Snapshot: Angela Kelly
Interview by Sasha Nyary
Angela Kelly came to GSLIS last fall with a strong background in business, and she is already putting her experience to good use. A former event planner with a B.A. in business marketing, she was a natural for the role of student liaison between GSLIS and the Career Education Center (CEC) as they organize the spring career fair. (The fair will be held on April 20, 2011, noon to 2 p.m., at the Linda K. Paresky Center on the Boston campus.) She also started at the Simmons School of Management this semester. By the time she completes both degrees — she expects her library degree in May 2012 and her MBA a year later — she’ll be a library powerhouse.
Q: What is entailed in your job?
A: I work with [Assistant Dean for Student Services] Em Claire Knowles at GSLIS and [CEC Associate Director of Employer Relations] Doug Eisenhart. I’m kind of the go-between between the two departments. The career center normally does all the career fairs but they had too many on their plate right now and didn’t have enough time to do this one.
What are you working on?
Right now, a lot of the work is building up the employer list, because there hasn’t been a fair in 10 years. We do have an invitation list from 2001, but I’m not sure how up to date the contacts are. I guess I’ll find out. And then I have some other lists that we’re working from, the Jobline, there’s the GSLIS Jobs & Opportunities site, and a few other lists. I’m working up a couple hundred names of employers right now, and then we’ll narrow it down. We’re aiming to have 15 to 20 companies at the fair, and we’re hoping to have 100 to 200 students there as well.
What are some of the companies?
We don’t want to announce them until they’re confirmed, but my vision is to have a page on the GSLIS website with a list of the employers, a one-sentence description, and a link to their sites. The main goal is to focus strictly on companies that have full-time jobs available. So that if you go to the career fair, it’s not going to be just to get another unpaid internship or part-time job. We want there to be opportunities for GSLIS students who are graduating to get full-time jobs. We’re also aiming to have a wide range of employers. So not just public libraries, not just academic libraries or archives; we’re actually looking at having corporate libraries as a possibility, investment firms, publishers, search engines, depending on what the job market is like for each of these companies.
Are you just focusing on local companies?
We’re focusing on Boston, Massachusetts, and New England, but we would happily welcome any institution beyond this area that has job openings and would like to attend. A lot of the employers seem excited about the opportunity to talk to the students, and GSLIS students have a good reputation, which as a student is good to hear!
“A career fair is a really good way to meet with employers, to see them face to face, talk to them about their jobs, what the opportunities are at their company, and what the culture is like.”
What does a career fair look like?
The tables will be lined up as they are at a convention. Each employer will have a table, with anywhere from one to three people. They’ll probably be standing, and students or potential employees basically browse, and you can talk to anyone you want. If there’s an employer that has a good position, there might be a line; it depends on the interests of the students. Since the fair runs from noon to 2:00, you don’t have to be there the whole time. You can come at noon, stay ’til 12:30, or come at 1:00 and stay ’til 2:00. You can talk to one employer or to them all. You shouldn’t be in jeans and a t-shirt looking as if you’ve just come from class. And make sure you have copies of your resume with you in case they ask, although a lot of applications are online. There will be no cost to students.
How should students prepare for this, and who should plan to attend?
Throughout the semester there will be careerpreparation days to get students ready for the career fair. Many people think of career fairs as being oriented towards the corporate side. I’ve been to plenty, and I’m used to them, but I think many people have not, and they may think, ‘Why would I go to a career fair? I’m not going to get a management job.’ But actually a career fair is a good way to meet with employers, to see them face to face, talk to them about their jobs, and what the opportunities are at their company, and what the culture is like.
It’s an opportunity to get your face in front of them, rather than just giving them a piece of paper with your name on it and having them put it in a pile with another couple hundred pieces of paper. The career sessions throughout the semester will give tips on resume writing, resume building, interviewing, and the appropriate dress style for interviews and career fairs. We will bring in speakers and work with GSLIS student organizations to hold panel discussions with employers from different fields. They’ll speak about what the job market is like, what they look for when hiring, and what opportunities they might have, and give tips on the best way to get into the type of institution or organization that they work for — those kinds of things.
What about students who don’t want to stick around New England after they graduate?
Some people are looking at jobs that are not in New England, or they might want to go abroad. So we’re considering having a table with information about different positions across the country and internationally. We’re not focusing on those employers. But if we have information about those types of positions, we’ll share it with students and they can follow up.
I won’t graduate for a while; is it worth it for me to go to the career fair?
I started going to a career fairs when I was a sophomore in college. They’re great. You can meet an employer there, hit it off; maybe you like the company so you keep in touch over the year, maybe get an internship out of it, and then who knows. It’s never too early to start networking. And even if you get an interview with an institution you’re not interested in, it’s important to take the interview, because it’s good practice. Whether it goes well or not, it doesn’t matter. You get to practice your answers in a professional manner. And when you leave, make a note of what they asked and what you said, and tweak your answers. That’s an interview under the belt before the one you may really want.
What do you do in your free time? Do you have any?
My free time — that I don’t really have. I read a lot, which is normal in the field, but I do like reading. A classic I really love is The Great Gatsby. I also like Dan Brown’s books. I’m reading The Watchman’s Rattle by Rebecca Costa, right now, it’s nonfiction, and quite good. I like a wide array of books, and although there are some books that I love, I’ve never read a book twice.
GSLIS Career Fair To Be Held April 20
Mark your calendar now for the GSLIS Career Fair: April 20, from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Linda K. Paresky Conference Center. The fair is designed as a drop-in event, so students can stop by on the way to or from class. They can browse, see one employer, or see all of them — event organizers hope to have 15 to 20 employers, says GSLIS student Angela Kelly, who is helping GSLIS and the Career Education Center plan the fair.
“We want there to be opportunities for GSLIS students who will be graduating to be able to get full-time jobs,” says Kelly. “We’re aiming to have a wide range of employers, including corporate libraries —investment firms, publishers, search engines — in addition to public, academic, and archives.” The final list of employers will be posted online in time for students to peruse it before the fair. “Who ends up coming depends on what the job market is like for each of these companies,” says Kelly, who plans to invite primarily New-England-based employers who are looking to hire soon-to-be graduates. Watch for career-prep classes throughout the semester, including ones on resume writing and building and interviewing skills.