SLIS Career Counselor Jill Klees Inspires Students to Find their Dream Job

iStudent Blog

Coaching others seems to be in Jill Klees’ blood. In her job as the SJSU Career Center’s liaison to our School, she helps students choose a career direction and pursue that dream job. Away from work, she’s a certified personal trainer who helps people reach their fitness goals.

Since Jill is such an important person for any current or prospective SLIS student to know, we thought we’d give you a chance to learn a little about her in both her professional capacity and when she’s off the clock.

Jill provides a wide array of resources for students, from providing career counseling to students to writing a career blog and collaborating with SLIS lecturer Jane Fisher on the School’s Career Development website, an endeavor she says has been one of the most exciting elements of her job.

“It is pretty amazing,” she said. “The SLIS Career Development website started as an idea and then one section about resumes. It continues to grow into a dynamic and robust website. I am proud of that accomplishment.”

Asked to describe what she does, Jill said, “I like to think that I teach, educate, motivate and inspire students to go after the career they want. There are plenty of resources on websites to read, but there is nothing like communicating with a live person to ask your questions and share your concerns.

“I like being that person. I make it a point to be realistic and upfront with students, and to give them honest feedback so they can do their very best in pursuing their career.”

What she finds most rewarding, she said, is being able to help people.

“Having people feel more confident about themselves during their job search and hearing that they got hired makes me feel like I have done my job well,” Jill said. “That keeps me inspired and enthusiastic about what I do.”

One of those success stories is SLIS alumna Sarah Naumann, who credits Jill’s help with giving her “the edge” over the competition in her job search. Naumann took two online workshops on interviewing, and followed up on Jill’s suggestion to write an interview script complete with answers to anticipated questions. She says the confidence she gained from that exercise, along with other Career Center resources, helped her land her job as a reference librarian at Mills College in Oakland, California.

Jill says working with online students is one of the most enjoyable aspects of her job. “It has forced me to develop a new set of skills, and I am continuously challenging myself to be successful in a virtual environment (just like SLIS students). I like the challenge.”

Another highlight of her job came recently when she was a guest speaker on an American Libraries webinar series. She joined a virtual panel of experts to discuss Finding Your Ideal Library Job.

“I had such a blast being part of that webinar,” she said. “The fact that I could sit in my office and be on a panel with people in other locations talking to LIS professionals all over the world was fabulous. I could do that all day.”

Jill was working in human resources training and development “many years ago” when she took a Careers & Lifestyles course that involved self-assessment exercises and goal setting, “much like courses students might take in high school or a community college,” she said. “From that course, I determined that I wanted to be a career counselor, and the rest, as they say, is history.”

After getting a master’s degree in counseling psychology, Jill worked in a variety of settings in career and leadership development. Then came the opportunity to join the SJSU Career Center working on a variety of projects, one of which involved working with SLIS students.

“The project and the position just continued to grow into what it is today,” she said. “That was four years ago, and this position continues to evolve and definitely continues to challenge me.”

Jill has taught group exercise classes for nine years at a YMCA in downtown San Jose, California, where she also teaches a weight-lifting class, a “brutal” core class and a yoga class.

She also enjoys gardening and composting, but adds, “I make sure I do something once a year for my birthday that is a total adrenaline rush.”

You can contact Jill at jill.klees@sjsu.edu.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about Jill and her work. Please share them in the Comments section below.

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