Freshly Minted: Erickson Anupol
May 1, 2019
Records Management Coordinator, Loblaw Companies Limited
Who are you and what do you do?
Name: Erickson Anupol
I am a full time Records Management Coordinator at Loblaw Companies Limited.
What was it that initially drove you to librarianship?
Initially, it was a trip to the New York Public Library inspired me to pursue librarianship. But it was my interest in the arts and culture, which I got to develop during my undergraduate studies at University of Toronto – Mississauga, when I realized that I love being surrounded by people driven towards learning and growth. When doing my research for graduate school programs, I stumbled upon the MLIS program and thought that a career in librarianship was the right path for me. I was able to combine many of my interests and passions in order to work towards community building, outreach and programming.
Where did you complete your MLIS? When did you start your first professional librarian position? How long did the job search take and how did you prepare yourself for it?
I studied at the University of Western Ontario. I started as a Branch Supervisor in Markham in May of 2018. For the first few months, I was commuting to Markham from London once every two weeks for my shift because I was still in school.
After finishing the program, I moved back to Mississauga and started my first full-time job as an information professional on October 2018 at Loblaw. It took me about two months after graduation to get the position of Records Management Coordinator.
When I was applying for the position, I had contacted a Western alumna who was working with the Loblaw Records Management department at the time. She gave me some valuable insight into the company’s mission and culture as well as an overview of the position itself. I also had some of my fellow MLIS classmates edit my CV and cover letter before I submitted the application. I prepared for the interview by practicing interview questions and doing a thorough research on the company.
How did you do your job search? What were some of the things that worked and didn’t? What was the greatest challenge?
I kept in touch with many of my classmates even after graduation. I think it is important to stay connected to a community of librarians–or emerging library professionals, in my case–because it was easy to share news, job postings, interview tips etc. I also used online job search engines like Indeed. We also looked into websites of specific libraries (ie. Toronto Public Library). The UofT iSchool job board was also a great search engine for jobs in information and library sciences.
Staying connected to old professors also proved to be very useful because several of my professors acted as my references. As well, you can gain a lot of insight from your faculty advisors and instructors about the library profession because there are many types of professions within information sciences.
I thought that the greatest challenge was staying positive and motivated during the job hunt. Several of my classmates secured full-time positions before me and it was very easy to get disheartened after receiving rejection emails. I’ve learned that everyone works at their own pace and that I should not compare myself with others. Rather, being proactive, determined, and positive is what will prove to be beneficial in the long run–professionally and personally.
Is your work as a professional what you expected and prepared yourself for while you were in the MLIS program? Otherwise, what would you have done differently if you knew?
The MLIS program at Western is excellent. Not only has It has prepared me to work well with others as a team; it has also given me the confidence to present ideas and information to colleagues and customers. The program has greatly improved my initiative, leadership skills and communication abilities.
With that being said, the full-time professional life will always be different from school. Because I work for such a large company, there are many different departments and many different roles within Loblaw. Getting familiar with the company (simply by going through the company website or reading articles online) before I was offered the job prepared me well. Once I was hired, I made sure that I was interacting with people from all departments (not just Records Management).
The skills that I gained at Western definitely helped me feel more confident about meeting and working with people from a variety of different professions inside Loblaw.
How do you stay current in your field?
I stay current in my field by being open and educated about technology. Records, archives and libraries may seem like a thing of the past but that is a popular misconception. Keeping up with new tech-savvy information management systems, archival methods, building original and community-oriented library programming is the way the profession stays current.
What do you think is the most important aspect of being an information professional today?
Making sure that the information is easily and equally accessible to diverse groups of people.
Any advice for the many MLIS students who will be soon graduating and looking for their first professional position?
Keep in touch with the Western alumni! (That includes program advisors and professors).
Don’t get discouraged–stay positive. Attend workshops on writing resumes and cover letters. Get them edited by your friends or classmates once you’ve written them (offer to do the same as well).
Volunteer in the field (libraries, museums, archives and records departments) as much as you can while in school. It is a great way to meet people already in the profession and looks great on your resume.
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