I Can’t Tell You How Many People Use the Phrase, “I am Uniquely Qualified.”

Nevins Memorial Library First Librarians c. 1900This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 10-50 staff members.
What are the top three things you look for in a candidate?

It depends on the level for which we’re hiring and it depends on the position. Generally, for entry level public service, I look for employees who are clearly compassionate and generous because those are the people to whom our patrons return. Also important are employees who are willing to take direction.

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

It’s a pet peeve, but I hate bulleted lists in a cover letter. I ask for a cover letter to see how you write, how you express yourself, and how your personality comes through. If I want to see a bulleted list, I’ll look to your resume.

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

Don’t write a cover letter where it’s clear that you can simply cut out one position & organization and paste in another position & organization. It’s really easy to see when that’s been done. Also, I can’t tell you how many people use the phrase, “I am uniquely qualified.” It has gotten very old very quickly.  Also, speak to the position. If the position description doesn’t state that we’re looking someone to take on reference hours or leadership responsibilities then you shouldn’t bring up more than once (if that) that you are willing take on those duties. You need to be responding for the position we’ve said that we need and not the position that you want.

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

Personality. Yes, you need to explain how your experiences and passions fit the position, but I also want a sense of you.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ As many as it takes, but shorter is better

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ Other: Really, I have no preference, but with the .docs you can sometimes see the history of a document and that might give out a bit more information than you intended.

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Other: If you have a general goal, sure, put that in, but saying that your goal is a position in my organization means nothing to anyone.

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

Be friendly, smile, listen and speak to my questions. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions of your own.

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

They don’t interview for the position. Instead, they interview for the position that they would like to have.

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

Don’t be afraid to let your personality show. Chances are, if an organization doesn’t hire you because of that, you wouldn’t have wanted to work there anyway.


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

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