Reviewed by: Carol A. Stahlberg
As I recently graduated with my MLIS degree, any offerings of career advice in transitioning into an unrelated field of my current profession (human resources specialist) is much appreciated. The guidance offered in this book is beneficial to individuals wishing to transition into this arena, and applies to all in career transition.
This book covers a myriad of topics including work styles, personal branding, politics, finding a job, and compensation. Chapter four, “Developing your brand: the professional image” was particularly beneficial. Emphasis on what we wish to be known for and the value we can convey is a key component to our professional reputations. Remaining active in professional organizations is another key to building relationships. While I belonged to ALA, SLA, and AIIP as a student, I regret not being active with the associations. On the topic of professional demeanor, the tips provided (being punctual, appropriately dressed, prepared, organized, etc.) bridge all professions.
The topic of personal attire when developing your brand is noteworthy. Erring on the side of caution by selecting business attire as opposed to less formal outfits, and selecting quality clothing is sound advice. I appreciated the advice on quality handbags and shoes are a must, two accessories that I put plenty of thought into. Another key issue about appearance deals with personal expression in the form of body art: tattoos and piercings. The advice to cover up tattoos and remove piercings until one has a better idea of the entity’s culture should be taken into consideration. Although we are emerging on a cultural shift towards a wider acceptance of body art, many employment arenas remain fairly conservative.
This book contains two additional significant components; one exploring the careers of several colleagues. These poignant interviews focused on education, career moves, career highlights, influence by others, accomplishments, and what you would do (or not do) differently. The diversity of career paths and experiences is inspiring. It is interesting to see the key influencers in their careers. A common theme from these interviews stresses the need for networking and participation in professional organizations.
The other key component of the book describes the careers or “jouneys” of Ulla and Jill. Each has had a unique journey. Jill provides excellent insight in viewing opportunities: after receiving her undergraduate degree, she took a job in radio. She credits this experience with enhancing her public speaking skills. Ulla’s first job in academic administration introduced her to the complexity of committee work and operating in a political environment.
Ulla and Jill remain significant figures in the information and knowledge professional’s scene. They continually counsel anyone within the profession; they mentor; and they contribute sage advice via their teaching and writing. One gets a sense that they are vested in your success. I find it inspiring that Ulla and Jill tirelessly give back to the profession. At some point in this career changing journey, I would consider myself successful to give back a fraction of what they have contributed.
As I read this book, I viewed it from two distinct lenses: my role as a human resources specialist and my aspirations to embark a career transition to information professional. I would recommend this book to individuals seeking to transition careers or advance their current role. The advice offered transcends most professions.
Reviewer Carol Stahlberg recently completed her MLIS degree at the University of Denver and is working in the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies as a human resources specialist.