Networking is particularly important and can really help you succeed with your applications. If you have been in contact with someone working for an organisation you are applying to you will have extra information to back up your case for why they should employ you.
Use social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date with employers and the sector.
St Andrews graduates have gone on to work in many major and not-so-major companies in the UK and around the world. These alumni can make extremely useful contacts, giving you an "edge" with your applications and interviews. There are several ways to make contact with alumni:
- Saint Connect - the new networking platform which allows you to connect with University of St Andrews alumni
- Join the Information and Library Management Group to find mentors and receive sector related news
- LinkedIn – Alumni Tool. This feature shows the career paths of over 30,000 University of St Andrews alumni, searchable by location, employer, industry and academic subject.
- Graduate recruiters - ask if they can put you in touch with any alumni now working for their company
- Friends and family - ask around your immediate social network for any contacts in organisations which interest you.
- Our own Robert Gelb has made a helpful video on how to find alums through LinkedIn.
- This networking video produced by Cass Business School gives excellent tips on effective networking.
- LISCareer - networking advice for the introvert.
Have a look at the Network with Alumni section of our website for more advice and information.
During your studies it is worthwhile gaining library experience which will provide an insight into the work - this might be paid or for a short period of work shadowing. Bear in mind that securing paid work in the sector during university can be difficult and it is much more likely that you will end up working voluntarily and purely for the experience.
- Approach the University Library or local public library for work experience.
- The St Andrews Summer Internship Scheme has offered University Library placements in the past
- Keep a look out in the Job Shop for part-time jobs in the University Library
- Make speculative applications to other libraries for work experience during vacations
- Otherwise look for some work that will give you experience delivering a front line service to customers.
Archon Directory lists different museums, archives, and libraries nationwide and gives their contact details. Could put this with a note on speculative applications so that students have a list of contact details for where to send their applications.
Archives.org Has a downloadable list of voluntary and paid placements for graduates seeking work experience prior to the Diploma/MA in Archives and/or Records Management. This page also offers advice on how to find placements and offers applicants the chance to contact the archives team for more guidance.
Case study by a St Andrews student during their work experience at the library.
How to Get a (Graduate) Job
Most library and information management professionals have a relevant undergraduate or postgraduate qualification. CILIP accredits a number of full-time, part-time and distance-learning Diploma and Masters programmes with a wide range of titles reflecting course and module content. Details of these can be found on the accredited courses page of the CILIP website, along with suggestions of financial assistance for study.
Having experience of working in a Library environment would be advantageous before applying to a PG course. As a potential librarian you can apply for a one-year training post in a library, which will give you helpful pre-course experience and also help you to ensure that you have made the right choice to embark on a full-time library or information programme. A number of charities, law and commercial organisations also offer opportunities to gain experience. It is sensible to check the work experience requirements of the library and information courses of interest to you. Each year CILIP publishes a Directory of Graduate Training Opportunities throughout the UK for graduates who want a library and information career but have little or no relevant experience.
Increasing numbers of graduates are undertaking their Diploma or Masters courses in part-time or distance-learning modes whilst in relevant employment, often supported by their employer.
Graduate traineeships are not always necessary to either begin a career in libraries or to progress in the field, but they can often enhance career prospects and help students decide exactly what area of the sector they would like to work in. Paid and normally lasting up to 12 months, the specification of the traineeship and its wage will vary depending on the host organisation, but typically a trainee will receive more help, support and training than someone in who went straight into an ‘assistant’ role. The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals points out that after your work experience you will study for a Masters-level qualification. Graduate traineeships tend to be offered between October and March.
Alternatively, many graduates enter the library and information management professions by taking on assistant work. This type of work often has a low salary and successful applicants will need to show they have experience in similar roles.
Library and information management vacancies can be found in a variety of sources:-
For some general advice on getting a career in archives and what to expect, have a look at the Archive.org website.
Case study of former student Anna Moles who went on to work as a Library Research Assistant.
Relevant Postgraduate Study
Most library and information management staff will attain a professional qualification in order to enhance their prospects and to progress upwards in the library hierarchy. Though a postgraduate qualification isn’t strictly essential, applicants with a relevant Masters or PhD are looked upon favourably, as in any other career sector. As with competition for jobs, competition for postgraduate qualifications is also tough and demanding, as they might require an excellent first degree and an amount of relevant experience before even considering your application.
- CILIP has a list of accredited qualifications.
- Archives.org - Careers in archive conservation work with postgrad qualifications.
- Archive.org - Careers in archives with postgrad qualifications.
- Prospects can help you find full-time, part-time and distance learning postgraduate courses all over the world and can also help you find funding.
- Funding Postgraduate Study. Have a look at the Careers Centre’s comprehensive list of available postgraduate bursaries, awards, studentships and grants.
Key Links and Resources
- The Careers Centre subscribes to Going Global, a specialist website with information and job vacancies worldwide, found via Access MyCareer on the Careers Centre website.
Professional Bodies, Trade Organisations & background information
Internships in the US - Library & Information Management
This list is by no means exhaustive. It is simply designed to serve as a starting point:
- Library of Congress Internships There are many internship, fellowship, and volunteer program opportunities throughout the Library. Non US applicants must be eligible for US visas.
- The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), located at the Washington Navy Yard, offers a variety of internship opportunities including archivist, collections management, curatorial (museum and Naval Art Collection), historian, librarian, museum education, and public relations areas. The program is a partner with the US Department of State's Visitor Exchange Program that allows successful non-resident, non-US citizens to receive the pre-J-1 visa document free of charge. Online application form.
- American Library Association (ALA) JobLIST
- Archives Gig: useful blog about careers, jobs, and internships in the world of archives & records management
- INALJ Jobs: 'I need a library job' - written and maintained by volunteers in the sector
- LIBGIG: site for information professionals and information workers. Core focus is jobs for librarians of all types and levels; also includes postings for jobs related to information
- LibraryJobline: jobs and links to resources for job seekers
- Library Job Postings: comprehensive guide to library job sites
- Special Libraries Association (SLA) Career Center
- Jobs Zone Library Journal. Job postings in North America and Canada for librarians.
- LibGig. American careers resource for employers and job seekers.
- Interest group of the Association of College and Research Libraries. Advertises job listings and has a resource section that includes a discussion thread.
- Library Careers.org this page has some sections that provide informative expositions of different jobs in a library. It also has a ‘Become a Librarian’ section.
- American Library Association. Masters programmes in Library and Information Studies in the US.
- Mr Library Dude provides good, informal advice on what to expect during an interview for a library position. It also gives good tips, potential questions and more.
- School Library Journal some practical advice when searching for jobs.
- Hiring Librarians includes useful links about what questions might be asked of you and what you could ask interviewers, based on the experience of others. It also has a section with suggested books for those studying or considering studying information management or library studies, those looking for jobs in this subject area, and those wishing to improve their career in this subject area.