Every Accomplishment Isn’t Important Since Oftentimes Those Accomplishments Overlap

Botany Library, Field Columbian Museum, 1912This anonymous interview is with a librarian from a special library with 0-10 staff members. S/He has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee.

What are the top things you look for in a candidate?

Commitment to librarianship and the particular area of librarianship that I am hiring for.
Confidence in existing experience and in any learning that will be required in the position being hired for.

Do you have any instant dealbreakers, either in the application packet or the interview process?

Not really but not applying your application to the job you are applying for makes me weary.  I work for a very specific type of library and many applicants apply to jobs I have available as if they were just any kind of library job.  While any library/librarianship experience will be important and relevant, for example if you’ve spent most of your time at a reference desk and you are applying for a cataloging position please tell me how your experience makes you a good candidate for the job, don’t just tell me that you worked at a reference desk and therefore can do any library job.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

I’m tired of new librarians or those early in their careers leaving out other work experience.  You may not have a lot of library experience, but then you need to showcase how your other experience qualifies you for the job.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Other: This really depends on the applicant.  Early career librarians need not have a long resume, nor try to beef it up with  unnecessary material, theirs should be just one page.  But if you have more extensive experience, by all makes, more pages is fine but it should still be kept short and sweet, every accomplishment isn’t important since oftentimes those accomplishments overlap.

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?

√ Other: I’m inclined to say no.  They aren’t particularly useful, and are always quite generic.  I think the cover letter should focus on that.

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ I don’t care

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Appear interested in the job you are applying for and conversational.  Don’t just repeat what you’ve written in a cover letter/resume.  Be yourself.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make in an interview?

Talk in bullet points.  I am hiring a person, employee, not a resume.

Anything else you’d like to let job-seekers know?

Do what you can to connect to the job you are applying for.  Of course there will be times when you are applying for jobs that might not be your ideal employment, but find a way that you could make that job yours, what you can bring to it, what you can get out it.  Be honest, don’t just say what you think the interviewer wants you to say.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Cataloging/Technical Services, Entry Level, Management, Original Survey, Public Services/Reference, Special

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