I hear this question a lot. Several things come to mind:

In addition to volunteering, as mentioned above, explore the option of working as a temporary librarian. If you are in a situation that allows you to work for a defined duration (and often without benefits), filling in as a temp is a great way to get your foot in the door. You get real-life on-the-job experience, you can build a professional network, and, after proving your value, you may be headed in the direction of temp-to-perm.

You can also do a lot with your resume and cover letter to explain your career choices and current employment to potential employers. Use your cover letter to explain any gaps in employment or to describe how that “non-librarian” position really is a lot like working in a library – using the same skill set or beefing up customer service skills. As we’ve often discussed, be sure to point out transferable skills from your current job (in a library or not) to the job for which you’re applying.

On your resume, be sure to list your primary job duties in relation to the duties you will have in the new position. For example, let’s say you take a job as a project manager, since this is something you’ve done in the past – and then your “perfect job” as a cataloger comes along in your local public library. When you are crafting your resume and describing your duties, try to use words that will appeal to the supervisor of the cataloging position, such as: “managed complicated workflow;” “met deadlines for production in fast-paced environment;” “supervised staff and student interns.” These phrases could apply to a project manager position as well as to many positions in cataloging.

And finally, if you accept a position and have been in it for less than a year when you apply for another job, you will need to explain the short duration in your cover letter. It can be something as simple as: “I am excited to begin my professional career as a librarian…” which alludes to the reason you’re leaving your non- library or paraprofessional job, while also expressing interest and enthusiasm for the new position.

In light of everything we keep hearing about the impending “librarian shortage,” having a library degree and not having a job can be extremely frustrating. Stick with it. Do what you need to do to pay the bills, but never lose sight of why you went to library school. Something in the curriculum drew you in, and it will be that vision, interest, and enthusiasm that will allow you to offer so much more in return. You just need your chance!

See also:

Geography 101: See the World, Get a Job by Richard A. Murray
Librarians in the Information Age: Alternative Uses of MLS Degrees by Darwin McGuire
Relocating: the Beginning of a Great Adventure by Thad Dickinson
Should You Take a Temp Job? by Amy York
Volunteer Match

Q: What can I do to get a job, when facing possible discrimination?

Q: What can I do to get a job, when facing possible discrimination?

Q1: I am a new graduate living in Canada. I was confident that I could locate a professional job in an academic library or public library with my MLIS and Doctorate degree of Philosophy in Chinese History. I have been searching for jobs for seven months, but I have only had one in-person interview and one telephone interview. I am not a native English speaker, and I admit that I have an accent; however, I am confident that I can communicate very well in English. Also, I do not have much experience working in libraries. I did work-study while I was in library school and I volunteered in a public children’s library. What can I do to get a job?

Q2: How does age figure into a beginning library career? I’m almost 60 years old and obtained my MLS in 2002, but have been traveling with my husband since then. When I settle, I’d still like to work in a library, even as a part-time librarian. I know age discrimination should not factor in, but in reality it does. Which do you think are my most severe stumbling blocks, my age or lack of experience? What is the best way to gain experience at my age?

TA and SM: Both of these questions come from recent graduates concerned about possible discrimination by potential employers. In an effort to address both of these questions, we thought we would provide some advice and information for recent library school graduates and librarians who might find themselves in similar situations. At the same time, we hope to provide some insight for library managers and administrators who might be dealing with difficult decisions as they seek to hire the most qualified candidate for a given position.

Discrimination, in Libraries?

Discrimination exists in many different forms, in most professions, in most cultures, and in every part of the world. Sometimes it is deliberate, and sometimes it is unintentional. Ultimately, it is hurtful and discouraging for anyone trying to move forward with her or his career. One definition states that: “To discriminate is to make a distinction between people on the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit. Examples include social, racial, religious, sexual, disability, ethnic and age-related discrimination.”

Many of us, at one point or another, may have experienced some form of discrimination in our jobs or in the job hunt process. Whether we like to admit it or not, this does happen in libraries. This profession, often viewed as diverse, liberal, laid-back, progressive, and mainly female, can still be very competitive, political, and unfortunately discriminatory.

Age discrimination is a concern for a growing number of library school graduates who have chosen to change careers or enter the workforce later in life. In the most recent placement and salaries survey (of 2004 graduates), more than half of the 1,611 graduates who responded to questions about their career aspirations said they were seeking a second or third career as a librarian. Likewise, the number of minority librarians is growing, with 16% of all 2004 graduates claiming minority status. And men, who are minorities in libraries, made up only 19% of all 2004 graduates.

