Oh for the Love of Pete, Know What a Boolean Search Is and Explain It Correctly

WACs with the Army-LibrarianThis anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee and Supervisor at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Have they done what we’re asking for, or at least have experience in the same area?

Can they communicate clearly?

Do they know their stuff or are willing to learn their stuff?

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

Oh for the love of pete, know what a Boolean search is and explain it correctly.

What are you tired of seeing on resumes/in cover letters?

I am tired of people saying they have experience in XYZ in their cover letters, but not backing that up in the application or the resume.  Yes, you say you have that experience, but what do I know?   If you do, say so in the resume/application portion, preferably both if possible.

Also, too much personal information is a bad thing.  I don’t want to know about your brother’s cousin’s ex-wife’s sister.

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

I wish they would tailor their cover letters and resumes to the positions they are applying to.  Yeah, it’s time consuming, but even just a bit of tailoring (highlighting skills that are directly relevant to the position) is a good thing and will make you stand out.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

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?

√ Yes

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

√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email

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

Be personable. Talk about what makes you happy and excited to be a librarian, and how it relates to the job.

Also, if they take you out to lunch, be nice to the wait staff.  I use this on dates and job interviews, and it has never failed.  If you’re nice to the people who are serving you your food, you’ll probably be nice to the circ staff, and any other support or paraprofessionals.

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

Being interested in only books and showing little to no interest in technology in an academic library.  There’s so much going on, why would you limit yourself to just the printed texts upstairs?

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

Don’t put cutesy quotations on your documents or make your stationary obnoxious.  Yes, I know you want to use the state flag as the backdrop of your cover letter, but it isn’t appreciated.


1 Comment

Filed under 10-50 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

One response to “Oh for the Love of Pete, Know What a Boolean Search Is and Explain It Correctly

  1. Dan Robinson

    “Oh for the love of pete, know what a Boolean search is and explain it correctly”…. love this. I’m sure there’s a good story here.


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