9 Nov 2012

Career Development #irelibchat Summary - 7th Nov 2012

Many thanks to everyone who participated in this month's #irelibchat, which was the most popular yet. Below is a brief rundown of some of the key ideas and issues discussed on the night.

Sources for finding job vacancies and internship opportunities:
A number of people raised the need for a central LIS jobs hub where all vacancies can be advertised/shared. @JadaJelly, Chair of the new LAI Career Development Group, stated that this is one of the areas that the Group is currently looking at in collaboration with the LAI website taskforce. A number of useful websites were suggested by participants including: The LAICDG mailing list, other LAI mailing lists, the UCD SILS Facebook page, activelink.ie, publicjobs.ie and the EURES website.

How easy is it to change sectors?
There were different perspectives on this issue. Some believe that experience from another sector is just as highly valued as it can bring a new dynamic or a fresh approach to existing teams. However, many described their difficulties in moving to other sectors e.g. from the school library setting to the academic sector due to the differences between roles, especially when there may be other candidates with more relevant experience.

Non-traditional and emerging roles for LIS professionals including freelance opportunities:
All participants believed this is an area which is underdeveloped in Ireland at present with opportunities for co-operative groupings of individuals or for a a new LIS recruitment agency for short-term contracting or freelance opportunities (e.g. cataloguing and records management for commercial firms; project-based research officers; training etc.). More information, advisory services and support regarding tax issues and rights of self-employed workers etc. may help to encourage such roles.

Career Development issues
The lack of employment security was highlighted by several with one participant noting that "3 year contracts are the new permanent". Flexibility was identified as a key attribute in this respect: professionals must be adaptable and create opportunities to learn new skills outside their current role; as one participant stated: "If you are lucky enough to be employed, you have to look for opportunities to gain a variety of experience where you are". Networking and conferences were highlighted as being of particular value in this respect, as well as technical knowledge and understanding: "Networking is key; understanding the sector is key key!". Volunteering was generally seen as a positive opportunity, providing it is not utilised as a means of job replacement by employers.

The full archived spreadsheet of tweets is available online.

Thanks again to all those who participated. #irelibchat will be taking a Christmas break but suggestions for January's topic are welcome!


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