Here is this week’s installment of the Library School Career Center feature, which is presented in partnership with the folks from the blog Hack Library School. If you’re interested in library education, or in new ideas and the future of the profession, you should check it out. I’m particularly interested in this one because SJSU is my alma mater, and I know first hand that our career center is an excellent resource.
This interview is with Jill Klees, Career Consultant/Employment Specialist in the Career Center at San Jose State University. Jill has worked in the career coaching field for over 15 years in both academic and corporate environments. She directly supports the School of Library & Information Science as well as the College of Engineering and Department of Computer Science. Jill is highly skilled in resume writing and helping her clients determine their unique talents and strengths. She holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University and a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Behavioral from the University of San Francisco. Previous to her role at SJSU, Jill gained extensive experience working in start-up, non-profit and technology-based industries providing career-related resources within the Silicon Valley marketplace. As you might expect, SJSU SLIS’ extensive library-specific Career Development Resources are available online.
Career Center Information
Who staffs the career center? Please talk a little about how it is managed and run.
Our School, in collaboration with the San Jose State University Career Center, develops and manages career resources and services for our graduate students, alumni, and the Library and Information Science (LIS) community. Career Counselor Jill Klees is our School’s Career Center liaison, and she works closely with SJSU SLIS faculty member Jane Fisher in developing career resources that are customized to the library and information science field.
We have an entire section of our website (http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/career-development) that is dedicated to career development. Students can access tools to help them pinpoint their career direction. They can view resume and cover letter directions and samples. They can get tips for conducting a successful job search, including how to use social media in their job search. They can learn how to create a career e-portfolio for sharing with future employers. The website has a wealth of valuable information about careers, and all the career resources are freely available to the public.
Our students also have access to SpartaJobs, which is an active list of job openings. They can contact us for individualized career guidance, such as resume and cover letter assistance. We meet with students – typically this is done virtually – to provide career guidance as well as very specific suggestions for improving resumes and tailoring cover letters.
We also send a monthly e-newsletter to students and alumni that includes job search tips, hot jobs, and career resources. Employers contact our Career Center looking for information professionals to fill open positions. We include these exciting job opportunities in the newsletter – sometimes they haven’t yet been advertised to the public.
We facilitate virtual career development workshops on a variety of career topics, and we offer bi-monthly virtual Career Colloquia featuring industry professionals who share tips, resources, and ideas for employment in the LIS field. For example, we recently, produced an employer meet-and-greet that featured the hiring managers at Credo Reference. Students were able to ask questions and learn what this employer, in particular, looks for in applicants. All workshops and colloquia are held online via web conferencing, allowing for real-time interaction. They are also recorded and available on-demand as webcasts and podcasts. Our Career Colloquia are open to the public for free.
Are there “career experts” on staff? What are their credentials?
Yes, both Jill Klees and Jane Fisher have a solid background in career development.
Jill is a career expert with over 15 years of experience in the career development field. She has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and is certified to administer numerous career assessment tools.
Jane has worked in the LIS field for more than 30 years. She has been a part of the industry as it has evolved, giving her a unique perspective on how to be successful in the field and conduct a job search.
Does the career center provide any of the following:
√ Job Listings – Job listing sites and other job search resources are freely available on our School’s website. These resources are open to everyone. Students also have access to SpartaJobs, the San Jose State University campus job and internship database.
√ Resume/CV Review, writing cover letters – The SLIS Career Development website has information and examples for effective resumes, CVs and cover letters. Both Jill Klees and Jane Fisher are available to critique final draft versions of each of these documents and provide detailed feedback to students.
√ Literature/articles – Yes, the SLIS Career Development website provides links to many relevant articles, job sites, blog posts, and journals.
√ Interview Practice – Interviewing tips and strategies, including practice questions, are available on the SLIS Career Development website. There is also a link to an online mock interviewing tool free to SJSU students called Perfect Interview where students can record themselves practicing an interview. Jill Klees also offers mock phone interview practice as part of her services for SLIS students.
√ Networking events (virtual or in-person) – Our School understands the critical role networking plays in career development. We provide numerous opportunities for networking:
Student chapters: All new MLIS students receive a complimentary one-year membership in their preferred professional association, including the American Library Association, Special Libraries Association, American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T), and ARMA International. Students also benefit from the opportunity to participate in our School’s active professional association student chapters. Students interact with their peers and professional leaders through virtual networking events, workshops, and conferences, as well as blogs and online discussion forums. Our student chapters have won numerous awards recognizing their excellence and their innovative approach to serving online students, including the 2009 and 2010 ALA and the 2012 ASIS&T Student Chapter of the Year. Current SLIS students can also join the combined student and alumni group, SLISConnect.
