Saturday, 3 March 2018

Thing 23: Career Development Round-up

Thing 23: Career Development Round-up

Last piece

A massive congratulations to you for making it to the final Thing in Rudaí 23.
Time really has flown by, here we are on the last piece- the final piece to the Rudaí 23 puzzle! There is no task with this Thing. The purpose of this thing is to start you thinking about the next steps you plan to take in your CPD path. Completing a 23 Things course is a huge achievement and something to be proud of.

Although I haven’t blogged myself in quite some time, I was delighted when I was asked to write a post about professional development for Rudaí 23. CPD is something I have been passionate about since I started my career in libraries, however sometimes it is easy to get side-tracked during a busy period in your work or home life and lose sight of it.


Writing this blog post has provided me with a great opportunity to refocus on my own professional development to date, reflect on what strategies have worked well (or not so well) at a personal level, and also to think about my career goals for the next few years.
As you come to the end of Rudaí 23 and finish one chapter in your CPD story, now is a great time to take stock of the tasks and activities that resonated with you most, how you might leverage them going forward, and also where you want to go in the future.

As an early career professional, I probably initially focused on CPD largely as a useful way of building up my CV. It can be challenging applying for jobs when you have very little experience, so I think it helps if you can maximise the opportunities to learn and develop new skills by working with different colleagues, getting involved in new projects and volunteering for any other opportunities that might come your way.

Library Association of Ireland
I found that membership of the LAI provided a great opportunity to connect with fellow professionals and to gain a greater understanding of the LIS landscape in Ireland. Around the same time, I also became interested in social media, mainly through blogging for, and this August I will celebrate a decade of being on Twitter :-o! I found the former to be a particularly useful platform for reflecting on, and clarifying my thoughts about, new LIS issues and developments as I encountered them, whilst Twitter is still probably one of the channels I use most for keeping up to date and networking.

A few years into my career I started presenting at conferences, and writing for publication seemed a logical next step after blogging. Although I may not have realised it at the time, the skills I developed through writing articles and peer reviewing for journals, have been a real asset in my current role which involves working closely with researchers and advising them on publication strategy, open access and other aspects of scholarly communications. I feel this can often be the case, particularly with informal and self-directed CPD; whilst it may not initially seem relevant to your day to day work in an explicit or tangible way, it indirectly helps us to challenge ourselves, engage in reflective practice and to continue to evolve and develop as professionals.

Throughout my career to date I have worked in a range of varied roles across special, medical and academic libraries. Whilst each has required its own specialist knowledge and expertise, there are also common skills that underpin them all, such as the ability to build relationships and work with people, the capacity to be a good communicator and being able to utilise an analytical approach when identifying and solving problems. These are the competencies we develop every day in our jobs often without realising it, but it is important that we do recognise these as being just as important as more technical or specialist skills.

In terms of practical strategies, I find it useful to keep a record of both formal and informal professional development activities, and how my skills have developed as a result. This can be helpful when applying for jobs, professional awards such as the ALAI, or as guidance to identify those activities and opportunities which have been most beneficial, as well as those which were perhaps less so. A CPD log can also function as a strategic planning tool for identifying gaps and areas you still need to work on to meet your career or professional goals.

I have always been extremely fortunate to work in organisations that strongly promote and encourage CPD, however for others it can be difficult to get time away or funding for more formal training such as conferences or courses. However, as initiatives like Rudaí 23 demonstrate, there are opportunities to learn new things and develop your skills everywhere. Every day most of us probably learn something new, meet a new colleague, or apply our existing skills in a new context, without thinking too much about it. To me professional development is about identifying these moments of learning and growth, and using them to inform and improve what we do or how we do things. It is also important to remember that the C in CPD stands for continuing, so even as you might close the door on Rudaí 23 for now, the next door has already opened.

Thing 23 was written by Michelle Dalton

Michelle Dalton is Scholarly Communications Librarian, UCD Library

And that's the end of Rudaí 23! 

We will release our fifth and final Open Badge CPD Champion in the next couple of weeks. If you have earned all four of the badges for this course you are immediately eligible to apply for this badge. There is still time to complete the required four reflective posts for the Open Badges.

Closing date for all badge applications is 30 April 2018. 


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