« September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

United Nations Internships

With the launch of the Information Policy specialization, I thought that it might be useful to post information on United Nations internships. Good news about this -- there are TONS of UN internships. I did a search and found a link to the NYC headquarters internship page: http://www.un.org/Depts/OHRM/sds/internsh/index.htm

There are many others that can be found on this website: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/internships.htm Some of the internships on this page include departments such as the following:

Economic and Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
International Court of Justice (ICJ)
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Arusha
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), The Hague
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
International Labour Organization (ILO), Geneva
International Maritime Organization (IMO), London
International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington

Check it out! And if you are interested in the International Telecommunications Union United Nations internship that two SI students have participated in the past, you can find the application at http://www.itu.int/employment/stages.html

Questions? Contact me!

Posted by kkowatch on October 31, 2007 at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

Interviewing Tip: Be Specific!

The new trend in interviewing is behavioral interviewing. What behavioral interviewing is a result of is the idea that what a candidate (you) has done in the past, they will do in the future. Basically, if you never been one to do the dishes in the past, they think that you will never do the dishes in the future. You'll know that you are being subjected to a behavioral interview because all of the questions will start with "Tell me about a time when you..." OR "Give me an example of when you..."

Prior to this change in interviewing styles, questions sounded more like, "What is your experience in... " and "How would you deal with this situation:...?" But recruiters and interviewers figured out that you can always think of the right thing to say, but that doesn't always mean that you will actually do that. So, they ask you about what you have really done to determine if your past habits and practices and skills will indicate that you will succeed in the future.

There's a trick to answering these questions: tell stories! It's actually pretty easy. All you have to do is tell the truth and give examples of what you did in the past. No one knows the answers to these questions better than you. Of course, there is a certain degree of finesse that's involved and ways to emphasize certain attributes to make sure that you come off better than your competition, but you shouldn't sweat over behavioral interviewing. I think that it’s better than having to be highly theoretical in an interview. You get to just be yourself.

So, how to answer these behavioral interviewing questions? There’s a formula that's nationally known... I've worked at four different career services offices and this approach, known as the STAR approach, is consistently recommended by all of them. STAR is broken out like this:

S - Situation
T - Task
A - Action
R - Result

When you are telling your story, which should be 2 to 4 minutes long, you want to be sure to touch upon all four of these areas. Sometimes the T and A overlap, but to differentiate, the task is what you needed to do to accomplish your goal and action is what you actually did. Tip: What sounds great to an employer is when your action actually exceeds your task and your results are even better than expected!

We always receive feedback from employers that students are not specific enough in their interviewing answers. They want to hear about what you did, not your theory on customer service or usability. They want tangible examples of when you applied what you've been learning. They already know the theories of these things -- that's why they are interviewing you.

If you have questions, would like examples of behavioral questions, or would like to practice your interviewing, contact me or Joanna and we'll be more than happy to help.

Resources on the web:
Sample Behavioral Interview Questions:

Posted by kkowatch on October 30, 2007 at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

Part 2 - internship series (Columbia River Gorge Commission)

This is the second part of my series on my summer internship at the Columbia River Gorge Commission. To recap the last part, I leveraged the CiC, faculty, and a former student to find an internship through a program at Portland State University's Hatfield School of Government. I found myself in the middle of the Cascade Mountain Range at the Columbia River Gorge Commission (CRGC) in White Salmon, Washington.

In my initial discussions with the CRGC director I was oriented to a project the Commission had been trying (and failing) to launch for almost 15 years. After some management and personnel changes (and a budget increase thanks to global warming), the CRGC was prepared to give the project one more shot. The issue was this: what happens when Congress forms a new bi-state land use planning commission, details fuzzy logic in its legislation, and then requires no accountability for 20 years of policy-making? You guessed it, a lot of unproven, undocumented, and uneven policy. So, with the environment obviously changing in the Western US, people began to take notice and started asking this commission what their policies were actually doing to help. You could hear the crickets - the silence was unbearable. Someone needed to begin an assessment program of CRGC policies to ensure they were working the way in which was intended. That's when I was brought in.

The group had a pretty good idea of what they wanted to do, the just weren't sure on how to go about doing it. I wasn't given the full lot of details over the phone, but the work sounded interesting, and it appeared that the project had started a few months before. I was all geared up to start working with the project team (led by a high-profile consultant) and hopefully provide some help to them over the course of the summer. When I arrived, however, I quickly learned that I was the project team… and nobody had touched the project in 3 months. The big "uh oh" went through my mind right away. The lead consultant was in Australia finishing another project and wouldn't make it to Washington for 3 more weeks. The only person on staff who had been working on the project was completely bogged down with other work duties and hadn't been able to focus any time in my direction. Here I thought I was going to work day-to-day under a mentor and learn a handful of useful skills - but instead I found myself swimming in some deep waters, a bit alone.

But, I'm not an SI crusader for nothing. I quickly amassed all the information I could on program evaluation, the policies themselves, the culture of the commission, and the demeanor of the community. I began making plans and started writing up a survey to test the community values. I was able to squeeze some precious time out of my other teammate and pull together a proposal for the next 18 months. People were a-buzz, and then the consultant returned.

I made two mistakes those first few weeks: 1) I assumed people would just "get" SI methods; 2) I thought too hard about starting fresh and not hard enough about using the existing tools and information available. The consultant quickly pointed out to me that unless there was a name attached to the methods of rapid contextual design and that any results would be statistically significant, it wasn't worth the costs. While eventually I was able to shift perspectives, it was an important lesson: present new methods to unsuspecting associates cautiously and in a way that makes sense to them. And compromise. So I had to let go of the survey, but I could keep my working advisory groups and the majority of my work plan.

These lessons were initial setbacks, but with some perseverance, compromise, and humility, I was able to keep the project heading in the right direction and learn a few things along the way.

In Part 3 of this series I'll go over a few skills I learned and what I feel I missed. I'll also talk about how this prepares me for future decisions about work in related fields.

Posted by pkleymee on October 29, 2007 at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

2nd Year MSI's: Submit Your Resume to the American Research Libriares (ARL) Graduate Student Database!

ARL Redesigns MLS Graduate Student Résumé Database

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has redesigned its MLS Graduate Student Résumé Database, which allows graduate students within six to eight months of completing an MLS program or within six to eight months of completing a post-MLS residency program to post their résumés in one of the most visited online recruitment services in the academic and research library community.

This unique service enables human resources staff at ARL member libraries and other subscribing institutions to target outreach efforts by conducting proactive searches of potential candidates. The site is secure and only ARL member representatives and paid subscribers have access to the confidential database.

