First impressions count, and people you’ll encounter in your working life will look up to you for real advice and support, whether you’re based in a public or academic library, working in a record office or a business archive.
Contrary to popular belief, these are not back office roles. You’ll need to get along with people, from members of the public, to the highest level of senior professionals. Good service and interpersonal skills are vital.
There’s a constant need for creative thinkers that can anticipate the future, challenging how information is both gathered and presented. Diverse skills and qualifications are required, but there are a few important personal qualities that come into play in most jobs.
- Socially competent, able to engage, make conversation and discuss issues with people from all circles of life.
- Excellent communicators and listeners.
- Strong professional and ethical values.
- Articulate, with excellent written communication skills.
- Comfortable leading and setting new agendas.
- Professional, creative and innovative.
- Self-motivated, hardworking and organised.
- Energy and drive.
- Resourceful and good at networking.
Good grades and academic success, while not always essential, are indications of commitment – particularly for people wanting high-level responsibility early on. Entry qualifications do vary, but for professional posts, qualifications accredited by the Chartered Institute of Libraries and Information Services (CILIP) and the Archives and Records Assocation are usually a must.
Be prepared for a steep learning curve and to hit the ground running. Training is usually work based, and can be accompanied by full-time, part-time and distance learning study. Apprenticeships in Information and Library Services can be a good choice for people wanting to earn an honest wage whilst learning.