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.
This interview is with Lori P. Haight, Ed.D., Career Services Coordinator, School of Information and Library Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ms. Haight is a department of one, so in this interview, we’ll use the term “career services,” rather than “career center.”
Career Services Information
Can you describe the management and organization of career services at SILS?
Career Services at SILS encompasses individual career counseling and career advising sessions, career assessments, resume and cover letter critiques, and networking events. Our goal is to offer career development guidance and services for students to gain the relevant experience they need during their program to be successful in their post-SILS positions.
Are there “career experts” on staff? What are their credentials?
I am the only staff member for Career Services. My academic credentials include a masters in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration. My background includes student services experience in career services, as well as advising and student activities positions at several colleges and universities.
Do you provide any of the following:
√ Job Listings √ Resume/CV Review √ Help writing cover letters
√ Interview Practice √ General Career coaching √ Networking events (virtual or in-person)
Do you provide in-person services?
√ Appointments √ Speakers, or programs that present experts
√ Mixers or other networking events √ Job Fairs
√ Drop-in career center, hours: whenever I’m not with a student
Do you provide online services?
√ Website with resources √ Twitter: @UNCsilsCareers √ LinkedIn
How can students best utilize career resources at SILS?
Students are introduced to Career Services during their Orientation. They are welcome to make individual appointments, join the jobs listserv, and attend any sponsored events they wish during their time here. We also work closely with the UNC UCS (University Career Services) for additional services (including on-campus recruiting), employer databases, and additional programming.
May alumni use career resources?
Are there any charges for services?
Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using the career center?
I have been in this position for one year, but have already had several examples of students and recent alumni who have heard about a position through our job listserv, and were then hired! I’ve also had examples of students who had questions about the job search process. After I was able to answer their questions and provide additional resources, they felt much more confident in their ability to be successful in their job search.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers about your services in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?
While there are certain building blocks to career development (preparing job search materials, practicing interviewing skills, etc.), there is no ‘one path’ to finding your next opportunity. Networking with colleagues can be extremely beneficial to not only help you clarify your career goals, but connect you to new projects along the way.
Students’ Career Paths
Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?
One of my goals is to have my complete statistics for our recent graduates in the near future. Right now, both the Graduate School and the University Career Services office collect ‘first destination’ information from graduates, but it is anonymous. Our students overall are very well positioned to find jobs after they graduate. It is more a question of their preferences (including geographic and function area) being met.
Can you talk a little bit about the school’s approach to internships, practicums and/or volunteering?
SILS strongly believes in the value of practical experience for students through internships, field experiences, and volunteering. While it is not required, the majority of our students take advantage of these experiences.
Does the school have a stated approach or policy on helping students to find careers?
SILS is very proud of our academic program, and feels that we are educating the next generation of information professionals. We want to offer students the resources to be prepared for their professional development, as well as the opportunity to make connections with both alumni and employers in the information setting of their choice.
Does the school have any relationships with organizations that offer fellowships or other post-graduate opportunities?
With our long history in educating information professionals, SILS is frequently tapped by fellowship and other post-graduate employers to get the word out to students about their opportunities.
How many students in the library school?
308 master’s degree students, 47 doctoral students, 42 undergraduate majors, and 29 minors
What degree(s) do you offer?
Bachelor of Science in Information Science (BSIS)
Minor in Information Systems
Masters in Library Science (MSLS)
Masters in Information Science (MSIS)
Post-Masters Certificate in Information and Library Science (PMC)
Ph.D. in Information and Library Science
Is it ALA accredited?
What are the entrance requirements?
For graduate school entry:
• a bachelor’s degree (based on a four-year curriculum) completed before graduate study begins or its international equivalent with an accredited institution
• an average grade of B (cumulative GPA 3.0) or better
• GRE (general) score within the last 5 years
• application materials: transcripts, resume, Statement of Purpose, 3 letters of reference
When was the library school founded?
Fall of 1931
Where are you?
√ Southern US
Where are you?
This interview was conducted by Julia Feerrar, a first year master’s student at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Her professional interests include academic libraries, research and instructional services, and digital humanities. Follow her on Twitter @JuliaFeerrar.