Last Friday was CILIP’s Graduate Open Day where I spoke about Realising your potential: marketing yourself using online tools.

Emma Illingsworth and Ned Potter have written posts about the day, but I thought I’d add my own views too.There seemed to be a lot of people there; I spoke to Kathy Ennis and Lindsay Rees-Jones (nice to put a face to the name!) who were really pleased with the number of people at the event. It was great to catch up with Emma, Ned and Chris Rhodes who were also speaking – all of whom I met earlier at the New Professionals Conference. There were a wide range of students and graduates there – some who were only really beginning to consider librarianship as a career option, others who had finished their librarianship degree and were now looking for work.

The day was very relaxed, and gave the opportunity for the delegates to do what they needed to do – whether it was just to find out more information about librarianship, come along to some of the talks, or whether they needed tailored 1:1 careers or CV advice. The speed networking sessions seemed very popular and the buzz from the room was incredible! There were a number of “networkers” from various different fields of librarianship/information profession and the “networkees” moved around and spent 3 minutes chatting to each one. It’s a great idea and hopefully they will have got a lot out of the session about the variety of different jobs you can go into within the information profession.

I did a very similar talk to the one at the New Professionals Conference earlier in this year (see below for presentation), although expanded a little bit more on some of the areas as I had more time allocated.

I also tried to use Twitter in the first talk by posting a message before the session asking people to say hi and include the tag #grad09, and then checking it at the end to see who was around. Unfortunately only one person replied in time, but it still showed that there are librarians out there using Twitter. In hindsight, I would have liked to make my sessions more interactive, but I had expected larger numbers – I was expecting maybe 50 in each group, but in reality both groups had around 20-25, a much more manageable number for interactive tasks. One of my talks sparked an interesting discussion about privacy issues on social networking, where the general consensus was that it is the role of educators (including librarians) to discuss these issues when advocating the use of them. This has also been touched on recently in the UK press regarding the controversial decision to include social networking in the primary curriculum. Personally, I think it’s more important to teach the principles of the communication tools and how to use (and not to use) them rather than the tools themselves, but that’s a whole other blog post.

In between my sessions I had a look round CILIP HQ as it was my first visit, and was pleased to find the Information Centre – which is open to all CILIP members Mon-Fri 9-5 (sadly not at weekends or evenings due to the position of the centre). Even more exciting was seeing my name in print in a copy of the latest issue of the Program journal in there, and also a mention in the latest issue of Impact, the Career Development Group journal. Hopefully, my articles in Open Access and Refer (will post about this when it is published) will also join them soon. 🙂

I had a quick nosy at the materials in there which may be useful for researching my MSc dissertation, but they didn’t have some of the books I’m looking for – the CILIPInfo team have since been in touch asking for suggestions of new additions to stock though, great service! It’s a good information centre for information professionals; latest copies of LIS journals (including the local branch and CILIP group journals), a collection of books and reports, a reference section, as well as PCs with database access, and of course a photocopier. For anyone living in or near London it’s a great resource, and worth a visit by anyone else if they’re visiting CILIP at any point. I also discovered that CILIP members are now entitled to two free careers advice sessions per year with qualified careers professionals, and these can be taken at a distance by phone or email.

Whilst I had the opportunity, I also had a chat with Michael Martin about qualifications as I’m interested in chartering and wanted to find out more. It certainly seems like a good thing for me to do, I just need to decide whether to tackle it at the same time as my dissertation or not. Part of me is inclined to do it now as I’m at the beginning of my professional career and will probably find it of most use. I’m also already doing a lot of the activities that I could do for my chartership, and am already reflecting by blogging. Having said that, I’ve already put off my dissertation for almost a year and don’t really want it to drag too much (as it’s a flexible course I have until September 2011 to complete the MSc). I’m still at the early research stage of my dissertation but will be posting some thoughts soon and would really appreciate advice!

All in all it was a great event – both as a speaker talking to potential future information professionals, and as an excuse to visit CILIP HQ and find out more about the organisation.

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  • Sounds like you would enjoy Warwick Careers Unlimited! Are you free on 2 Feb next year by any chance?

    • Blimey, that sounds so far away! At the moment I don’t have anything on that date so I’ll pencil it in my diary. 🙂

  • Wow, great name in print times!

    I was also slightly unprepared for the size of the sessions – I’ve no excuse though as I’d been on a training course in the same rooms the previous week so I knew how big they were… but a smaller room calls for a more informal style – so I found myself sort of rewriting my presentation on the hoof, which may have made it a bit ragged round the edges. Also, had I thought about it properly, for that size room I would have made it interactive a la Emma, rather than just me talking.

    Anyway, good to have stuff to improve upon for future presentations.

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  • Laura Taylor

    I have attended a couple of these Graduate Recruitment days . Was there anyone there this year representing school libraries do you know?

  • There weren’t any school librarian speakers, although there was a lot of people from different areas of information work involved in the speed networking so I would hope there was school librarian representation there. It’s something I talked about with the other speakers actually – three of us work in HE and the other in government so there weren’t any speakers from public or school libraries. I didn’t meet all the networkers but I think they represented a cross section of information work.

    One of the main themes of the day was the wide variety of jobs you can go into with an information qualification; various different libraries and also a large number of corporate roles relating to managing information.

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