CILIP New Professionals Conference 2016

On Friday 28 October 2016 our Communications Officer Rebecca attended the CILIP New Professionals Conference in London.


The bustling conference commenced with a brief introduction to the day presented by Luke Stephens-Burt, (@LukeSB81), CILIP Head of Member Services. Luke outlined the evolution of information sharing from Palaeolithic wall paintings to electronic networks. In an age of information abundance, the requirement for professional expertise is heightened and Luke listed the following attributes as vital for career success:

  • Excellent communicator able to adapt ‘voice’ to suit situation/ addressee(s)
  • Project and change managers/ leaders
  • Individuals who present solutions not problems
  • Passion and energy

Nicholas Poole, (@NickPoole1) CILIP Chief-Executive gave the welcome address which placed emphasis throughout on building a professional network from the outset of your career. We are presently in the early days of a ‘revolution’ which will involve significant upheaval and consequently offer exciting opportunities. Nick described the profession as undergoing a state of transition, learning and discovery in response to wider socio-cultural, political and technological changes. The Information Professional is advised to ‘not just respond to change’ rather ‘welcome, drive and benefit from it.’ Those about to set out on their career paths are likely to flit between a growing variety of sectors developing a set of transferable skills and values along the way. Urged to take our career seriously, Nick offered the following tips:

  • Know yourself- have a career plan & be clear on your ethics
  • Invest in your CPD – do not be deterred by budget cuts.
  • Build your network and get involved
  • Solve problems
  • Help those around you to understand/ benefit from your skills
  • Keep moving

CILIP have set out their Action Plan for the next four years, a document designed to be vibrant, confident, future-facing and inclusive. View it here.

Workshop 1: Tricky Interview Questions

Tracey South and Jayne Winch from CB Resourcing (@CB_Resourcing) provided the group with a set of questions for comment. Three types of question were explored: Competency Based, Informational or Direct and Critical Thinking. The first invites interview candidates to give an example of past performance and can be answered using the STAR (Situation- Task- Action- Result) technique. The advised response for direct/ informational questions is to provide a succinct answer. Finally, critical thinking questions are designed to prompt the candidate to think on their feet and demonstrate rational thinking.

Workshop 2: Professional Confidence: addressing individual and collective Imposter Syndrome

Ellie O’Brian (@ellyob) explored the impact of pseudo-scientific Imposter Syndrome and why it permeates the profession. Self-diagnosis can lead to low confidence, Ellie advised the following:

See Ellie’s blogpost at

Presentation: Voyage around the VLE

Jo Cornish (@jocornish4), CILIP Development Officer navigated the CILIP virtual learning environment which is mapped around the PKSB and requires a login to access.


  • Impact Toolkit
  • Careers Hub (just launched!)
  • Professional Registration
  • Resources to support the PKSB, i.e. extracts from respected Facet publications
  • Coming Soon: LIRG tutorial, Nov 2016. Guidance on how to plan and conduct research, issues, activities, readings and videos.

LIRG Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award 2016

Presented to Leo Appleton from the University of the Arts. In his acceptance speech Leo described himself as “Always curious”.

Workshop 3: Making the Most of a Year

Sarah Hume (@SarahFHume) discussed her experience of fixed-term contracts as a way into the profession. Though temporary contracts (i.e. maternity cover) can bring uncertainty, the market is less competitive, roles allow individuals to upskill quickly and change offers variety. Some library recruitment channels include:


Workshop 4: Embedding Teams to Support Knowledge Management

Mairead Smith works at the Ministry of Defence where a recent restructure overhauled Knowledge and Information Management. To secure success, Mairead communicated a clear structure in compliance with law and policy that comprised of clear job specifications and reporting lines. New Professionals managing a change are advised to:

  • Assess requirements
  • Be enthusiastic
  • Get senior staff buy –in
  • Ignite interest in your business area, i.e. workshops, webinars, posters, 5 minute tips

Vacancies are advertised on the Civil Services website at

Summary and Close

Luke Stephens-Burt closed the conference in summarising the tools to help new professionals build a career.

  • Yourself- be ambitious yet honest
  • The world wide web
  • Professional networks and member networks
  • Careers Advisers, CV/ Interview advice and the CILIP VLE Careers Hub
  • PKSB- a self-assessment tool that can be referred to multiple times
  • Qualifications and professional registration

Luke also reiterated the importance of having a career plan that considers promotions, transfers, cross-sector moves and reflective practice through annual assessment.

Overall, the conference offered a valuable insight into the profession; it’s current priorities and trajectory. Workshops provided helpful guidance on career progression and an opportunity to converse with students or recently qualified professionals from across the country.

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