Hey look! A new installment of the Library School Career Center feature! This 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 Wes Lipschultz, Manager of Student Services in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.
Career Center Information
Who staffs the career center? Please talk a little about how it is managed and run.
Our career support comes from three sources:
1) A centralized career development and placement assistance office at the University of Pittsburgh which hosts two liaisons to our School – one focused on career development (resume, cover letter, interview etiquette, mock interviews, monitoring your social media presence, etc.), and one focused on job placement (developing relationships with employers, connecting our students with those employers, etc.).
2) Student Services staff who host monthly professional development sessions (building a portfolio, looking at “outside the box” careers, how to network, etc.), and
3) A cadre of willing alumni/ae who have agreed to review resumes/cover letters/conduct mock phone interviews on an ongoing basis with our current students.
Are there “career experts” on staff? What are their credentials?
The two liaisons to our school are career experts; their positions, experience, and professional associations are focused entirely on career development and employer relations.
Does the career center provide any of the following:
√ Job Listings √ Resume/CV Review √ Help writing cover letters
√ Interview Practice √ Networking events
Do you provide in-person services?
√ Appointments √ Speakers, or programs that present experts
√ Mixers or other networking events √ Job Fairs
√ Drop-in career center: Our liaisons are available M-F 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Do you provide online services?
√ Website with resources √ Newsletter
√ Twitter: @ischool_pitt
√ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ischoolpitt
What do you think is the best way for students to use the career center?
Students should attend our monthly professional development sessions and avail themselves of the assistance of our career development liaison from the start. They may also wish to consider beginning to develop a professional portfolio during their first semester. As they gain more experience (through field experiences, volunteer work, and/or other formal or informal practical experience opportunities), they may wish to attend our professional development day and practice mock interviews with current alumni/ae. They then should begin to have our alumni/ae review their resumes, cover letters, etc. They should monitor our Facebook, LinkedIn, and listserv postings for job opportunities, and they can use the University’s central job database, FutureLinks, to access more general job postings as well.
May alumni use career center resources?
Alumni can attend our professional development sessions for free and can access FutureLinks for a nominal fee.
Are there any charges for services?
Yes – a nominal fee.
Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using the career center?
One “outside the box” case was particularly interesting. I was contacted by a local finance firm that was looking for someone to assist them in sorting through their documents, policies, records, etc. with the goal of coming up with an introduction and training manual for their employees. I posted this need to our listserv and was contacted by an MLIS student who had prior experience managing items in a museum. The fit seemed perfect to me, and the employer agreed. She was hired!
Anything else you’d like to share with readers about your services in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?
We wish to continue to sustain relationships between our MLIS students and traditional employment settings, but we are also noticing (and excited about) the fact that less traditional employers in Pittsburgh seem to face a growing need for the skills our MLIS graduates possess. We are working on making connections with these employers and we are also trying to help our students realize that there are relevant and interesting opportunities in such settings as well.
Students’ Career Paths
Can you share any statistics about employment rates after graduation?
All information pertaining to employment and employment statistics for our school can be found here: http://www.ischool.pitt.edu/about/career-resources.php
Can you talk a little bit about the school’s approach to internships, practicums and/or volunteering?
Pittsburgh has a rich cultural infrastructure worthy of a city many times its size. As such, we have many opportunities for relevant experience for our students. We call our credit-bearing internships/practica “field experiences” and our students are encouraged to choose this option as part of their degree (all specializations allow for this as part of the degree requirements). We also have, on a very competitive and space-limited basis, the Partners Program. This program is akin to a co-op for graduate students. When a student is chosen for this program, they are placed in a local employment setting relevant to their degree for an entire year. The student works between 10-20 hours a week in this setting and in turn typically receives a partial tuition scholarship.
Does the school have a stated approach or policy on helping students to find careers?
Our approach is multi-faceted and involves school staff, career staff, and alumni/ae of the School. We want our students to be able to clearly articulate the skills they develop and map them to both traditional and nontraditional career settings.
Does the school have any relationships with organizations that offer fellowships or other post-graduate opportunities?
Yes – our faculty, staff, and liaisons are all connected with different potential employers, but as we become aware, we share job postings with each other and these postings make their way to our listservs.
Are there any notable graduates?
We have many alumni/ae who are known and respected in their profession. Each year we highlight those whose personal and professional achievements we deem as outstanding here:
How many students in the library school?
We are an iSchool. The iSchool comprises between 700-800 students total in a given year. About 150 of those are undergraduates, 80 are doctoral students, and the rest are Master’s or certificate students. Of those, 250-300 are MLIS students.
What degree(s) do you offer?
In Information Science we offer an undergraduate degree, a Master’s, a post-Master’s certificate, and a doctorate.
In Telecommunications we offer a Master’s, a post-Master’s certificate, and a doctorate.
In Library and Information Science we offer a Master’s, a post-Master’s certificate, and a doctorate.
Is it ALA accredited?
Our LIS program is ALA accredited.
What are the entrance requirements?
Please see this site for our most current requirements for our on-campus MLIS degree:
…and this site for our most current requirements for our online MLIS degree:
Where are you?
√ Northeastern US
Where are you?
√ Urban area
Anything else you’d like to share that’s unique about the school?
The combination of the rich cultural heritage of Pittsburgh coupled with its small size and “down home” feel makes for a setting that uniquely engages the intellect yet makes you feel like you are family.
This interview was conducted by Brianna Marshall, who is a second year dual-degree Master of Library Science and Master of Information Science student at Indiana University’s School of Library and Information Science. She is Managing Editor for Hack Library School and a 2012-2013 HASTAC scholar. Learn more about Brianna through her blog and portfolio or by following her on Twitter @notsosternlib