The redesigned site allows human resources staff to search by:

Areas of interest
Geographic locations
Foreign language skills
Library schools
In addition to the search capabilities, human resources staff can subscribe to an RSS feed that will notify them when new résumés are added to the database.

Posting résumés to the database is complimentary for all MLS graduate students and post-MLS residents. ARL encourages students and residents to post their résumés today at http://www.arl.org/resources/careers/resumes/.

Human resources staff at ARL member libraries or other interested institutions should contact Jerome Offord Jr., ARL Director of Diversity Initiatives, jerome@arl.org, to obtain access to the database.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 123 research libraries in North America. Its mission is to influence the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member research libraries, providing leadership in public and information policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that leverages its interests with those of allied organizations. ARL is located on the Web at http://www.arl.org/.

For more information, contact:
Jerome Offord, Jr., MS, MLS
Director of Diversity Initiatives
Association of Research Libraries
21 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
Office: (202) 296-2296
Fax: (202) 872-0884
Efax: (202) 318-8991
email: jerome@arl.org
Web: www.arl.org/diversity

Posted by kkowatch on October 26, 2007 at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

Employer Visit: Fry, Inc

Besides the exciting news that I just got my first iPod and my husband and I are just mesmerized by it and its amazing capabilities, Joanna and I visited Fry, Inc on Wednesday.

Fry, Inc's motto is "Commerce Without Compromise." I got from the meeting that they are into building applications that aid businesses (which include Ann Taylor, Brookstone, Crate & Barrel, Smithsonian Store, Meijer, and World Market among others) with their e-commerce activities. This includes strategic services, information architecture, creative design and branding, application development and integration, managed services and hosting, and data analysis and reporting. You can check it all out on their website under their Our Solutions section.

Fry, Inc has had a couple SI alumni work there and now is venturing into the world of interns. They are hoping for more of a direct pipeline recruiting relationship to happen between them and SI, as we are too.

The main positions for which they are recruiting are Information Architects (IAs). IAs are split into Junior IA's and Senior IAs. The difference in the two positions is really the level of involvement with clients and customers and the degree of decision making. However, there are several other positions on their website currently that may be of interest to current MSIs and alumni that include Senior Project Manager (Ann Arbor), eCommerce Strategy Project Manager (NYC), Interface Developer (NYC & Wesmont, Illinois), Business Consulting Associate (San Francisco), and Systems Architect (San Francisco & Wesmont, Illinois), among many others!

Specific Skills that Fry is seeking in their IAs include:
1. Interaction Design -- being able to see and document the evaluation flow and translating to wireframes
2. Customer Research abilities and experience
3. Client Interaction – experience selling ideas to other people with and without research for back-up.

And, how they want to know that you have these skills is through sample work. You should have an online portfolio and/or a two-to-three page document with screen shots and bulleted descriptions of your work to demonstrate your work and abilities. Your resume should clearly have a defined skills set section, the right keywords in it and you should have applied your usability knowledge to your resume when you created. It’s rare that we have such clear feedback from a company about what they are searching for, so I hope you are able to take advantage of it!

Have questions about Fry? Contact me or Joanna! ~ Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on October 25, 2007 at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)

From Library Jounal.com: "What's an MLIS Worth?"

Library Journal.com published an update on the job outlook for MLIS graduate. SI Careers contributes to their annual employment surveys, so our graduates' outcomes are included in this article's outcomes. Things sound pretty good to me: salaries are increasing and MLIS graduates are finding an increasing number of jobs outside of the library environment (which could be good or bad, depending on your perspective). Read the article for a glimpse of the good and not-so-good news about the job market.

What's an MLIS Worth? A picture of overall growth is marred by fissures in job outlook
By Stephanie Maatta -- Library Journal, 10/15/2007

It was a banner year for women in 2006. Their average annual starting salary finally cracked through the $40,000 glass barrier, increasing to $40,566 for all women and with a substantial gain of 11.3% for women in the Southwest. There was small, but solid, growth in salaries overall. Reported annual starting salaries for new graduates increased approximately 2.2% overall, from $40,118 in 2005 to $41,014.

Another surprise was the substantial leap in graduates reporting jobs outside of the library and information science (LIS) professions (up 43.7%). The number of LIS graduates participating in the annual placements and salaries survey increased by 12% for 2006. This year, 1,992 graduates submitted responses (approximately 37% of the estimated total graduates). The percentage of graduates reporting employment of any type has remained steady at 90.8% (totaling 1,809). Of these graduates, 89.9% reported placements in some type of library agency, down slightly from 92.9% in 2005, while those reporting placements outside of library agencies increased by 37.4%, continuing a trend from previous years.

However, fissures appeared in the job outlook owing to more grads in nonprofessional jobs, rising temp positions, more graduates taking multiple part-time positions, and a longer average job search.

Entry-level “gap??

Over the last several years there has been speculation that an entry-level gap exists—that there are more graduates than available entry-level jobs. This is a complex situation. Approximately 37% of the LIS graduate programs responding to the institutional questionnaire reported a rise in the number of available jobs, while 16% reported a decrease. None of the responding institutions reported difficulties in placing graduates. In fact, few LIS graduates commented that entry-level jobs were not available. Instead, the graduates' concerns reflected salary levels that were not competitive with other professions or the inability to find a job in their area that fit their interests and skills.

It may be useful to examine some of the other factors that impact job placement. For example, there are heavy concentrations of LIS schools in some regions of the United States—the Midwestern and Northeastern programs combined produce over 50% of the graduates, thus providing dense pools of job applicants. For geographically bound graduates this makes the job search more arduous since more graduates compete for the same positions. Another factor is the hiring process itself. Graduates frequently discuss taking civil service exams and undergoing background checks and security clearances that all add time and, perhaps, frustration to the job search. Employers also go through a lengthy process of contacting references and interviewing. There is no doubt that employers look for experience; it may behoove LIS programs to be more proactive in encouraging students to participate in fieldwork or internship activities and service learning projects and volunteer at library and information agencies.

Some ups, some downs

Despite some good news, there were disturbing trends. An increasing number of grads reported taking nonprofessional positions. While they make up less than 10% of the overall placements, nonprofessional positions increased by almost 37.5% between 2005 and 2006 after declining between 2003 and 2005. Nonprofessional positions most frequently included titles such as technical assistant, clerk, or customer service assistant, suggesting that LIS graduates are accepting jobs typically filled by support staff without graduate degrees in order to gain experience or simply to find a job, any job.

