Meeting the challenges of the ever-changing workplace: how to future-proof your skills

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Presentation delivered at the BIALL conference in June 2014, on using transferable skills outside of the legal information sector.

Text of Meeting the challenges of the ever-changing workplace: how to future-proof your skills

  • MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF THE EVER-CHANGING WORKPLACE: how to future-proof your skills Laura Woods, Research & Information Officer, Brake @woodsiegirl #biall2014
  • I am an imposter! I am not... A law librarian A librarian A knowledge manager An information manager ...or am I?
  • Who am I? Former law librarian Grays Inn 2007-08 Davies Arnold Cooper 2009-11 Addleshaw Goddard 2011-2012 Currently research and information officer for a small charity
  • About Brake Campaigning road safety charity Supporting the victims Campaigning for safer roads Engaging with fleet and road safety professionals
  • What I do at Brake A bit of everything! Keep on top of road safety research Build a network of expert speakers/writers and organisation case studies Research, write and edit guidance for employers, police, and support literature Talk to the media written quotes and TV/radio interviews
  • Am I a librarian? No! No resources to manage (print or electronic), no information service either internally or externally. Yes! I am an information professional I produce and disseminate information and connect others with the knowledge they need.
  • What traditional jobs do I do? Abstracting and summarising Evaluating information sources (CRAAP test) Tracking down open access publications Reference interviewing Web content management Organising and presenting information
  • How did I get here? Wanted to move to the charity sector Traditional librarian jobs in charities are few and far between Looked for jobs that would use my skills but werent considered librarian jobs
  • Looking for jobs Identified where to look Charityjob.co.uk, Guardian jobs page, notifications from individual organisations Identified keywords for the jobs I wanted Information, communication, research, content, editor, knowledge
  • Explaining myself at interview My interviewers werent librarians... ...hadnt hired librarians... ...and werent looking to hire a librarian! I had to explain my skills and experience without any of the shorthand I was used to.
  • Exercise: Taboo! Explain your job without using these words... Library Journals Databases Subscriptions Current awareness Legislation Case law Enquiries Research
  • What skills can you bring? The first step is knowing what you can do How do your skills/experience match up to the jobs you want to do? Skills audit look at what you do and what skills your job involves
  • Exercise: skills audit Job role Skills Where developed? Build a network of expert speakers/writers Networking Knowledge management Written and verbal communication Attending law firm practice group meetings Professional qualification Professional networking Research, write and edit guidance for fleets and support literature Writing and editing Summarising complex info Locating info from various sources Evaluating sources of info Professional qualification Summarising legal and business research Developing practice group specialisation Talk to the media Written and verbal communication Presentation skills Marketing Running training sessions Speaking at professional events Volunteering with professional bodies
  • Exercise: skills audit What do you do in your job? E.g. Tracking legislation progress What skills does this involve? E.g. Information literacy, knowledge of relevant sources, summarising and presenting information How did you develop these skills? E.g. In work, in volunteering roles, from professional qualifications
  • Developing your skills What do you want to do vs what can you do What skills will you need for your next move? Avenues for development Can you develop within your current role? Opportunities/funding for development? Soft skills vs hard skills Do you need to know how to do specific tasks? (e.g. cataloguing) Or do you need specific skills? (e.g. delivering training)
  • Finding your dream job Different circumstances Are you actively looking? or just lost your job and need a new one quickly? What do you really want to do? What are your priorities? Job type Organisation type Hours Location Pay Compromise?
  • In the job proving yourself How do you introduce yourself to colleagues? By your job title? By what you do? How do you explain what you do?
  • Exercise: Elevator pitch Come up with a one-sentence pitch to explain your role and your skills Think about the Taboo game from earlier try and avoid the same buzzwords!
  • My elevator pitches Im an expert in finding and evaluating information, so we have the most accurate, robust evidence on which to base our work. I connect the people who know things with the people who need to know them. Im immersed in road safety information so I know what information and developments we will need to act on.
  • In the job: finding new opportunities Always look for where you can add value What could be improved? E.g. Is your intranet organised and structured efficiently? Is knowledge capture happening? Are information laws being followed? Dont assume people will know to ask for your help be nosey!
  • Sum up Information professionals have a wide range of skills ...but not everyone knows this! Learn the organisations language and explain what you do in their words Analyse your skills you can do more than you think! Always look for opportunities to develop
  • Any questions? Laura Woods @woodsiegirl Laura.woods1984@gmail.com http://www.slideshare.net/WoodsieGirl