I don’t Think Objectives are Necessary or Useful

Brian Hunter, 1984, Asst Librarian, Slavonic Collections, London School of Economics

This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee.  This librarian works at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Enthusiasm, Creativity and good skills set

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

Someone with no library experience who doesn’t indicate why they want to switch paths or why the position is something I should consider them for. I just recently received an application packet for a youth services position from a person who just graduated with a degree in engineering. There was no cover letter & no indication in their email as to why they were applying or why I should consider them. I feel like this kind of application get rejected because it seems this is someone just applying for any job and that they are not necessarily interested in the job I am offering.

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

I don’t think objectives are necessary or useful. Job histories that go back too far and include non-relevant jobs.

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

Professional activity & volunteer positions.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

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?

√ I don’t care

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?

Show me that you are enthusiastic about the job I am offering and that you really want to work for MY library. Excitement and enthusiasm for the position really go a long way.

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

Not making eye contact, being unprepared, not being enthusiastic.


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

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