Serious salary decreases in the Southeast in 2006 reversed multiyear rises in the region. This may be owing to the greater response rate from graduates in the Southeast. Placements in public libraries increased by 42% compared with 2005, and public libraries there offer the lowest pay—an average of $34,496 annually. It was quite the opposite in the Southwest, where public library placements increased by 53.3% and salaries were up 13.6%.

Jobs as school media specialists have fallen by 6.6% from 2005. Interestingly, those who say they work in school libraries remains steady. This suggests that graduates in school media centers may be redefining their job titles or accepting other types of jobs in school media centers. Average annual salaries for school library spots have changed little, except in the Southeast and the West. In the Southeast, you're better off working in a school this year; despite overall salary drops there, school library salaries rose by 7.7% to $40,526. But in the West, average annual salaries for those jobs dropped 11.7% to $47,257.

On the up side, placements with public libraries, special libraries, and vendors experienced salary growth and more jobs. A rise in the number of placements (up about 24%) in public libraries across the United States and Canada was complemented by 6% salary growth (up $2,268 to $37,875). Special libraries saw a healthy 6.1% increase above 2005 salaries, from $41,779 to $44,494, though the number of jobs remained steady. These findings continue trends for both of these types of libraries.

Work with vendors has seen steady growth since 2003. The average salary in that sector jumped from $38,273 in 2003 to $46,799 in 2006, with an approximate 28.5% growth in placements. Between 2005 and 2006, vendor salaries in the Northeast popped a whopping 19.5%, from $40,843 to $50,738. Vendor jobs vary and include cataloging and classification, reference/information services, and instruction.

More compromises

Part-time placements decreased slightly, but, on the flip side, more graduates are cobbling together multiple part-time jobs to approximate a full-time salary (29.1% hold two or more part-time positions). Nearly half of part-time placements were in public libraries, followed by 22.6% in academic libraries. Reference work had the highest rate of part-time employment.

As seen last year, some grads deliberately chose to delay the job search and seek part-time employment, whether to meet family demands or to go after additional certifications. Yet others chose to stay in current jobs while waiting for full-time professional positions to open up.

Just over 10% of respondents identified their jobs as temporary professional, up from 8.5% in 2005. Temporary status, of course, implies that employment is likely to end after a contractual period has expired, i.e., there is no guarantee that a position will remain in a budget. Many graduates said that they continued to job search while in a temporary position. One reported that lack of experience hindered her attempts to find the right job, resulting in her moving through several temporary roles—two months here, three months there—until she felt she had what it took to land a permanent spot. Graduates also accepted unrelated temp positions while searching for the “perfect? job within the LIS profession.

Seamless for some

The job search was relatively seamless for many grads. Of the 1,809 graduates who reported employment, approximately 36.9% remained with a current employer while getting the master's. For some this meant promotion upon graduation, with respondents noting salary hikes from the high $20,000's as a nonprofessional employee to the low $40,000's with a new professional title (LTA to Librarian I, for example). Additionally, of the 1,117 graduates who shared stories about their job search, 46% found employment before graduation, a jump from previous years (25.2% in 2005; 23% in 2004; 30% in 2003). Several said that they started to job search a semester or two before graduation, and many familiarized themselves with the potential job market before beginning to look.

The types of jobs graduates reported fluctuated in 2006. For example, spots in reference/information service had been slowly decreasing over the last couple of years; however, in 2006, the percentage of these positions came closer to 2004 levels (22.9%), with 21.1% of the full-time professional jobs in reference/information service. Positions in adult services decreased by 35% from 2005 (50 positions reported in 2005; 37 reported in 2006), while positions in youth services (teen librarians, young adult librarians) increased (80 positions reported in 2005 compared to 60 in 2004). This reflects a growing trend in many public libraries to serve the young adult population with dedicated staffing.

The biggest leap occurred in information technology, which saw a 57.8% rise (from 30 reported positions in 2005 to 71 in 2006). Along with the increased number of positions, graduates reported an 8.8% increase in the average annual salaries for positions related to information technology, to $53,083. “Information technology? is a bit of a catch-all, but graduates reported exciting positions within the category, including information policy analysis, software engineering, and training specialist. While 57% of the information technology placements were in outside agencies, graduates found IT jobs in all types of libraries, including academic, public, special, and government facilities.

Looking to other types of jobs, acquisitions saw the best salary increase (up approximately 16.7% to $38,894), while circulation salaries experienced the worst drop (down 10.8% to $32,334). In fact, the broader areas of access services and technical services continue to raise concerns. Cataloging and circulation continue to be among the lowest paid of the professional and nonprofessional positions, falling well below the average starting salaries for all LIS graduates (at $35,976 and $32,334, respectively, approximately 20% less). As in previous survey analyses, location and professional/nonprofessional classification in these jobs do not seem to factor into salary, though it is beginning to appear that the type of organization may impact salaries for both. For example, salaries for catalogers in public libraries average $34,864, 5% below the average salary reported for all catalogers, and positions in circulation and interlibrary loan/document delivery follow suit.

Other positions that saw strong salary improvements include administration (up 12.27% to $43,303), which encompasses all levels from assistant department head to library director, and government documents (up from $33,600 to $38,743) at the state and federal levels.

Diversity in the profession

The number of graduates reporting minority status continued to decline— from 12% in 2005 to 10.7% in 2006. This despite increased numbers of overall respondents and more graduates reporting race and ethnicity than in previous years. Salaries also took a step back. The 2006 minority graduates reported an average annual salary of $40,750, a 3.5% decrease from a high of $42,233 in 2005. In 2006, there was less than 1% difference between the salaries obtained by minority graduates and overall salaries—a reversal of past patterns when reported salaries for this group were an average of 6% higher. Increased placements in the Southeast (up by approximately 32.6% from 2005), where salaries are among the lowest, may be the culprit.

On a positive note, minority grads in special libraries reported significant improvement in salaries. These salaries recovered from a drop in 2005, gaining $7,246 to reach an average of $49,500. The trend in salaries for minorities mirrors the overall trend in special libraries, whose salaries rose 6.1%. It is important to note that special library placements reported by minority graduates declined somewhat over the previous year.

Salaries for minorities took the largest hits in other agencies and school libraries, dipping approximately 17.5% from 2005 in other agencies; however, salaries there are still 9% above the overall annual averages. School library salaries had a less dramatic reversal at approximately 3.9%.

Location continues to matter for graduates reporting minority status. On a bright note, this group experienced salary gains in the Midwest, up 7.5% to $42,080. Following the pattern of the rest of the Southeast, salaries plummeted there by 8.8%. Canadian graduates reporting minority status had significantly higher salaries than all Canadian graduates, which may be owing to the increased number of individuals claiming minority status.

