This anonymous post is from a school librarian! S/he has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 0-10 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?
1. Obvious experience with technology and incorporating technology into daily activities.
2. Experience in libraries of some sort. Yes, we are a school library and it is helpful to have school experience. But so many of the applicants for our open position last year had no library experience at all, it was discouraging. I honestly don’t understand how someone can go through a graduate library program and get no library experience.
3. Flexibility, openness to new ideas, willingness to work on projects that benefit the library as a whole.
Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?
Dealbreakers for me are typos in the resume or cover letter. Another dealbreaker is an obviously “standard” cover letter that shows the applicant has not taken the time to look at our school (i.e. a general “to whom it may concern” type letter).
What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?
Objectives that state the obvious — “Looking for a challenging school library position that will enable me to….”
Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?
Information about how they have actively used technology in the classroom, links to a portfolio, etc.
How many pages should a cover letter be?
√ Two is ok, but no more
How many pages should a resume/CV be?
√ As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet
Do you have a preferred format for application documents?
√ No preference, as long as I can open it
Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?
If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?
√ As an attachment only
What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?
Show me that you have looked at our school website and have an idea bout the mission of our school. Show me that you have ideas on how to collaborate with teachers. Show me that you are interested in furthering your professional development.
What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?
Not being prepared to answer the “How would you_____?” questions.
Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?
Please, please, please get experience in a library before you graduate from school. Even if it is a part time grad assistant position — it helps. If you have never worked in a library you really do not know what it is like on a daily basis. It isn’t all theory, rainbows, and unicorns. Some days it is hard work. I am more than willing to hire someone fresh out of school with no full time library experience. But I will not hire anyone (and mostly likely, will not interview anyone) with no library experience at all.