This week we have been learning about marketing and communication skills in relation to working in IS and libraries. I think that these skills are hugely important for graduates entering the job market. Employers are becoming increasingly aware that these soft skills are necessary for people to achieve success in their careers. Although people may be highly skilled and exceptional when it comes to the technical aspects of their positions, they will find their work may be overlooked or forgotten about if they cannot communicate adequately. More and more in this course we are realising that librarians have to justify their positions in regard to budget cuts etc. and it is an unfortunate trait in the profession that historically librarians have not been very good at marketing themselves, their skills or their part in their organisations. I believe that this is something that has to change drastically in the future. We have seen in the literature and in the comments by guest speaker’s that this is the case.
My background is in fashion retail and although I was not working in this area for very long and I had no intention of pursuing a career in the area I believe I have benefited greatly from the communication aspect of the job. Retail is about selling; selling the brand and selling yourself as a brand ambassador and I believe that is what we need to achieve as future librarians. We have to be able to promote our skills and services and make people aware of just how necessary we are in the age of information overload. As part of my previous employment I was nominated as a representative of the staff for all levels under management in Ireland and had to meet with head office management on a regular basis, I was also involved with hiring and training new staff; experience such as this has become invaluable because I have learned to communicate with different levels on management and staff as well as with customers. When I first started this course I was worried that my experience would not stand to me in this field but I now believe that working in retail has strengthened these skills. I believe that in a course like the MLIS it is very important to cover this topic and outline the importance of communication to people studying for a career in this area.
I think that the group work aspect of the course and the way in which we are given the opportunity to write these reflections gives us a chance to improve on our communication skills and allows us to gain confidence in presenting ourselves and our thoughts to others. We need to be able to see that we have these skills and present ourselves as such when we enter the job market. We need to advertise who we are and what we do and help others to see our skills.