Public libraries (36.4%) and academic libraries (29%) continue to be popular choices for minority graduates, and each type has seen modest salary growth. Salaries in public libraries rose by $1,368 (3.6%) for graduates reporting minority status, while average starting salaries in academic libraries surged 5.6% to $41,942 (approximately 7.1% higher than the overall average).

Gender inequity remains

Comparing average starting salaries for women and men continues to be an exercise in frustration, but with some glimmers of hope. While women have seen positive improvement in salaries, finally topping $40,000, their salaries continue to lag approximately 6.5% behind salaries for men.

Proportionately, women comprise approximately 80% of the LIS work force. However, smaller percentages of women found jobs in academic (73.6% women) and special libraries (76.7% women) and with vendors (66% women) and other organizations (46% women). Three of these four workplaces offer the top starting salaries (other agencies, vendors, and special libraries). So, fewer women are finding positions in the higher paying organizations. This was especially noticeable in the other agencies, where women's starting salaries ($47,163) were 12.8% below those earned by their male counterparts ($53,178). The exception appeared in special libraries, where women ($45,606) have achieved salaries that are 17.8% higher than men ($37,482), as well as the average starting salary for all women (11.1% higher).

Despite the salary differentials, in 2006 men did not experience the stellar salary growth of the previous year. The average starting salary for men grew only 2.5% from 2005 compared to a 4.3% rise the year before. They experienced unexpected success in public libraries, where salaries rose by 4.7%.

Regional boom or bust?

This year's sleeper was the Southwest. With the inclusion of LIS programs that had not participated in the previous year and an increased number of respondents, salaries and placements showed health across library types. While placements across Texas were high, there were more in Colorado and Utah than have been reported in past years, making up a combined 17% of the total placements in the Southwest in 2006. Women in the Southwest experienced enormous salary growth, up 11.3% to $39,793; men's average annual salaries rose by 9.5% to $40,587. Similarly, salaries for jobs in public libraries, school libraries, and special libraries had spectacular jumps.

In special libraries, average annual salaries grew to $40,167 from $32,800 (approximately 18.3%). Even though the actual number of placements remains low, reported placements in special libraries more than doubled among the Southwest cohort. Another area contributing to the spectacular increases is “other organizations.? Much like special libraries, while the overall number remains small, placements increased by 51% from the previous year, and salaries went up over 7.1% to $46,221.

Salaries in the Southeast suffered (down 3.2%) while reported placements increased (up 25%). Public and academic libraries had remarkable improvements in the number of jobs reported (increases of 42.1% and 38.6%, respectively). More graduates reported jobs in school libraries in the region also, increasing approximately 35% from 2005. Possible explanations for the salary dip include the continued fallout from the hurricanes and floods that have ravished the Southern United States over the last couple of years, eliminating jobs and funding for public institutions and negatively impacting tax bases in areas where the general population has shifted.

Defining the “other?

Over the past few surveys, there has been a steady rise in the number of LIS graduates who reported placements in other types of agencies and positions outside of libraries, with a spike this year, as noted. Graduates reporting these “other? jobs have found work in nonprofit organizations and agencies other than libraries, in private industry, and elsewhere, including bioengineering and independent consulting. This has implications for salary levels for these types of agencies. The nonprofit sector has the lowest salaries (at $42,117) on the scale, while, not surprisingly, private industry has the highest (at $59,025). In a follow-up survey, those who reported employment outside of the LIS profession in other agencies said that even though they are not in traditional library jobs, they do make use of the skills and competencies gained with the degree. One graduate described himself as being employed in the computer science field but applying information science theories and information organization principles. Another related her research skills to her responsibilities as a business analyst. The general consensus was that their education is transferable and has made them more flexible and in high demand outside of more traditional library environments.

LS or IS

There has been an ongoing suspicion that there is a significant difference between salaries for those individuals who find jobs in information science compared with those whose jobs are defined as library science. The 2006 graduates were asked to explore how they define their positions in terms of either library science (LS) or information science (IS). Of the 1,551 graduates who responded to the question, approximately 72% stated that their jobs were clearly LS, 12% claimed IS, and the remaining 16% described their positions as falling into other professional areas, such as business or higher education. Perhaps more interesting, 74% of the graduates describing their positions as IS are women, refuting previous assumptions that more men were accepting IS jobs.

The IS positions ranged from knowledge management and usability testing to information consulting and digital services. However, many of the more traditional positions, such as reference/information services and cataloging, fell under the IS moniker as well. Perhaps this is a function of the individual LIS program's philosophies (being an “I? school or an “L? school) rather than a function of the job itself. It may also be a product of the type of agency in which a graduate is employed, though many IS graduates landed in traditional library settings.

More significant than job title is the impact an IS or LS designation had on salaries. The average annual starting salary for graduates who identified their jobs as IS was $48,413 compared to $39,580 for LS jobs (an 18.2% variance). Salary differences were even more apparent when comparing women to men. In 2006, women who reported salaries for IS-related jobs had an average annual starting salary of $46,118, while men received $55,423 on average.

Is the master's enough?

A random sample of LJ survey respondents were asked to participate in a very brief follow-up survey. Among the questions, they were asked to discuss the challenges they faced in finding their first professional LIS position. The most common issue reported was finding a job when they had only limited professional experience in libraries. Being in a profession with many career-changers (approximately 51% of graduates said LIS was not their first professional career), many LIS graduates bring unique and specialized skills on their résumés. However, despite extensive backgrounds in other fields, they had difficulty convincing employers that their lack of practical library experience would not inhibit their job performance. This might explain the increasing number of temporary professional positions that LIS graduates reported as a way to gain experience while seeking permanent professional employment. This challenge may also be seen in the length of the job search. Graduates agree that students need to make the most of every opportunity to volunteer in libraries and other information agencies as well as seek out fieldwork and internships that will provide additional experience.

Graduates were also asked to discuss what best prepared them for their first professional position. As in the past they concurred that networking with professionals in the field was key, as was active participation in professional organizations. Some found working as a graduate assistant in the LIS department or the university library invaluable for gaining contacts and experience. Graduates readily discussed the relationship of their coursework to their first jobs, e.g., taking sufficient children and YA literature classes allowed them to be versatile in serving their young constituents.

The 2006 graduates generally felt knowledgeable about the profession as a whole and the specific positions they sought. For example, one graduate who wanted to become a cataloger took every cataloging/classification and information organization class available to build a strong theoretical background and participated in supervised fieldwork, which allowed him to garner practical experience as well. Another graduate summed it up this way: “I found that employers expected you to understand what they want you to do, and the more you know, the better you'll look. In other words, research doesn't stop with the degree.?

