Last week, I sat down with SDSU’s Institutional Repository (IR) Specialist, Katie Romabiles.
As an IR Specialist, Katie manages both internal data as well as external. For example, one of her tasks is to manage and clean metadata from the documents uploaded to SDSU servers by a number of individuals. Additionally, Katie works with database companies, such as ProQuest, to ensure items are properly transferred to SDSU servers with appropriate metadata.
I had entered the interview with a set of questions, mostly to better understand if a position as an IR Specialist could potentially be in my future; however, by the end of the appointment, I had left with a list of invaluable information for current MLS students.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. The market is competitive, and you may have to work in other positions.
After receiving her MLS, Katie served as a page at the Coronado Public Library and interned in numerous locations before landing her current job at SDSU.
- Be humble.
See above! It can be frustrating, feeling you are not using your degree to the fullest extent. But, any and all experience will help round you out as a professional.
- But don’t doubt yourself.
Even if you only meet 60% of “required” qualifications for a job, apply anyways. Some institutions, such as universities, will apply resources to train and teach staff.
- Apply to jobs constantly!
Even if you won’t receive your degree for a few months, apply early and often. Hiring processes can take several months, or even half a year! So get started sooner rather than later.
- Learn everything you can in both the degree program and other jobs.
The field is constantly changing, and roles are ceaselessly evolving. Becoming well-rounded will help you find a job, keep the job, and even negotiate for more responsibilities and pay as you progress.
Extra tip! Try and learn XML and other digital languages. It is easy to pick up, and can save you time and frustration!
- It happens.
Sometimes, despite working the right positions and achieving phenomenal things, you may not get the dream job; work the jobs you may not think much of (see #1 and #2) until you can get where you want to go.
- Don’t put a number on yourself.
Getting the dream job immediately after you finish your program may not happen; in fact, it is really tough to do! Don’t add extra stress and pressure by thinking you need to get the perfect job right away.
- Don’t give up!
Keep working towards your goal, whatever and wherever that is. Get all of the experience you can, be professional, thoroughly prepare for interviews, and give it your best. You’ll get there!
Katie graduated with her BA in History from SDSU in 2012, and received her MLS in 2016 from San Jose State University. She has worked as SDSU’s IR Specialist since January 2017.