How to Prepare Yourself While Looking for a Job

The fact that discrimination exists in the workplace (or in society) is really very sad. And, it’s wrong. At some point in your life, no matter how hard you fight against it, you, or someone you know, may be the victim of an act of discrimination. Nonetheless, you should work hard up front to prepare yourself for these situations. You need to present yourself as the perfect applicant, and your first chance to do this is often through your cover letter and resume.

The Cover Letter and Resume

Your application materials (your cover letter and resume) are your introduction to a potential employer. How you present yourself and your education and experience, in your resume and cover letter will determine whether or not you receive consideration for a position. If you’re a non-native English speaker, have someone proofread your application materials. We advise all applicants to use a proofreader, but this is especially important for non-native speakers, because, in addition to catching common typos and misspellings, a proofreader may also catch errors in grammar and syntax.

If you are an older applicant who is just now applying for your first library job, there are a few ways to approach your cover letter and resume. If you are making a career change, look for transferable skills from previous positions, and, whenever possible, draw direct parallels to those skills in your cover letter. If you were an accountant for 20 years in a large firm, for example, and are now applying for a branch librarian position, talk about your subject knowledge and how you worked with external customers, supervised employees and managed a budget. Look for ways to draw upon your previous experience and tie those experiences to your current pursuits.

If you are an older applicant who is just now applying for your first job ever, your approach might be a little different. Without the “traditional” use of transferable skills (from a previous career), you’ll need to look at the work you’ve done outside the home and draw on those experiences. For example, use volunteer work with community organizations, in the school system, or internships and field experiences while in library school to round out your experience. Again, in your cover letter and resume, tie these experiences (and the skills you developed) directly to the position for which you are applying.

This brings us back around to the recurring theme throughout most of our columns: EXPERIENCE. The short answer: get it, now! In whatever way possible (work before school, work while in school, intern, volunteer) get some real-life experience that you can draw on when applying for positions. If you’re still in library school, listen up. Take a student assistant position, volunteer at the public library, do a field experience for course credit, do whatever you can to try your hand at different library work.

We know. Life is busy, with classes, and papers, and lectures, and exams. We know. We’ve been there. But just realize that what you do now (like sacrificing sleep for work experience…) will pay off dramatically when you’re applying for a job. Instead of being among the masses of newly minted MLS grads with minimal or no experience, your perfectly-written cover letter and resume, with directly-drawn parallels between your experience and a library’s requirements, will pay off in gold.

In all of these scenarios, you need to stay current with technology. Take advantage of classes offered at the public library, through your library school, or at your local community college. Or, take an online course and join a few e-mail lists to stay abreast of current topics in your areas of interest. By showing a potential employer that you are aware of the latest “chatter” in librarianship (IM versus library virtual reference software; digitization: preservation or access?; electronic resource management systems, etc.), you are conveying a level of interest and engagement that will not only impress your interviewer, but provide fodder for discussion.

Remember, self-confidence goes a long way in an interview, and even in a cover letter. Rather than focus on your differences, or your weaknesses, focus on your strong points. Play up your uniqueness: your language skills, your experience in other professions, your communication skills, your worldly knowledge, your commitment to education, your enthusiasm to learn and to succeed, and convince yourself and potential employers that you can do the job.

So, You Did Not Get the Job

Experience is more important than you may think when you are applying for a job. The reason you did not get a certain job probably has more to do with your lack of experience than with your age or inability to speak without an accent. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to prove actual discrimination. One (not uncommon) thing you can do, after interviewing for a position and learning that you did not get the job, is to contact the person who interviewed you (generally a casual email, attached with a “thank you” works best) and ask her or him why you did not get the job. Ask for specifics and advice. You just might get some very useful information that you can apply the next time you interview. Hopefully, you will get a little peace of mind, and learn that discrimination did not play into the decision.

Let’s face it, employers desire job candidates who have computer experience, candidates who have enthusiasm, and candidates who can help bridge generation gaps within both staff and clientele. As technology continues to confound and surpass many of us, we naturally look to the young to teach us, and perhaps this leads to discrimination against others, who are older or not as computer savvy. As unfortunate as it is, discrimination will probably not go away anytime soon. In addition to looking for a workplace that fosters diversity and supports individuals who are different from us, we need to keep ourselves current, get experience, and make ourselves indispensable in our roles as unique professionals in the workplace.