A network for new and aspiring library professionals
How did you first become involved in the library and information profession?
As most people probably say when asked this question “I just fell into it”. While studying for my degree I was in need of a part time job to help pay the rent so I started to work at my University library as a student library assistant. It was only 10 hours a week, but it fitted nicely around my lectures and by working within the library I no longer had an excuse not to study after my shift.
You completed your graduate traineeship this year, can you tell us a bit about your experience?
Going straight into the traineeship after graduating was a little daunting at first, it being my first full time job. However, I have got to say it was probably one of the best decisions I ever made. I learnt so much throughout the year and have made some lifelong friends. I worked with so many amazing library professionals, being able to ask them about how they got to where they are today really helped me to gain an awareness of all the different information professions out there. I was able to get involved in several projects, whether that being the promotion of library resources to gathering student feedback. As a recent graduate from University I thoroughly enjoyed working on the help desk, as it not only allowed you to help out with library requests, but I felt like I could relate to the students more. Anyone looking into applying for a graduate traineeship be prepared for cake to be brought in at least three times a week, always accept an invitation to go for after work drinks, and enjoy every last minute of it as you will miss it once it’s over!
Your new role involves working in the legal sector. How have you found the transition from being a graduate trainee to working in a law library?
Well, the environment is completely different. Not going to lie it took a good few months to get used to it. We are a small team of 9, nothing compared to the amount of staff I worked with as a trainee. There are a few similarities, we hot desk – which I must say, I am now a professional at, since hot desking every day in my traineeship. We still deal with the odd print journal and the occasional book, but the major difference for me is that I don’t see myself as working within your typical library environment. That isn’t just because of the lack of books, or the fact that no one’s job title has librarian in it, we still conduct collection and information management tasks – just in different ways to what I was used to as a graduate trainee in an academic library.
What are your main responsibilities and what skills does your role demand?
As a research and knowledge analyst I provide legal and business research and knowledge management consultancy to the firm and its clients. Some of my main duties include sending out tailored current awareness/updates, using research databases to effectively answer research enquires that come through to the online help desk. I also write company profiles and reports by using appropriate research and analysis tools. I provide training and act in an advisory role for the specific sectors I am linked with. Some of the key skills that the role demands is having the ability to build effective relationships within the firm and externally. Strong communication is also key and being able to tailor this to suit the needs of the audience.
How did you prepare for the interview in order to show the panel that you could do the role with the experience you had?
Every interview I have had I have followed the three following processes and touch wood it has worked out successful for me every time.
What advice would you give to new professionals thinking of entering the legal sector?
If I could give one piece of advice it would be “don’t focus too much on the fact the job is within a legal sector”.. The job you are going for will be within a legal environment yes, but the role you are applying for does not expect you to give legal advice to anyone. Bearing that in mind, I would still do my research about the law firms and how information management/library profession work within the sector. As a fairly new research and knowledge analyst, I don’t have enough experience under my belt to be able to give a full perspective on working within a legal sector,. However what I can say is that if you have a flare for research, investigative skills and are prepared for no two days to be the same, then this sector would be great for you.
What would you like to see from NLPN in the future?
More networking events, not like they have to be fully organised events, even if just a quick catch up in a pub, or a pub quiz night somewhere. Maybe a newsletter, as I don’t always get the chance to check my social media or the website. So a newsletter/update to my email might be nice, maybe to tell people about upcoming events, jobs, tips etc. 🙂
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