Further Questions: Do You Prefer Long or Short Resumes/CVs?

This week’s question is from a reader (and it echoes one of the questions in the original survey, so it may sound a little familiar).  I asked people who hire librarians:
Do you generally ask for resumes or CVs?  Do you prefer long or short ones and why?  How many pages should it be?
Marleah AugustineFor part-time staff [support staff], a resume is a nice bonus but it is not required. A single-page resume would be fine for those purposes. When we have hired full-time staff, we do require a resume. Those we do expect to spill over onto two pages.
We will not accept a resume in lieu of an application form.
– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library
Emilie SmartOur City HR dept does not use resumes but I like to see them at the interview.
One page is the preferred length — no more than 2 pages.
– Emilie Smart, Division Coordinator of Reference Services & Computer Services at East Baton Rouge Parish Library
I prefer a resume that is long enough to give details about relevant job experience and other library experience.  For most people, that will be at least 2 pages.  For someone with many years of experience, it may well be longer.  For academic positions where publications and service are important, it may also be longer.  I prefer not to receive a long CV of 7-10 pages.  I think the important information can get buried in the long lists of presentations and workshops.  However, try to follow the instructions of the jobs posting and send what they ask for.  Different institutions ask for different things.  The cover letter is also an opportunity to highlight particular skills or experiences.
– Anonymous (Academic Librarian)
Laurie PhillipsI would say CV. A one-page resume just isn’t enough information for a faculty position.
That said, don’t expect your CV to highlight everything in our qualifications. You need to pull those things out and discuss them in your letter of application.
If you are just graduating, two pages should suffice. However, be sure to include what you actually did in any job that’s relevant.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans
Our application does not require a resume or cover letter,  but I always appreciate when either (or both) are included.  The positions I oversee don’t require too much (1 year of customer service, 6 months of library experience, sort of thing), so I like a cover letter and resume each kept to one page—but they should be a full page.  If you can’t find enough to write about yourself for four whole paragraphs, why do I want you?  I think it’s fine to leave items off a resume that aren’t relevant, or to sacrifice less-relevant long-ago experience to tell me more about your recent public library job of 3 years.Not only are the cover letter and resume space for you to include information about yourself that didn’t fit in the application, it’s where you show your abilities to write and use programs, and to show your care and attention.  I’ve chosen not to interview people based on a mess of a cover letter, full of spelling errors, not properly aligned, etc.  Use the resume to 1, tell me about your grant-writing, and 2, show me you can use bullets and tables.– Sarah Morrison, Adult Services Librarian, Neill Public Library, Pullman, Washington

Dusty Snipes GresI ask for a resume and a letter of inquiry.

I prefer that the letter be no more than 2 pages and the resume no more than 2 pages, although I will read what is submitted.  What I want is a brief overview of education and experience, and a good idea of the ability to communicate clearly.

If I need more info such as what would be on a CV, then I request it after the initial review.

– Dusty Gres, Director, Ohoopee Regional Library System

Terry Ann LawlerI think our online hiring process asks for resumes. I, personally have a CV, but that is just a style preference. I prefer resumes that have all of the information that I need, regardless of length, but prefer around 2-3 pages.

A resume should be as long as it needs to be to highlight your experiences and skills. That being said, when one is screening 150+ resumes, and yours is 8 pages long, expect those pages not to be read.

The general idea is that the resume gets you the interview and the interview gets you the job. So, your resume doesn’t need paragraphs of information about how great your customer services skills are.
Here are some tips:
  • Get all of the vital stuff like skills that match the job description and your contact info in the top half of the first page.
  • Support your years of experience. If you claim to have 4 years of collection development experience in your cover letter, it should say it somewhere on your resume as well, either in your job title or in your job duties.
  • Make sure that all of your pertinent skills (such as collection development or storytime or supervising) have a number of years next to them. That makes it much easier for scanners to check off the little boxes in their matrix and interview you.
– Terry Lawler, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian, Palo Verde Branch, Phoenix Public Library

We ask for a CV at our library but we have many applicants who send a resume instead. Depending on the applicant pool, those who send a resume instead of a CV may not be considered for an interview for failure to follow directions.

Unfortunately, there are no right or wrong answers to the question of how long a resume or CV should be, only a guideline. A mentor of mine once told me that a resume is more of a marketing piece to catch an employer’s interest. I think this is a good way to frame a person’s thoughts around the difference between a CV and a resume. As a guideline, a resume could be a couple of pages which highlight work, service and publishing that are in the area of the job you are applying for, a CV should list everything so it should be as long as it takes. I think the increase in academic libraries asking for a CV over a resume is a good indicator to MLS students to start their professional development early (writing, presenting, service on committees, etc.)

As far as my preference, I think a candidate should be honest and concise. In this case, the CV is as long as it needs to be. I would not want to see a resume over three pages since I am probably looking through several.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas Libraries

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  Walking down the road with your pistol at your waist, Johnny you’re too comment.


Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Public

2 responses to “Further Questions: Do You Prefer Long or Short Resumes/CVs?

  1. Pingback: Further Questions Questions | Hiring Librarians

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