SLA Biomedical and Life Sciences Division

Career Advice and Tips for MLIS Students

  1. Finding a library program: When picking a program think about where you want to be and decide if the program(s) you are considering will get you there.

    1. Library programs come in different sizes and types. Some programs are available online, others specialize in certain areas. Considerations like in-state tuition and proximity will also play a part in your choice.

    2. ALA accredited programs: Why does accreditation matter? ďMLIS from a ALA accredited programĒ is common requirement for many library positions.

    3. For ideas on how to get the most out of library school.

    4. Financial assistance

  2. Step one in the job search process is doing your research. Finding a job is a big project, and like any other big project, the more thorough your research the better you will do!

    1. If you are looking for a library career and havenít visited this site you MUST. It is packed with current information about the field

    2. These articles provide great general information. A number of the sites have more job hunting and career advice articles.

  3. Networking: Can help you in all steps to the job hunt process. Meeting people in the profession can lead you to new openings and provide information or referrals when you see an opening. Hey doesnít that person work thereÖ

    1. This article was about engineers but it is broadly applicable

    2. Professional organization like SLA are a good place to start networking

    3. Attend a conference

    4. Library schools often have student associations DBIO has a student section

    5. Locally most communities have service organizations and volunteer opportunities.
      Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions clubs are examples

    For more information, please visit the Careers page.

  4. Finding the job openings. If you donít know you canít apply!
    Most job lists provide ways to follow new postings. Set up alerts, RSS feeds, or whatever works for you

    1. For national searches

    2. Geographically limited?
      • Many state library organizations have job listing boards
      • Find local lists identify local companies that hire positions that fit your interests
      • lists library opening by geographic location.

    3. The jobs that arenít on those lists:

    4. Your library school should probably has some way of posting new positions

    For more information, please visit the Careers page.

  5. Apply and get noticed. Your one in a pile of 50 or more resumes so you need to impress fast and more importantly not give the reviewer a reason to say NO.

    1. Solid resume and cover letter. There are many resume and cover letter tutorials and guides available online. Here are some library specific sites.

    2. For more general resume guidelines

    3. Online presence:

    4. Most library schools will have a career services. Universities and Colleges often have career services that will help you create a resume and cover letter.

  6. Interview Well: Interviews are stressful a little preparation can calm your nerves and impress your interviewer.

    1. Do your research about the position, and company

    2. Think through answers to more common interview questions

    3. Have questions prepared, if you are meeting with more than one group prepare some questions for each group

    4. Be well rested

    5. Carry paper, pen and your questions

    6. Donít be afraid to stop and think before you talk

    7. What is the interview process like? Academic interviews can be daunting, be prepared.
    8. You will probably be nervous Ė be prepared for that

    9. Good resources

  7. You got the job! Your work isnít done yet, you still have to negotiate and accept the job offer.


    2. Donít be afraid to negotiate


Prepared by Gwen Short,
School of Library and Information Science, Kent State
July 28, 2014

Rev. July 2014