Professional Conferences: SJSU SLIS participates in professional conferences and meetings held all over the U.S., Canada, and internationally. We host networking receptions at many conferences, and our students and alumni are always welcomed. It’s a great way to reconnect with colleagues and make new contacts. A list of upcoming conferences we plan to participate in can be found on our website.
Internships: Student interns gain real-world experience for building their resumes and make new contacts with potential future employers. SJSU SLIS students have the option to complete an on-site internship located near their home. Or they can complete a virtual internship, where they interact with a host organization that may be located nearby or across the continent. Our expansive internship program gives students the opportunity to engage in exciting learning opportunities that fit their career aspirations, regardless of where they live. We offer more than 200 virtual and physical internship opportunities each semester.
Career Colloquia: Our Career Colloquia feature guest speakers, who include information professionals and hiring managers from a variety of professional settings. They discuss their work, the skills and experiences required to pursue a similar career pathway, and recruitment opportunities. If students have questions, they are often able to contact speakers directly by email and phone.
Student Assistantships: Many SLIS students work as student assistants, helping SJSU SLIS faculty and staff while gaining hands-on experience with research and professional projects. Student assistantship opportunities vary each semester. Student assistantships are paid part-time positions.
Do you provide in-person services?
√ Appointments – In-person appointments are available. Since our School is 100% online, most appointments are conducted via email, web conferencing, phone, and instant message. If students or alumni live close to campus, they can choose an in-person, on-campus appointment.
√ Speakers, or programs that present experts –Our Career Colloquia series is held fully online, and all sessions are recorded and made available on the SLIS website.
√ Mixers or other networking events- Many of our student chapters host in-person social gatherings/mixers and set up tours of their local libraries. Our School also hosts networking receptions at professional conferences where current students can mingle with alumni, faculty, and friends of SLIS.
√ Drop-in career center - Jill Klees is available for drop-in consulting for students who are close to the San Jose campus and the SJSU Career Center.
Do you provide online services?
SJSU SLIS offers a wealth of online career development resources and services. These resources include self-assessment quizzes to help you pinpoint your career direction, résumé workshops, job search tips and strategies, job listings, and career guidance. All of our career resources are freely available 24/7 on our website: http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/career-development
√ Website with resources – updated regularly
√ Blog – new posts once month
√ Webinars – monthly Career Colloquia and Career Workshops
√ Podcasts – Career Colloquia are made available as podcasts and webcasts for access after the live program.
√ Twitter – We live tweet during our Career Colloquia. We also share career-related article links and job search tips.
√ LinkedIn – We post upcoming SJSU SLIS career events to LinkedIn library and information science discussion groups such as LIS Career Options, Job Skills for Future Librarians, and Librarianship Job Search.
√ Facebook – We share career-related article links and job search tips on our SJSU SLIS Facebook page.
√ Newsletter – emailed monthly to all students.
√ Other – We have a board on Pinterest dedicated to careers. Follow our “Explore Career Paths” board.
What do you think is the best way for students to use the career center?
We recommend that students use our career development resources and services “early and often”. By that we mean that students should think about and focus on their professional career paths throughout their time in our graduate program. Don’t wait until you are graduating. Begin in your first semester by exploring the career development site, and using the tools to help determine how your course choices can help you pursue your future career ambitions. Learn how to conduct informational interviews and to network while you are in school. Take advantage of opportunities to increase your understanding of traditional and non-traditional work settings where you can use skills learned at SLIS. We encourage students to use the resources and to contact us if they need help, have questions, or just want to learn more about the possible career paths open to SLIS graduates. We want students to be successful!
May alumni use career center resources?
Alumni may freely use all of the resources publicly available on the website and participate in all Career Colloquia. SJSU SLIS is also offering one-year free paid memberships in the SJSU Career Center for all graduating students.
Are there any charges for services?
The SLIS Career Development resources, all Career Colloquia, and recordings of career workshops are freely available on the website. The SpartaJobs database and individual career consulting and materials review is free to current SLIS students.
Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using the career center?
We receive emails from students who credit our career resources for helping them land professional jobs. Our students are also very enthusiastic about our career development web pages. Here are a few quotes from students:
- “This site is so incredible!”
- “This is by far one of the best, if not the best, resources for students that I have seen.”
- “I would recommend to anyone in need of career advice, not just SLIS students.”
- “The information is tailored to SLIS making it a one stop guide.”
To learn more about how our career development resources have helped SLIS students find jobs, we invite you to read about Sarah Naumann, who credits our School’s career resources for helping her land a job as a reference librarian. You can also read about Sam Leif, who consulted with our Career Counselor and used our career resources to land a job as a librarian at an academic library just two months after earning her MLIS degree at our School.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your services in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?
In addition to our career development resources, the MLIS curriculum is constantly evaluated and updated to align with today’s job market and emerging trends in the library and information science field. As a Spring 2012 graduate put it, “I entered the job market with usable skills.”