One final challenge that several graduates discussed in the follow-up survey was related to location. Approximately 16% of the 2006 graduates indicated a move outside of their home region. As a group, graduates said that finding the ideal location, one where they were willing to move their families and where salaries were acceptable, was tricky. Searching for the right place was especially lengthy for graduates who wanted to move cross-country and for those seeking nonlibrary jobs (the elusive “other?) in nonmetropolitan areas.

Advice to future graduates

A final question on the follow-up survey—for advice they would give to future colleagues—elicited responses from the philosophical to the practical. But in general, graduates stressed a need to be able to “parlay? personal background into professional experience. They emphasized the need for experience in a library or information agency even if it's in the capacity of a volunteer or page. Additionally, they suggested polishing the professional persona before entering the job market. One advised, “Be sure your MySpace or other social networking web pages are what you want future employers to see. The first thing a department head does when she gets a résumé is google the person.? For those going the corporate route, another advised, “No visible tattoos! Before going to an interview with a reputable firm, take out the face piercings and nose rings. Dye your blue (purple, mauve, or green) hair something 'normal.' Invest in a professionally prepared résumé.? Such professionalism extends to attitude, as expressed in the final piece of practical advice the 2006 graduates issued: “Show your administration that your job is more than just a 'job,' that it is your career.?

Link to a continuation of the article that shows graphs of the survey results here.

Posted by kkowatch on October 19, 2007 at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)

Intenship Success Story - What I Learned

This past summer, I did an internship with Pure Visibility, an internet marketing company here in Ann Arbor. The work was exciting, challenging, and fulfilling. In a few short months, I gained new skills, and improved existing abilities in valuable areas. But equally important as the skill-benefits to me was the overall opportunity the experience provided for me to learn what my ideal work situation looks like.

When I started at Pure Visibility, they were in the middle of a busy season. I was literally thrown in to help where I could, and in the next couple months I completed numerous reports: some were SEO Recommendations, some case studies for large clients, some included Visitor Behavior Analysis. I gained experience in HTML development and took part in some client meetings. The experience itself was great for picking up new technical skills & know-how, but when it comes to the less tangible skills like writing, this was where the experience was invaluable. My mentor gave me detailed feedback, and took the time to talk over with me all the projects I worked on. My business writing improved with leaps and bounds as a result. In addition, because the company is so small (~10), I really got to see how projects evolved, often with multiple individuals working on separate components, to bring them together in the end. The work was never cut-and-dried; there were always diverse factors each with their own effect. By watching my mentor assess such situations, over time my own ability to analyze complex technical and qualitative situations improved dramatically. Now that's a skill I can bring to any employer!

As I mentioned, Pure Visibility is a fast-paced environment where time is never wasted. Neither is quality sacrificed, however. As a result, my time-budgeting skills got much sharper. The atmosphere is completely collaborative: it has to be to get the work done by deadlines. Despite being inclined to work alone, I began to see for the first time how in the right environment (one where innovation is welcomed, and everyone's standards high), even I could come to prefer collaboration. And then there were the little perks: the company moved during my time with them to a floor of an old bank on Main Street. The building is beautiful, and PV made it even more welcoming, painting bright colors, bringing in inviting furniture, and all-around creating an innovating, casual atmosphere.

I continue to work part time with Pure Visibility. Thanks to the summer internship, I will go in to my job search after graduating this year with firm knowledge of what I want in a job, including variety, innovation, a small company, and fulfilling work.

Posted by jhullman on October 17, 2007 at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

Employers @ SI Presentation Etiquette & Tips

This fall has been a busy time for SI Careers in terms of Employer Visits. Already, we've had Autodesk, Yahoo!, Chevron Corporation, and the American Theological Library Association. Many, many more are scheduled to come throughout the rest of October and November. Spring, I have a feeling, will be even more busy.

Since the majority of SI students are not business undergraduates, it's not a surprise that many of the MSI population are not familiar with the actions that you should take at an Employer Presentation in order to make you stand out and to network effectively. See below for tips on how to make the most of Employer Visits and Presentations at SI.

1. Ask questions. Its not uncommon for a visiting employer to ask if there are any questions after a presentation. Personally, I don't mind that there are often only a few questions after my workshops and presentations because I know that you can meet with me anytime you like with questions, but for an employer, its important that you show you are interested and want to learn more about what they have to say. Other than an interview, if you are lucky enough to get one, this is your only chance to ask those burning questions about your potential future employer. Plus, the person that asks intelligent and interested questions is the one that the employer remembers and will be more likely to slate for an interview or report back to the organization about.

Don't know what to ask? Think about the fact that you will spend more time at your job than you will awake at home. I think that that little fact should encourage you to ask questions about how and where you will be spending the majority of your time. See below for suggestions:

• What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
• Who are your main industry competitors?
• What are the company's strengths and weaknesses compared to its competition?
• How important does upper management consider the function of this department/position?
• What is the organization's plan for the next five years, and how does this department fit in?
• Could you explain your organizational structure?
• How will my leadership responsibilities and performance be measured? By whom?
• Could you describe your company's management style and the type of employee who fits well with it?
• What are some of the skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job?
• What is the company's policy on providing seminars, workshops, and training so employees can keep up their skills or acquire new ones?
• What particular computer equipment and software do you use?
• What kind of work can I expect to be doing the first year?
• What percentage of routine, detailed work will I encounter?
• How much opportunity is there to see the end result of my efforts?
• Who will review my performance? How often?
• How much guidance or assistance is made available to individuals in developing career goals?
• How much opportunity will I have for decision-making in my first assignment?
• Can you describe an ideal employee?
• What is your organization's policy on transfers to other cities?
• What is the recruitment schedule like?
• What sort of questions should I expect an in interview? What sort of skills or abilities will set me apart?
• What freedom would I have in determining my own work objectives, deadlines, and methods of measurement?
• What advancement opportunities are available for the person who is successful in this position, and within what time frame?
• In what ways has this organization been most successful in terms of products and services over the years?
• What significant changes do you foresee in the near future?
• How is one evaluated in this position?

Of course, your own original questions are the best, especially those that show you have done research on the company and demonstrate your sincere interest.

(Questions adapted from Career Services at Virginia Tech and Career Consulting Corner)

2. Turn your computer off. There is nothing more rude than showing up at an employer presentation and visibly (and audibly) typing and burying your nose in your laptop during a presentation. These employers often fly across the country to tell you about their employment opportunities, at great expense, and the least you can do is give them your full attention for an hour.

