Every-flavour career beans: sector changes and career development in libraries

E Jennings

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Changing library sector can be a daunting process, but in a tougher economic climate, flexibility is essential for career development, as people take fewer risks and traditional career paths may change to meet financial pressures. This paper aims to illustrate the benefits and drawbacks of sector changes, with ideas for getting the most out of a varied set of experiences. To demonstrate these points, I use a case study of a career which has included a professional body, an accountancy firm, several public libraries, a prison library and a university library. The paper will show the advantages of a varied career, including a wide-range of skills, the ability to repurpose skills for new environments, and the increased self-awareness required to adapt non-traditional experience to job applications. It also highlights some of the disadvantages, such as having to convince potential employers of the relevance of your experience, and trying to fit a disparate group of skills into a two-page CV. It will also explore how a non-traditional career path maps to the Framework of Qualifications, and how these can provide a framework for reflecting on and consolidating experience. Sector changes, while a step into the unknown, can add colour to your CV, and enable you to use your existing skills in new ways. They can make some aspects of career development harder, but can also open up avenues which may not be available to those following more traditional career paths. Is it hoped this paper will inspire and reassure those considering their next move, and provide practical ideas for bringing together a range of experience into a unified package which employers and assessors can understand.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-40
Number of pages4
JournalImpact: Journal of the Career Development Group
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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