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Careers Starting Out

Getting started

Getting a firm footing on the career ladder can often feel daunting whether you’re a school leaver or a newly qualified MLIS graduate. We’ll run you through the key elements that will get you on the right track.

Understand the skills you have to offer

Just because you've never worked or volunteered in a library or information focused role before doesn't mean you should disregard your work experience when applying for a new role.

Many entry-level positions and graduate traineeships provide on the job training and employers tend to look for transferable skills and evidence of good soft skills at this stage. Good communication and interpersonal skills are essential for just about every job in the information profession so think about how you can demonstrate these.

Our professional knowledge and skills base gives you an excellent overview of the skills required by the profession and can help you map how your existing skillset fits with what employers in this market are looking for.

Getting experience

Employers are generally looking for people with a proven track record and having internships or work experience in library and information roles can help you stand out.

If you’re a recent MLIS graduate it’s a good idea to start by looking for graduate trainee roles, many employers offer these and are looking for people who are new to the profession and taking on their first (or sometimes second) role. You’ll find these listed on our recruitment website Information Professional Jobs and specialist information recruitment agencies such as CB Resourcing, Sue Hill Recruitment and TPFL also handle these types of job.

If you don’t have a library or information qualification, but do have a bachelor’s degree, it’s still worth investigating these roles as many employers will support you through the process of getting qualified or completing your CILIP Certification while you’re completing your traineeship.

You can also gain experience through taking on a voluntary role or internship – these sorts of positions tend to be advertised locally or directly through employers’ websites. Have a look at the websites of companies you’re interested in working for to see if they have any internships available.

The other main route into the profession is through an apprenticeship – there’s a link below to help you find out more about the apprenticeship scheme.

‘What Recruitment Agencies want’

As a recruiter seeing CILIP membership on a candidate’s CV is great. The commitment to standards and ongoing training all add credibility and can help get a candidate to the top of an employer’s pile.

Neil Currams, Recruiter

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