3. Attend the presentation. Even if the organization isn't recruiting for a position or function that you are interested in, if you are interested in working there, attend the presentation. Meeting with any recruiter or employer is the best way for you to get an "in" to the company. They may not need or specifically want you in their department, but they can go back to their colleagues that might be interested in your skills and tell them about you. It’s also a good way for you to learn some of the insider information about the organization or interviewing that you could not possibly get from any other source. And, you can get a business card to follow-up with and to request for a referral to someone that is in the department or area of your interest.

4. Research the organization. I think that the points that I stated above should give reason why this is important. Research helps you ask more intelligent and directed question, shows the recruiter or presenter that you have initiative, and it will give you a foundation to the information in the presentation so that all of the information that is provided isn't overwhelming. Research will help you make a more educated decision on whether or not the company is a good fit for you.

5. Lastly... don't let the presentation make or break your impression of the company. Sometimes, presenters aren't the best seller of their own company. Personally, I'm a bit mystified by the lack of presentation skills of presenting employers but still, it’s important to look beyond the recruiters' presentation abilities and see if the values, function, and career opportunities from this organization are ideal for you. Focus on the content and not the presenter, as they are often only one in several thousand employees! Luckily, this isn't usually the case, and often the representatives from the company that come to SI do a terrific job of selling their organization, which in the end, only makes it harder for you to make a decision!

If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact me. ~ Kelly

Posted by kkowatch on October 16, 2007 at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

Internship presentation

About the company
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is the largest rental car company in North America, who recently acquired National and Alamo. Now it owns over one million vehicles in the United States. The major business of Enterprise Rent-A-Car is car rental and used car sale. It’s ranked the top 10 “best place to launch a career? by BusinessWeek magazine.

What I have done…
I am doing an internship at Enterprise Rent-A-Car as a Usability Architect. My main responsibility during the summer is to design, prepare and present wireframes for a web-based car sale application. In addition, I have put up a series of files for design pattern library. The design pattern in the library is to facilitate the reuse of some popular design ideas.

What I have learnt
Design skill
The first thing I learnt about making wireframe is “as little color-coding as possible?. Since we are handing our design to the visual designer after they got approved by the business, if we have too many color-coding in the wireframe, the visual designer maybe constrained with their design. Secondly, I have learnt not to throw too many details in a wireframe, or the listeners might be distracted by the details rather than focusing on the design itself. One thing I really appreciate in Enterprise Rent-A-Car is that during our design process, we got feedbacks frequently. In business meeting, those who are the heavy users of the application will be walked through the design by us and give us feedbacks based on the walkthrough. We don’t need to wait until the application gets implemented to receive feedbacks from the users. Last but not least, I realize that giving multiple design options is a good idea. For one, the technical team won’t feel that they are forced to accept the idea we come up with. Instead, they are involved in the selection and design process. Additionally, it’s easier to sell the idea you favored since the others can see the difference and compare those alternative designs.

Soft skill
Know your audience. It means that when your audience is different, the words you use should be different. For example, you may use some phrases as “in the session level? in a technical meeting, while you should change the wording and use something like “before you log out of the system? in a business meeting where most of the audience are not that technical savvy.
Conversation outside the meeting room. Conversation inside the meeting room is important, but sometimes it’s the conversation happened outside the meeting room that play a more critical role. Before the design meeting, talk to the key persons in the team with your design idea. Make sure they understand why you design that way and obtain feedback from them about your design. By doing this, you can be assure that the key person in the meeting understand your design concept and when somebody question about the rationale of your design, you are not the only one in your side.
Sandwich principle. Since we are presenting our design to the software engineers who designed the previous version of this application, we sometimes feel that they are somewhat protective to their current design. That’s when Sandwich Principle comes to play. Be positive about the old design first. Phrase your sentence when you are presenting your new ideas in a sense of “improvement? rather than “replacement?. And end your presentation with some good words about the current design. I found that people are more open to your ideas when you present this way.

80/20 Rule. Identify those 20% of your design that would be use most frequently and fight for it. And make some compromise on the other 80% of your design when people say no to them. If you are fighting for every design you have, most probably you will end up winning nothing since people could not tell which one is important to you and to the users.

Posted by chanwei on October 15, 2007 at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

ASB Experience featured on the National Administration of Archives and Records Website!

Check out the 2007 Alternative Spring Break participants who worked at that National Administration of Archives and Records (NARA). NARA loves that UM-SI sends them students for spring break and as a result, they provide an excellent experience during spring break that has turned into an internship for more than one SI student! We're looking forward to sending more UM-SI students to NARA in 2008.

Posted by kkowatch on October 12, 2007 at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

SI Careers Site Visit: Enlighten

On this past Tuesday, Joanna and I visited Enlighten for a company visit in which we learned about their recruitment and employment opportunities for SI students and graduates.

Just in case you're unfamiliar with Enlighten, they are an Ann Arbor-based provider of internet services, in just about every fashion imaginable: Website Design and Development, Interactive Marketing and Branding, Broadband Applications, Interactive Customer Relationships, Integrated Product Launches, and eBusiness Optimization. For SI'ers, there's a function or job for just about everyone!

Speaking of SI'ers, while Joanna and I were at Enlighten, we really couldn't turn around without running in to an SI Alumnus. There are five MSI graduates at Enlighten that we got to chat with while we were there, and a couple other that either weren't present or had moved on to other professional experiences. Clearly, Enlighten values the skills and abilities that SI has to offer you.

We're expecting them to come to SI in the spring, so keep an eye out for information on their visit. They will be recruiting for internships and full-time positions. Note that they often hire full-time workers as contract workers and then later hire them on for full-time, professional employees. One skill that they said they are especially seeking is Flash, so if you've got it, they want it!

Just in case you're interested in working for a similar organization to Enlighten, you might want to also check out Campbell-Ewald, Fry Multimedia, Wunderman, and Digitas (who's visiting SI on Friday, October 26). Hoover’s also recommends Arc Worldwide, Avenue A | Razorfish, DraftFCB (visiting SI on Wednesday, October 31), Grizzard Communications, and Rapp Collins, among others, as competitors.

Posted by kkowatch on October 12, 2007 at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

Time Magazine Article: You Are Not My Friend

An interesting essay from one of my favorite columnists, Joel Stein. As usual, he has an original take on something -- this time it's a topic that I thought would be fun to share with you all.

You Are Not My Friend By JOEL STEIN

In the pre-internet days, neither of us would have even thought of calling each other friends. We'd have called ourselves friends of friends who met once and yet, for some reason, kept sending each other grammatically challenged, inappropriately flirty letters with photos of ourselves attached. Police might have gotten involved.

