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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 LIS 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. 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 skills fit with what employers in this market are looking for.

Getting experience

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

If you’re a recent 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 including CB Resourcing, Glen Recruitment, Sue Hill Recruitment and TPFL also handle these types of job.

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

Want to know more about what a particular role may involve? NLPN has compiled a list of people who are able to offer job-shadowing opportunities in their organisations.

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’
Information Professional Jobs
Apprenticeships


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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