I attended my first CILIP event on Friday 3rd June, which was the New Professionals Information Day held in London. The event was advertised primarily by social media; I found out about it through Twitter. It meant a pretty early start (I left the house at 6.45am), but was worth it. Apologies, this post is a bit of an essay!
The event was introduced by Kathy Ennis and Lyndsay Rees-Jones, who also informed everyone of the ‘official hashtag’ for the event: #npid2011. Here you can see @CILIPinfo’s tweet archive from the day, containing 585 tweets. They also encouraged anyone who might be live-blogging throughout the day.
The first presentation was from the Keynote Speaker Steve Clarke (@UKSalesMentor). He lives by the mantra “it’s your attitude that determines your altitude”. Steve is part of a team of business mentors who work with business owners to improve their personal and business effectiveness.
He discussed how he discovered that you make the right decisions because of the right attitude, and with that you can pretty much do what you want to do. He also showed how his work in sales is relevant to the library and information profession, as sales is solving a problem. In this way, we’re all in sales, and we need to let people know what we have to offer; without clients, users, readers etc, there isn’t a need for our service.
He then gave us some rather tedious acronyms, but more interestingly some advice on what you can do to stand out from the crowd, including:
The next talk I attended was Getting Involved, led by Bethan Ruddock (@bethanar), involved in several formal and informal professional organisations.
Fundamentally, professional involvement is “engaging with the profession in any way that’s beyond the normal demands of your job”, which is important because when you develop yourself, you are developing the profession.
The first way people usually get involved is through professional organisations, for example CILIP. There are many reasons for getting professional involved, such as peer networks, which enable you to benchmark and share ideas. Another is for opportunities; it’s not what you know, but who you know, and Ned Potter’s blog post here explains this well. Others might be building skills by getting development out of the workplace, for example the cpd23 programme. It also helps employability, as it looks good on your CV, such as getting financial experience by joining committee as treasurer. In terms of how to get professionally involved, the best way is to say yes to any opportunities that arise.
We then had a workshop discussing three themes: involvement experience, boundaries and control, future of the profession. We also wrote on a post-it note the next step in our professional involvement, for example start a blog, or volunteer for committee.
Next, Lyndsay Rees-Jones then presented various ways of Getting Experience. This followed on very closely from the Getting Involved session. We began with her story and experience, and then divided into groups to discuss:
- Why you might want experience?
- Where you might get it?
- How to use it?
The main themes that came out were increasing skills and knowledge base, getting a better job, social media and networks.
During lunch, CILIP had tweets featuring the Twitter hashtag displayed on a projection screen, which was very interesting to watch. This time was also a chance to network, though I’m never any good at that!
The next session was Getting a Job, presented by Alex Wilson-Campbell, an independent recruiter and CV writer specialising in jobs in the library and information profession. He gave us the main criteria to consider when job-seeking;
- What should I consider when job seeking?
- What exactly is the employer looking for?
- How can I make my CV stand out, and make a good impression at interview?
Alex advised being aware of your strengths & weaknesses and your skills & qualities, and to think laterally when job hunting. His recruitment agency offers free CV checks and expert advice.
The final session was Getting International with Maria Cotera (@MariaCotera), in my opinion the best of the day and very inspiring. This was less a how-to, more a discussion of what we were interested in and what international experience we already had, and how that might impact on your career; for example, any member of CILIP is automatically a member of IFLA. We then heard from Maria about her work with the Women, information & Libraries Special Interest Group and the African Prisons Project.
After the presentations had finished, we reconvened for a Q&A Panel Session. It was a large group, so I think a lot of people weren’t too keen to ask questions. However, the group heard about different reasons for chartership and the speakers’ experiences of the day.
The day finished with LISNPN drinks in a pub round the corner. A few of the speakers came along too, and I was able to bend Maria’s ear about more of her work in Uganda, and another project she has worked on recently comparing criteria for qualification here and in New Zealand. It was also a great excuse to bother current and past Sheffield students!