Tips For People *Not* Going On Co-op

The co-op placements were announced yesterday and it sounds like a lot of  people got their first picks so that's awesome!  A big Classmate of the Day to everybody going on co-op.  It's going to be weird next semester with the majority of my cohort gone and doubly so because I'll be gone by the time most of them come back in January.  <a single tear rolls from Jason's eye>

I was talking to a first-term student who was concerned about whether they'd get the co-op position they'd applied for.  This, even though they had a chance to do a research project if they didn't get a co-op.  I suggested that doing a research project might even be better experience than co-op which the person said they hadn't considered.

So for those of us who are not doing co-ops, here's a few suggestions on ways to help your employability:

– work in a library (I'd say the biggest reason students don't go on co-op is that they already have previous library experience)
– if you don't work in a library, volunteer in one
– if you don't want to volunteer in a library, volunteer for other organizations
– get involved in groups at school – student council, CLA student chapter, peer mentorship program, librarians without borders, etc.
– make a real effort to attend as many of the workshops and speakers that are offered, both at FIMS and beyond in the wider University community (the University library usually has some useful workshops each semester but especially in the Fall)
– do an independent study or a research project
– try to get some of your essays or assignments published.  There are a lot of venues out there, looking for work and although you might not get in Library Journal right off the bat, it's worth a shot – especially in some of the smaller or open access journals.  The CLA's Feliciter is another good option. 
– work as a TA or an RA for a professor
– join organizations like CLA and OLA
– attend their conferences
– don't just attend their conferences but make a real effort to meet people, especially people who may someday be in a position to offer you a job.  (I hate the word “networking” and prefer “enjoy meeting and talking to people” but that's really what it is)
– get on these organizations' listservs
– get on other library-related listservs
– besides networking with working librarians, find a prof (or two) that you hit it off with and who will write
you good reference letters when you're out in the big bad world looking
for a job

Any other suggestions? 

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