Career Coaching Hour with Jill Klees

iStudent Blog

Published: March 14, 2019 by Havilah Steinman

Do you have a burning career development question you haven’t been able to get an answer to? Do you wish you could ask our iSchool Student and Alumni Career Consultant Jill Klees these questions live and “in person”? Well, in addition to hosting monthly Career Workshops, Klees has begun a new tradition of Career Coaching Office Hour.

This awesome and informal session allows students to ask questions of Klees for the entire dedicated hour. I had the opportunity to attend the session, and have shared some fascinating questions and answers that came up during the event below. As a reminder, Klees is always available to work with current students, as well as alumni, and she encourages you to email her at

Question: How do I prepare for an oral interview exam?

An oral interview exam is a basic panel interview, and you’re in the hot seat. In my experience, the interviewers aren’t super friendly. They asked the same questions to each applicant, write furiously during the interview, and score your responses via a set rubric. Be sure to direct your answers to everyone on the panel, and don’t just focus on the person who asked you the question. Be inclusive with your answers by making eye contact with everyone. Lastly, prepare a variety of questions to ask the panel, specific to each person in the panel.

Question: How do I market myself to employers if I don’t have a lot of experience?

Short answer: Courses, class projects, and volunteering! When you’re a current student, put your education on the top of your resume and then list out relevant coursework to the job you are applying for. Underneath that, list relevant course projects in order to demonstrate your experience and what you have been learning in those above listed classes. Rely heavily on your classes and course projects. In addition, get some volunteer work in there. Even if it’s once a month volunteer experience, it still counts! And remember, if your current job is completely unrelated to the LIS field, identify the skills you are using in your current job that can transfer over to the job you are applying for. 

Question: I’m nearly done with my e-Portfolio. How can I ensure it can be used for a job I’m applying to this month? How much do I need to redact before the content going public? I have webinars and other presentations as evidence, for instance.

Answer: Overall, your e-Portfolio is far too academic and lengthy to include when you’re applying for a job. So what you’d want to do is pull out pieces from the e-Portfolio and include them in a career e-Portfolio. This looks more like an online resume, especially if you build it in Wordpress. The career e-Portfolio is where you would pull out information specifically for the job or types of jobs you plan to apply for, and include the link. It’s also important to note that if there’s anything in your e-Portfolio with other students names on it, you’ll want to redact that information or get permission from them to include their names. Two great resources on the Career Development section of the iSchool website are Career e-Portfolio Examples and Career e-Portfolio Tips and Resources.

Question: What assistance do I have in finding a career/internship opportunity

Answer: The Internship Database is where you can find virtual and in person internships that satisfy the 294 Professional Experience requirement. You can also use Handshake, our campus specific job database. Head over and put your profile together, that way based on your specific information employers with jobs that you’re qualified for will reach out to you. You can also set up a search engine to send you information. I’m always surprised at the jobs I’ve found on Handshake, there’s such a variety!

Question: I just got notified about a job I applied for last week (non-traditional industry).They want me to have a phone meeting with their CEO. What questions should I absolutely be prepared to answer?

Answer: Check out the interviewing section on the Career Development section of the iSchool website. Use the examples questions listed on that page and practice your answers. Also, here are three questions I always tell people I work with to practice:

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. Why do you want this job? What made you apply? What do you know about our organization?
  3. Why should we hire you? What are your top strengths? What do you bring to the table that other candidates don’t?

Question: Do you have any tips for applying to jobs out of state?

Answer: On Handshake, you can filter for location. When writing your cover letters for these out of state jobs, remember that your main reason for applying for the job can’t be that you want to move to that area. Your main reason needs to be that you bring specific skills to the table for that particular job. LinkedIn is also a great way to network and find jobs out of state. Look for connections who went to SJSU and who are working in the location that you want to move too, and reach out to them. Check out this great post about finding a job on LinkedIn from the Career blog as well.

Question: I have been in education for many years. I have been on several interviews for entry level public library jobs (some have been second interviews), but I still have not been offered a job. Am I overqualified?

Answer: You are absolutely not overqualified. If they thought you were overqualified, they would not have interviewed you in the first place, nor would you have had a second round. You’re second guessing yourself, and I don’t think that’s the issue. One possibility could be that  the employer is worried that if they hired you, you’re not going to stick around for very long. If you sensed that, then you have an opportunity to put their minds at ease. Make sure you communicate you’re very interested in the position, to lay down roots, to work with their team, learn more skills, and apply what your have to that organization. Make sure they know without hesitation that their business is absolutely where you want to be! 

Have a great rest of your week, and be sure to explore the Career Blog for more information about career development. Klees’ upcoming workshop, LinkedIn: What’s New and What’s Changed? is on Wednesday, April 3rd.


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