Records Analyst, Town of Richmond Hill
Favourite aspect of your job? Most exciting part? Most rewarding part? Proudest moment so far? I love helping people discover how much the information and tools we have can help them complete their work better and more efficiently. A lot of this involves developing marketing tools, holding training sessions, and being available to answer questions. It's exciting to work with software we have to develop custom solutions tailored to our staff's workflows and habits. I know I've done a good job helping someone when they come back to me with another question - it shows they trust me and my ability to help them!
What skill is most in-demand for people entering the field today? I think diplomacy and critical thinking are crucial. You need to be able to logically think through a problem or task, understanding all the background and future implications. Solutions must be grounded in evidence and the organizational context in order to get buy-in, both from the executive level and from general staff. Diplomacy is central to handling difficult situations and addressing staff concerns. Records and Information Management departments in general struggle to be seen as central to their organization, and lack of diplomacy can really shake the sometimes tenuous reputational ground you may have gained. Diplomacy is also a key characteristic of customer service - obviously important to IM!
Words of advice/career tips for MLIS students? Is there anything you wish you had known when you entered your professional that would be helpful to someone entering it today? The world outside of SIM is different - it's competitive and can be frustrating when looking for work. The reality of "doing a job" is so different from doing a similar project in an MLIS class - timelines are slower, you're dependent on other people's schedules, and you have to balance your own workload of lots of different projects. My advice is to identify a skill or area of the huge IM world and do that really well. Maybe it's Health Sciences (super great profession!), maybe it's Records Management (also great!), maybe it's Digital, maybe it's any one of the million other things. By specializing even a little bit, you'll give your job hunt direction and limit your search, and you'll be able to say with confidence that you're the "best" at that thing.