Don’t Waste Your Time and the Space on Objectives in Resumes

Rear Adm. William Hilarides tours the Pritzger Military Library with senior librarian Theresa Embry


This 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?

Intelligence and creativity
The candidate has good communication skills
The candidate plays well with others and can work without supervision.

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

If they don’t meet our required qualifications, we can’t even consider them for interviews
Poor people skills/customer service skills, regardless of the type of position. You need to be able to communicate and deal with people.

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

Boilerplate cover letters. Sometimes they don’t even change out the institution for mine. Do your homework. Read up on our institution. Customize it for us!
Typos. This is supposed to be their best work and they didn’t spend the time proofreading?

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

For entry level candidates, they often don’t think to include their involvement with either professional library organizations or student professional library organizations.
Be specific

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?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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?

Listen to our questions and provide thoughtful answers. Be prepared for our presentations and for our questions. Do your research on us as a library and as an institution.

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

Being poorly prepared
Being overly nervous or overly cocky. It’s ok for a candidate to be somewhat nervous or somewhat confident, but too often they go to extremes.
Not listening to questions, talking over people
Not having questions to ask us

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

As the market has tightened, the pool of candidates has increased significantly. Also we’re now using an online system. Workloads have increased.

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

For us, the cover letter is really crucial. It’s best if you can dovetail it with what we’ve put on the posting. This is where you show us that you can write.
Don’t waste your time and the space on objectives in resumes.
Find a librarian in the field you want to work in. Have them look at your resume and cover letter.

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

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