Saturday, June 6, 2009

Transferable Skills and the Librarian

With the job market the way it is, I am almost sad to send students out into the horrible job market. And, honestly speaking, Seattle's economy is no where near as bad as most other places in the country.

Students often, before graduation, ask us librarians for help in finding jobs. The short answer is, beyond showing them the places to look, helping them write resumes, and pointing them to some (?hopelessly outdated?) books on interviewing, there is not much we can do.

That is why this post, "The Power of Transferable Skills," from The Simple Dollar caught my attention.

Though not a simple, quick fix, it does give some excellent advice about how one job or one skill is a brick in your wall. That, through cross training and creative thinking, you are making your future career all the more achievable.

This started me thinking about my career path - basically, why am I employed today? In my current position, paraprofessional in the User Services department of an academic library, I use the administrative skills learned from being an office assistant in a law firm, the customer services skills I learned from working in a large bookstore, the marketing skills from years networking as a babysitter/nanny, and the library-specific skills from four years as a Tech Services student assistant in college and as an intern in a public library's archives.

More importantly, however, how will I be using the skills from this job in the future? The most important thing I am learning is management, and that is a skill that will only become more important as I move on (and up).

So, I hope that this article will help people, as it helped me, see the bigger picture. And though this will not help my patrons today, maybe it will be a comfort when they look to the future: the crap job of today is a transferable skill of tomorrow!

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