But now we're definitively friends, having taken a public vow of friendship on friend-based websites, wearing metaphorical friendship bracelets on the earnest Facebook, the punky MySpace, the careerist LinkedIn and the suddenly very Asian Friendster. As if that wasn't enough friendship for you, some of you have also asked me to be friends on the nerdy Twitter, the dorky-élitist Doostang and the Eurotrashy hi5. You message me and comment about me and write on my walls and dedicate songs to me and invite me to join groups. More than once you have taken it upon yourself to poke me.

This is hard to say to a friend, but our relationship is starting to take up too much of my time. It's weird that I know more about you than I do about actual friends I hang out with in person--whom I propose we distinguish by calling "non-metafriends." In fact, I know more about you than I know about myself. I have no idea what my favorite movie or song or TV show is. Last I checked, they all involved Muppets.

Also, you're a bit aggressive in our friendship. Would a non-metafriend call me up and say, "Hey! Guess what? I have a bunch of new pictures of me"? Or tell me he'd colored in a map of all the places he'd ever been? Or inform me, as Michael Hirschorn did in his Facebook status update, that he "is not making decisions; he's making surprises"? It's as if I suddenly met a new group of people who were all in the special classes.

The horror is, I can't opt out. Just as I can't stop making money or my non-metafriends will have more stuff than I do, I can't stop running up my tally of MySpace friends or I'll look like a loser. Just as money made wealth quantifiable, social networks have provided a metric for popularity. We all, oddly, slot in at a specific ranking somewhere below Dane Cook.

I'm sure social networks serve many important functions that improve our lives, like reconnecting us with old friends and finding out if people we used to date are still good-looking. And social networks all have messaging functions, which would be an excellent way to send information if no one had invented e-mail.

But really, these sites aren't about connecting and reconnecting. They're a platform for self-branding. Old people are always worrying that our blogging and personal websites and MySpace profiles are taking away our privacy, but they clearly don't understand the word privacy. We're not sharing things we don't want other people to know. We're showing you our best posed, retouched photos. We're listing the Pynchon books we want you to think we've read all the way through. We're allowing other people to write whatever they want about us on our walls, unless we don't like it, in which case we just erase it. If we had that much privacy in real life, the bathrooms at that Minnesota airport would be empty.

And like the abrasively direct ads for tinctures and cleaning products at the beginning of the advertising age, our self-branding is none too subtle. We are a blunt lot, in our bikinis and our demands that our friends go right now to check out our blog postings. We've gone 40 years back, to sales tactics predating irony, self-deprecation and actual modesty. We are, as a social network, all so awesome that we will soon not be able to type the number 1, because we will have worn out the exclamation point that shares its key.

Until we can build some kind of social network where we can present our true, flawed selves--perhaps some genius can invent something that takes place in a house over dinner with wine--I say we strip down our online communities to just the important parts. With enough venture funding--by which I mean the volunteer services of a dude who knows how to build a website--I hope to launch TrueSocialStatus.com on which users are allowed to submit only their name, their occupation, a photo, the square footage of their home and a list of any celebrities they happen to know. Then other people can vote, on a scale of 1 to 100, on how awesome they are. At the end of the year, the ones with the most points are made homecoming king and queen, which, if I remember correctly, should immediately send their scores plummeting. If nothing else, it should finally rid us of Tila Tequila.

Posted by kkowatch on October 12, 2007 at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)

Part 1 - internship series (Columbia River Gorge Commission)

This is Part 1 of my series. If you attended my brief presentation for SI@Work last week you will have seen my slides and my portfolio online. Here they are for reference: Slideshare.net - SI Internships.

I began my first semester at SI trying to uncover the true reasons of why I came back to school and then trying to figure out how those fit into the structure of school and more importantly, the life of an "information professional." While I realize we all at SI have an obligation to help the world come to terms with the meaning of "information professional," I'll spare the masses for now. Plain and simple, I wanted a new direction and I knew that it was going to have something to do with helping the public.

I joined the CiC seminar and student group to gain more exposure to organizations that cared about information services, resources, and access, and were helping communities and society in new ways. These ranged from foundations like Kellogg and Hewlett to nonprofits like NPower and the Acumen Fund to social enterprises like Google.org to businesses like Xigi.net and the Global Business Network. It was exciting to learn how so many different organizations were attacking similar problems together (often in collaboration) but from different angles. I searched all over the internet, scouring links to see what I might find. Coming from Dutch descendants, I was considering work in the Netherlands. As luck had it, Professor Paul Resnick introduced me to a man near Amsterdam that was working on a startup for hosting public podcasting. After a number of conversations and an offer to leave school early to build a proof of concept, I declined and went another direction. The last two months of my second semester meant more to me than the potentially exciting and frustrating work of lifting a startup off the ground. I pressed on.

I ended up finding another opportunity through a fellow classmate who had been through a program in Portland, OR the previous summer. He urged me to apply and I did. I applied to the internship program through Portland State University's Hatfield School of Government.

After being accepted into both their Sustainability Corps and eGov programs, I began my first of several conversations with the program director, George Beard. Over the month of April, George worked through my interests with me, brought numerous internship offers to the table, and eventually sold me on the program. He set me up with a regional governing body between Washington and Oregon called the Columbia River Gorge Commission. After a couple of discussions with their director, Jill Arens, I decided it was a great offer and I should take the opportunity to work and live in such a fantastic setting. My internship turned out to be a mix of three PSU programs: Oregon Performance Intern, Sustainability, and eGov. It sounded perfect for an SI student.

In Part 2 of this series I'll weigh in on perfection in an internship and how that just doesn't happen. Stay tuned-

Posted by pkleymee on October 10, 2007 at 10:41 PM | Comments (0)

MSU Knows "Why a CIO May Soon Be At the Helm of Your Company"

If you've done a good job of keeping your records up to date at your undergraduate alma mater, you should probably receive at least one publication about what all of your fellow alumnus are up to. I received a Broad Business Magazine from my alma mater, Michigan State University's Eli Broad College of Business (BA in Policy in Applied Economics, for anyone that is curious!) and it had a terrific article entitled, "Why a CIO May Soon Be At the Helm of Your Company" that I wanted to share with you all. In this article, they identify seven major Chief Information Officer (CIO) roles that could be categorized in two categories: the traditional Infrastructure Management and Soft Skills-Oriented Management. The soft-skills roles include the utilization of good foresight, communication, teamwork and leadership.

