Job Search Advice from Alums

A few weeks ago, we posted a blog entry with feedback from employers about their impressions of iSchool students. This proved to be a very popular blog post for students. As a follow-up, we’re sharing some job search advice from graduates of the iSchool. The data and quotes are taken from a survey Student Services did of the 2009 graduates.

Students relied on the following resources in securing their jobs:

Ad/Job Announcement 31%
Alumni Connection 3%
Internship/DFW Contact 16%
iSchool Contact/Mentor 5%
iSchool Employer Connections Fair 2%
UW Career Center 14%
iSchool Listserv (iprojobs/iStujobs) 9%
Networking 27%
Pre-iSchool Employer 12%
Professional Organization 8%
Personal Contact 35%
Other 11%

(Networking-related resources in bold.)  Review the list above carefully, while a significant percentage relied on traditional job announcements, an even larger percent relied on networking in some form. In this, or frankly any, job market, it cannot be stressed enough that networking is a key to your success in finding a job.  If you are at a loss as to where to start your networking, check out this blog post.

In addition to providing information on the resources students used to successfully land a job, they also gave us feedback on aspects of their degree program or resources used that they found particularly helpful in their job search. Here are some of their comments:

  • An [iSchool] degree can be really valuable but it all depends on how you market yourself. Tout the differences and what makes you unique, and how what you learned can ultimately be applied to the business.
  • While I was hired as a software developer, the skills I’ve acquired in various HCI and usability classes gave me the know-how necessary to communicate with artists and producers, and able to make suggestions that are beyond arguments of opinion. 
  • I’m actually using a lot of my knowledge from Cataloging and indexing/abstracting classes for this job which is completely unrelated to libraries.
  • Put forth as much effort as possible to get an internship the summer in between Junior and Senior year. There is absolutely nothing that can prepare you better for job searching than real world experience and an internship is a sure way to gain it.
  • The UW Career Center really helped with interviewing, resumes and cover letters. I would highly recommend them.
  • I don’t think I would be able to pursue my current career if it weren’t for the training in UX, technology, and usability from the iSchool.
  • In this market it is difficult to get even an initial follow-up call so it’s important to build network.
  • Although I had pre-iSchool education and experience that helped me to get this job, I had NO library experience before my two DFWs.  I think it would have been much harder for me to get a librarian job if I had not had my DFW experiences.
  • My ability to use design and presentation software and experience using it in the online program was as impressive to potential employers as my job.

Submitted by Wendie Phillips, Director of Student Services

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