Librarians at large: advice for transitioning

In this discussion topic we’ve talked a bit about ways in which the typical librarian skill set can be used outside of traditional library environments. If you’re interested in exploring career opportunities outside the library there are lots of places to go for advice.

Job titles used by librarians at large

To expand your job search, consider looking for one or some of the following job titles:

  • Researcher
  • Data manager
  • Project manager
  • Database designer
  • Intelligence analyst
  • Digital content creator
  • Program manager
  • Social media manager
  • Technology trainer
  • Client service manager
  • Business process manager
  • Content creator
  • Grants manager

Transferrable skills

If you’ve spent your career working in libraries,  you tend to speak a kind of librarian language. We all know what you mean when you say you have skills in information literacy training – but outsiders often don’t know what this is. Here are some alternative phrases that could be used to describe some skills we use in libraries:

  • Training and adult learning
  • Information architecture skills
  • Computerised thinking (the ability to understand how a computer would work through a process – something we know through our skills using online search skills)
  • Teamwork
  • Event management
  • Project management
  • Working with children
  • Working with diverse populations
  • Website architecture
  • Online publishing
  • Data analysis
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Data migration/data mapping (have you ever been involved in implementing a new LMS?)
  • Report writing
  • Committee leadership
  • Stakeholder management
  • Customer service
  • Marketing and promotions
  • Advocacy
  • Grant writing

The list keeps going! The resources below have a lot more inspiration for you.

Job hunting advice

Lots of people have written advice on hunting for librarian jobs outside of libraries; below is just a small selection of our favourites:

Remember that these tips could also be used to move between sectors in libraries – and good luck in your job hunting!

Can you think of other resources to add to the list above? Feel free to share them in the comments below, or on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

Alyson Dalby, ILN Director.

p.s. I recently used my librarian skills to secure a role in a pharmaceutical company as a Data Readiness Team Manager. My boss says she loves hiring librarians into data management roles because of their structured thinking about information.

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2016A and tagged , , , .


    • Oh good point Muhumuza. I like the idea of librarians spreading out all over organisations, bringing order to information everywhere!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *