The next alumni in our Interview with a Professional series is the iSchool’s own Director of Career Development, Beth Hallmark, who joined the iSchool staff six months ago. Prior to Beth’s return to the iSchool, she worked in many different fields after receiving her MSIS degree.
What are your job responsibilities?
Encouraging, inspiring, and connecting iSchool students and alums to ensure career success and satisfaction! A career is more than a job, it’s a calling. My role is to champion and advocate for our students and graduates, and help people discover their own greatness.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Working one-on-one with so many talented, bright, and interesting people. I love seeing our students and alums out there changing the world one career at a time.
What have you learned from your job?
Everyone has a unique story and purpose. It’s my job simply to help others discover this about themselves.
What skills, knowledge, or experience would a student need to excel in a similar position?
Love for the information field, empathy, communications expertise, and a genuine interest in empowering others.
What iSchool courses were most helpful to developing the skills for your job?
Every course at the iSchool added value to my career! I also encourage finding other ways to connect, such as through special projects and student organizations. Learning happens in many ways.
What are some other resources outside of school that you would recommend to students or have used yourself to develop skills?
Volunteering for non-profit organizations and causes you care about can be a powerful way to gain new skills and knowledge, as well as network with like-minded professionals.
What are some ways that students could begin networking in the information profession?
Plug in to student organizations, attend iSchool networking events, do informational interviews, raise your hand to volunteer, work with faculty whose research interests you, and go outside your comfort zone to attend meet-ups and other events that will connect you with your future professional peers.
What advice do you have for students in regard to careers as well as making the most out of their time at the iSchool?
Dream big armed with a clear plan. Don’t wait to start researching the kind of job you plan to seek after graduation so you can be intentional about every decision you make in school with regard to classes, internships, projects, and networking. Talk to professionals working in your area of interest. Be focused, but also open to where the program naturally takes you. Wear your career hat from day one. Learn to shape and tell your unique story about your skills, talents, and know-how.
Why do you think it’s important to invest your time and expertise into future information professionals’ education through teaching, training, or mentoring?
I’ve been blessed in my life to have several life-changing mentors who helped me grow and thrive professionally. It’s an honor to help pay it forward by empowering others. Never in the known history of humankind have we had more access to more information than today. The world needs information professionals more than ever before, and I believe supporting this profession is of the utmost importance.
What did you do before attending the iSchool?
I’ve had a rewarding career as a hiring manager/director in marketing, communications, web development, public relations, and government relations in addition to my experience at the iSchool.
If you had a different career before coming to the iSchool and have transitioned into a new career, what advice do you have for iSchool students looking to do the same?
Own your narrative and do the work to connect the dots to show how your education further amplifies your value.
Thank you for the insights into your time as an MSIS student and your career, Beth! Be sure to make an appointment to talk to Beth if you need career guidance or help with resumes, cover letters, or anything.