Wednesday, 19 July 2017

CILIP Conference 2017: 'Starting Out in Your Career' - Spotlight by Louise Wasson


Despite the impressive range of fascinating keynotes and innovative sessions on offer, this Day 1 session instantly appealed to me on first reading the CILIP 2017 programme. Having attended this session I certainly was not disappointed. Delivered by CILIP development officers Juanita Foster Jones and Jo Cornish, and with input from CILIP Assistant Director of Workforce Development Mandy Powell, the session was engaging, informative and practical, with a range of career stage appropriate advice for all participants. My only regret would be that I hadn’t attended this session at a slightly earlier point in my library course. Nevertheless, there was a wealth of advice available on a diverse range of topics and CPD opportunities, as well as several genuine and sincere offers of future help and support post-conference.

The session consisted of three main group activities which involved:
  • a brief SWOT analysis of personal skills and skills gaps 
  • an overview of the CILIP PKSB and the chance to rate your skills against the PKSB 
  • an elevator pitch 


Having previously attended various non-library conferences, I have always found that faces tend to fall, shoulders drop and enthusiasm quickly wanes when on entering the room to a session expected to be delivered in lecture or presentation format, it is revealed that the session is in fact a practical workshop involving participation! However, this was not the case with this session which is testament to the skilled, engaging and accessible delivery used by Juanita Foster Jones and Jo Cornish. The activities facilitated speed networking with those around the table while also allowing each individual to actively reflect on their own practice and skills base with a view to planning their future career path and identifying those areas (which we will all always have) for development.

Information and guidance was also provided on the various routes to professional registration and there was a strong encouragement towards becoming involved with CILIP Special Interest Groups within your sector or area. I found this advice particularly useful as a newly qualified LIS professional with a background in academia and a skills gap around direct management and supervisory experience. Overall, the session was an incredibly useful, memorable and valuable experience which I will draw on in years to come.

My sincere thanks to the University of Sheffield iSchool for their generous Student Bursary and kind hospitality. The opportunity to not only attend my first CILIP conference but also to meet other LIS professionals and course members significantly added to the overall experience. I look forward to remaining an actively engaged CILIP member and attending future conferences in order to make the most of the knowledge and expertise available via this impressive yet welcoming professional network.

Louise Wasson
MA Library and Information Services Management student

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