Networking 101

I started off my day today by going to an interest session for ACRL. They talked about some of the different sections within ACRL (there are 17 of them) and had representatives from each that you could talk to. I had already met one of the reps from the Instruction Section at the soiree last night, so I gravitated toward that one. After the general interest meeting, I went to the interest meeting for that section and learned about the different committees within that group. There’s everything from membership to awards to conference planning to teaching methods. I spoke with someone from the instructional technologies committee. I also learned that, if you can’t get onto a committee (since there are limited spots), you can also volunteer as an intern. I’m really excited about getting more closely involved with ALA, and specifically within a smaller group that allows me to actually get to know people.

And speaking of getting to know people, my session for the day was on “Networking for Career Success.” Obviously, a lot of it was focused on job seeking, specifically for those of us looking for first jobs. Here’s pretty much what I got out of it:
You already have a personal network of people – family, friends, neighbors, etc.
You never know who knows who, so don’t just limit yourself to talking to people within your specific field.
Be able to present yourself, what you have done and what you’re looking for in 90 seconds or less – and have a business card!
Use your personal/professional network of contacts to set up an “informational interview” with someone in the field/area/organization that you’re interested in working for. The purpose of the interview is not to ask for a job, but to gather information or contacts from that person that can help you in your job search.

I also enjoyed getting free stuff from “The Stacks” – the exhibit hall. I’ve racked up several free bags, a dictionary, lots of bookmarks and pens and free wine, cake, champagne, and cheese. Yay for swag!

Now I’m headed off to the ALA/Proquest Scholarship Bash at the Art Institute of Chicago to take in the beautiful art and some food. More about that later tonight…or perhaps in the morning…

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