Four different roles were identified:
1. Integrator: CIOs lead the enterprisewise digitization and integration of processes, information and decision support so that the firm can effectively leverage enterprise information technologies (e.g., CRM, business intelligence).
2. Organizational Architect: CIOs develop an organizational model that is appropriate for their firm’s priorities and expectations about IT management.
3. Relationship Architect: CIOs form collaborative networks inside the enterprise to help synchronize business and IT management initiatives. At the same time, CIOs develop sourcing networks through vendor relationship management. They use these relationships to go beyond access to cost-effective IT applications and services, to help firms gain access to valuable new IT skills and knowledge.
4. Business Strategist: CIOs act as innovation catalysts and work with their business peers in discovering opportunities for leveraging IT in innovative business models, customer relationships and the pursuit of agility.

Tradition CIO roles include utility provisions, educator, or information steward.

I thought that it was good news to see that the rest of the world is recognizing that the role of information is soon going to be the shaping factor in many organizations, even over that of the responsibilities related to that of the traditional executive officer. This article may help you to see and shape your future career path so that it can ultimately lead you to one of these positions -- or something even more innovative that will evolve in the coming years.

The article can accessed here, or you can read the full text below in the extended entry.

Why a CIO may soon be at the helm of your company
by Vallabh Sambamurthy, Eli Broad Professor of Information Technology, Accounting and Information Systems Department, Eli Broad College of Business

Vallabh Sambamurthy, Eli Broad Professor of Information Technology, Accounting and Information Systems Department, and his colleague, Ritu Agarwal, University of Maryland, published “A Roadmap for Effective CIOs? in the December 2006 issue of Information Week’s monthly magazine Optimize.

Sambamurthy is also the executive director of the Center for Leadership of the Digital Enterprise (CLODE) at the Broad School, an intellectual infrastructure of research projects, databases and case studies that focus on the strategic needs of an innovative corporation. He recently was invited to be a panelist on the topic of “Collaborate to Innovate? at the prestigious INFOCOM conference in Calcutta, India, recognizing his work in bringing academia and IT industry leaders together to promote research projects. You can probably remember when a chief information officer (CIO) was the person in your organization who ultimately made sure the company’s computer network was up and running, and that you and your coworkers could rely on that system to consistently perform key business processes. In itself, maintaining — and continuously upgrading — costeffective, efficient technologies for large, complex enterprises is no small challenge. But today’s CIOs are becoming much more integral to the success of their organizations and will be expected to take on increasingly visible and demanding leadership roles in the near future.

We know this from the research we have conducted over the last five years into the emerging roles of CIOs: Surveys, case studies and our observations of model “digital? organizations all indicate that significant transformations are taking place.

From facilitator to leader
In a recent article published in a practitioner journal with my colleague Ritu Agarwal from the University of Maryland, we identified seven major CIO roles that could be categorized in two ways. In the first category are the standardized functions of utility provider (think infrastructure), educator and information steward. These are familiar roles and they will continue to be important to organizations. The second category of roles is the newer, more visible roles that are emerging. These roles may require an entirely new skill set, sometimes referred to as “soft skills,? including good foresight, communication, teamwork and leadership. In this category, we observed four different roles:

Integrator: CIOs lead the enterprisewise digitization and integration of processes, information and decisionsupport so that the firm can effectively leverage enterprise information technologies (e.g., CRM, business intelligence).
Organizational architect: CIOs develop an organizational model that is appropriate for their firm’s priorities and expectations about IT management.
Relationship architect: CIOs form collaborative networks inside the enterprise to help synchronize business and IT management initiatives. At the same time, CIOs develop sourcing networks through vendor relationship management. They use these relationships to go beyond access to cost-effective IT applications and services, to help firms gain access to valuable new IT skills and knowledge.
Business Strategist: CIOs act as innovation catalysts and work with their business peers in discovering opportunities for leveraging IT in innovative business models, customer relationships and the pursuit of agility.

Our research shows that while most CIOs were uniformly effective in the first category roles (utility provider, information steward and educator), there were striking differences in how well they performed in the second category roles (integrator, organizational architect, relationship architect and business strategist).

CIO with a CEO perspective
Given that the leadership imperative for CIOs is one of assuming a transformational leadership mantle as opposed to being a transactional leader, the current weakness in soft skills is a serious gap in the profession going forward. Many organizations, recognizing this, are investing significant resources in helping to build stronger leadership capability in their CIOs.

Firms need CIOs that:

Understand the business in the same manner as the CEO, and are able to assume profit and loss responsibility. The good news is that CIOs are already in a unique position to understand the drivers of operational excellence in their firms.
Exhibit leadership not only in IT management, but also in persuading, negotiating and driving business change. This involves envisioning new business innovation opportunities, convincing and energizing executive peers about their perspective and negotiating resources to implement the vision.
Can be the face of the organization to customers and other business partners and are able to carefully craft, manage and nurture these extended organizational relationships over time.
To be effective in these roles, CIOs will need to balance their IT knowledge with strategic business knowledge, and they must have strong interpersonal communication skills along with political acumen. They must develop rich professional networks both with key business executives as well as with CIOs of peer companies and the senior executives of key IT vendor and services companies.

But the competitive landscape won’t allow CIOs, future CIOs and their firms to gradually evolve the skills they need. Instead, those of us in business schools are equally challenged to support the development of today’s information systems managers into CIOs, as well as prepare tomorrow’s CIOs from current students.

Preparing CIOs
For business schools, our findings about the emerging roles of the CIO have significant implications. The CIO position is as important an organizational position as other C-level positions. Successful CIOs are likely to emerge from the business ranks of their firm as long as they are savvy about the use of information technology in the business process and strategy. Therefore, educational programs that emphasize the integration of business processes and information technologies are needed. We also need to help develop an appreciation of the business value of IT and along with this, governance structures and processes for IT are needed.

Ideally, business school students who have a strong understanding of key business processes and the strategic role of IT will be better prepared for a CIO career path in the future. Executive education programs are needed that provide opportunities for information systems professionals to develop strategic foresight and business insight as well as leadership, communication and influence skills.

At the Broad School, there are several initiatives and capabilities in place to facilitate the emergence of the nextgeneration CIOs. Historically, we have strong programs in teamwork (including the Team Effectiveness Teaching Lab), negotiation, influence and leadership.

Additionally, the Center for Leadership of the Digital Enterprise (CLODE) partners with CIOs and other senior business leaders in collaborative research on issues of importance to CIOs and their peers. Finally, we are launching weeklong executive education programs (“Converging Business and Technology Management?) in collaboration with the BTM Corporation to provide IT leadership perspectives to information systems professionals and business executives. Such programs will be vital to the nurturing of next-generation CIO leaders.

Posted by kkowatch on October 01, 2007 at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)