Maybe you’ve heard about jobs that need LIS skills and training that people always seem to refer to, but you’re not sure just what those jobs might be or how to find them.
The good news is that there are actually some practical ways to learn more about emerging LIS opportunities, using the research approaches identified below.
New jobs for librarians
In general, these types of new LIS jobs fall into three categories:
- New applications of existing LIS skill sets within existing companies and industries;
- New roles based on new LIS skills; and
- New or “repurposed” jobs within new industries.
Now let’s explore how to find out more about them.
How to identify emerging information service roles
According to Brad Rogers, LibGig Director of Recruiting:
“The fact that it’s a challenge to keep up with the myriad existing and new ways LIS professionals are using their skills is actually great news because although librarianship had traditionally been a pretty stable and predictable profession, these days it’s increasingly dynamic and fast-moving. That’s true even within what used to be called ‘traditional librarianship’ roles.”
How can you keep abreast of where those changes are happening? By monitoring a range of resources that reflect LIS employment growth areas.
Suggestions to monitor LIS trends and new opportunities
For what to monitor, consider these ideas:
- Review the MLIS Skills at Work: A Snapshot of Job Postings Researched, analyzed, compiled, and published by the San José State University iSchool every year, this report is the single best source of current and emerging LIS jobs based on a comprehensive analysis of 400 job postings.
- Monitor a wide range of job-posting sites. A great starting point for what sites to monitor is the list used in the Snapshot report, which also identifies possible search terms.
- Periodically peruse LIS graduate program websites to see what new certificate programs are being offered – an indication of an emerging career path (such as data librarianship).
- Check out professional association career resources, especially those of groups like ASIST, SAA, SLA, ALA, and their divisions and special interest groups (SIGs). Look for association webcasts on new skill sets or emerging fields, conference presentations (which can also point to experts and leading practitioners), unusual titles to be found among colleagues listed in the membership directories, and any forecasts, trends analyses, or “state of the profession” reports.
- Keep an eye on professional discussions. New ideas and opportunities often surface as questions such as “Does anyone know about…,” “Has anyone heard of a ….,” or “What skills do you think would be involved in being a….” You can usually find discussion groups within LIS professional associations, on Facebook, or among relevant LinkedIn groups.
T-rich industries for librarian experience
A great place to look for emerging roles and opportunities is in high-growth industries whose potential is at least partially driven by the strategic use of information – for example, through data analysis, competitive intelligence gathering, patent research, market analysis, specialized content development, or e-commerce supporting information architecture, among others. How do you find those high-growth industries? Here are some ways to get started:
- Search “high growth industries” and your state name (or the name of the state or region in which you’d like to work).
- Search “high growth industries in the US,” which will bring up rankings and forecasts from business publications like BusinessInsider, Forbes, BusinessNewsDaily, and more.
- Read the local business publications, which often track high-performing start-ups or other local companies in highly successful ventures.
- Check with the business librarian at your local metropolitan public library for any locally-produced analyses of emerging industries within your region.
- University MBA programs sometimes do annual state or regional industry trends forecasts. Check with the MBA programs in your area to see if they research and publish this type of report on a regular basis, and if so, find out how you can see the report (they’re often posted online).
- See if your state or region has an economic development group (this is usually a state-level function). If so, research what data they make available to the public. This may provide you not only with information about emerging/growth industries in your area, but also with lists/descriptions of the companies within them (i.e., potential employers).
Ten new librarian job titles to get you started
Consider these job titles, all of which included LIS skills (and usually an MLIS requirement) in their descriptions:
- Cloud support team lead
- Compliance officer
- Conflict analyst
- Content wrangler
- Data curator
- Document/data control analyst
- GIS library resident
- Litigation intelligence analyst
- Political media transcriber
- Workflow analyst/programmer
This is just a representative list of job titles from the SJSU iSchool Snapshot report; check the report for more specifics about job requirements, employers, and desired skills for each. But perusing even this brief list should give you an initial sense of just how widely LIS skills are being deployed now, and how even more widely they’re likely to be deployed in the future.