It’s also very important for students to think broadly and keep an open mind when job searching. The MLIS skillset is transferable to a wide range of organizations and industries. SJSU SLIS graduates work at medical facilities, law firms, public libraries, academic libraries, high-tech companies, schools, and more. Their business cards carry titles such as Information Architect, Usability Analyst, Librarian, and Web Technologist – just to name a few exciting job titles.
Students’ Career Paths
Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?
We recently conducted a survey asking our recent graduates about their employment status after graduation. Eighty-six percent of the Spring 2012 graduating class who responded to the survey are working either full time or part time. Of those who reported they had a job, 96% got their job less than 6 months after graduating. Only a small percentage took longer than 6 months to find a job. This is due to a recovering economy and the diversity of the SLIS curriculum, which prepares students for opportunities in a variety of information environments. More information: http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/about-slis/mlis-program-performance#alumni
Can you talk a little bit about the school’s approach to internships, practicums and/or volunteering?
While internships are not required, we strongly encourage all students to take advantage of their time at SLIS by registering for one (or more) of the approximately 200 physical and virtual internships offered each semester. Even if you are currently working in an information center or library, doing an internship in a different work environment provides you with new experience and information – and allows you to “test” or “practice” working in a new environment without much risk. Many graduates have stated that internships were the most valuable part of their master’s education, because internships lead to expanded professional networks and also often provide the critical lead to that first job.
Does the school have a stated approach or policy on helping students to find careers?
Our approach is to provide excellent career resources and services to our students, and to encourage students to take advantage of those resources “early and often” during their graduate program.
We believe it is an integral part of our School’s mission to provide relevant and comprehensive career resources, and our School supports these resources by assigning faculty and staff to develop and maintain them. While we strongly encourage students to make use of our career resources and services, it is a student’s individual choice whether or not to use the career resources.
Does the school have any relationships with organizations that offer fellowships or other post-graduate opportunities?
Not at this time.
Are there any notable graduates?
Our School’s alumni are recognized leaders in our profession. To learn more about some of their accomplishments, we encourage you to:
- Read about our alumni who have been recognized as Library Journal Movers & Shakers
- Read about the career successes of some of our alumni
- Read about our alumni who have received awards from our School (click on any name to read about a past award recipient).
- Read about our alumni who are making a difference in our profession, by browsing stories about our alumni in our Community Profiles
How many students in the library school?
All of our students are online students, who may live across town or on the other side of the globe, providing a diversity of perspectives that enrich each student’s learning journey. We have approximately 2,000 students, who live in 47 U.S. states and nearly 20 countries. For more information regarding our students, check out our MLIS Student Profile web page: http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/mlis-student-profiles
What degree(s) do you offer?
The San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science offers two fully online master’s degrees, a fully online certificate program, and a doctoral program:
SJSU SLIS is a recognized leader in online learning and is a member of the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) and Quality Matters. In 2012, the School’s online programs received a score in the exemplary range according to the Sloan-C Quality Scorecard for the Administration of Online Education Programs.
Is it ALA accredited?
Our MLIS program is fully accredited by the American Library Association (ALA). The program has been continuously accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) since 1969. Our Teacher Librarianship program is also accredited by NCATE. In addition, San Jose State University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
What are the entrance requirements?
Prospective students can apply for admission in the fall or spring semester. Please check our website for current application deadlines.
- A Bachelor’s degree from any regionally accredited institution in any discipline with an overall GPA of at least 3.0
- A general understanding of computers and technology
- The School requires that all students have computer access
- International Applicants must have a TOEFL score of 600 (paper version) or 250 (computer version) or 100 (Internet-based)
We do not require a GMAT or GRE test, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, or a résumé.
When was the library school founded?
The first Library Science course was taught at San Jose State University in 1928, and SJSU SLIS first started offering a graduate degree in Library Science in 1954. The MLIS program has been continuously accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) since 1969.
Where are you?
√ Other: Online
Where are you?
√ Other: Online
Anything else you’d like to share that’s unique about the school?
All of our School’s resources are focused on supporting online students, including our career counseling, academic advising, and technology support team.
Our instructors use emerging technology in their MLIS courses to enrich student learning in our engaging and interactive online environment. They exchange ideas and perspectives with students via live web conferences, recorded audio lectures, screencasts, emails, online discussion forums, blogs, instant messaging, and social networks. The multimedia format enlivens the learning experience while introducing students to the same types of tools they’ll use in their future careers.
This interview was conducted by Madeleine Mitchell, who is currently in her final semester San Jose State University’s School of Library Science. With a major job hunt quickly approaching, she can honestly say that the Career Center is one of the SLIS program’s best and most comprehensive resources, and she is very grateful to have access to it.