Unnamed job hunter 16

Welcome to crowd-sourced resume review for LIS job hunters!

Please help the job hunter below by using the comment button to offer constructive criticism on her resume. Some guidelines for constructive feedback are here, and the ALA NMRT has brief tips for reviewing resumes here.

This 1 page resume was submitted by a job hunter who says,

This is the basic version of my resume. I’ve been applying for reference and instruction librarian positions with community colleges, but I’ve also modified it to apply for library technician, assistant library technician and library assistant positions. I’ve applied for full, part-time and substitute, and with school districts and public libraries. I also plan on using it to apply for adjunct librarian positions (again, with community colleges), as well.


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Filed under CV review, For Public Review, Resume Review

9 responses to “Unnamed job hunter 16

  1. A Rae

    1. I would suggest removing the objective, since it will be clear in your cover letter that you are applying for the job.
    2. Include your reference internship under the same heading as your other library positions, and format that entry in the same way, with the job title of Reference Intern. Even though it wasn’t a paid position, it is still a library position.
    3. Each of your position entries needs more detail, more specific accomplishments. Friendly and professional doesn’t really describe what you did–how many patrons per day? what kind of user populations? was the training you did formal, and/or quantifiable? did you introduce any new procedures or initiatives at the circulation or reference desk? did you use any chat reference tools or other specific software?
    4. In your skills section, you also need specifics. Again, specific library and/or office technology, circulation systems, computer applications, a second language…
    5. Professional affiliations–have you joined any specific committees or sections? Through your positions at public libraries, were you involved in any local or civic committees or programs?


  2. Erin C.

    A. Rae has already provided some good feedback above, but I will second the comment about the Skills section. This is really a place to market yourself–don’t try to be “humble” on your resume. You mention LibGuides specifically under your intern position–think about what other specific products, software, hardware, etc. you’ve learned to use and include these under Skills. These may be library-specific (for instance, experience with a certain ILS) or more general but still potentially useful in a library (for example, graphics-editing software).


  3. P. Kain

    I agree with A. Rae, add more detail to your resume — e.g., explain what type of reference assistance you provided, e.g. did you help the user research/find resources on particular topics, etc.? When reviewing candidates for a position, our committees generally look at education (i.e. MLIS or equivalent); professional or paraprofessional experience in (what type) library; and continuing “involvement” with the profession (i.e., CE, Associations, etc.). Best of luck in your search.


  4. @JoeFreedomSays


    First of all, kudos to you for putting your resume out for review – it’s not always easy to open oneself up for criticism and feedback.

    To echo one of A Rae’s points above, I don’t feel that this resume provides much detail about what you can do and, as a result, doesn’t distinguish you from others with similar experience. More detail could include, for example, saying more about HOW you provided “reference service in a friendly and professional manner.” In person? Over the phone? Via email or chat?

    What else have you done on the job? Even if you weren’t able to take on individual projects or programs at past library jobs, can you think of some library-wide initiatives or programs where you took an active role?

    Also, I’d suggest looking at the descriptions of the jobs to which you are applying and see if you can use some of the same terms they use to describe your skills and the way you go about your duties. For instance: Could “Assist patrons with computers and online resources” be reasonably described as “Troubleshooting computer problems” or “On-the-fly database instruction?”

    One final point: Congrats on earning your MLIS, but I’d suggest that you change the order of things and put your education last. You have a lot of experience working in libraries and I would make the most of that as a distinguishing characteristic. To me, the degree is going to be more of a minimum-qualification check-off (I’m not trying to diminish your accomplishment – I’m still working toward my MLIS!) that will keep you from being weeded out early on in the process.

    Best of luck!


  5. Anonymous


    There are some very good suggestions out there already. Unlike most new MLSs you bring an impressive amount of library experience to the table, but you don’t emphasize it enough to make it stand out. I suggest building up your accomplishments in those years–the suggestion about Lib Guides was great. What else have you done that will make you stand out in the crowd? Tell your reader about those in your resume. I am sure you will impress the search committee much more when you do!

    Good luck with the career search!!


  6. Anonymous

    I won’t repeat the other good suggestions.
    You bring lots of experience that most new MLSs don’t have–work with that more. In particular, play up your accomplishments. What special projects did you do? Did you run or assist any special programs? Did you get any awards?

    Doing this will help you stand out better!

    All the best with your search!


  7. Anonymous

    An agreement with slight adjustments to previous comments: try combining skills and impacts for your existing jobs. For example, if it is accurate to the staff training you did, you might say “Implemented a cross-training program to ensure new staff were skilled in EBSCO databases,MS Office troubleshooting, and the reference interview.”

    I also hope your cover letter will lead with an impactful highlight such as “If you hire me you will get an experienced reference and instruction professional with 21 years of reference desk support experience.” That experience really needs to be emphasized!


  8. I would remove the related coursework under the education section. Anyone with a MLIS will understand the kinds of course work taken. These few lines can help with more detail in your “skills” section. You can mention any special projects you’ve worked on, computer skills, presentation skills.


  9. Taylor V.

    Hi – I noticed that you have a gap in service, during which time you were probably enrolled at Cal Poly. Be sure to address this gap in your cover letter, as it may be a red flag to some institutions. Also, there are a few things you can do (in addition to the comments above) to “beef up” your resume a bit but still maintain a single-pager, as you may be interested in doing:
    (1) indicate length of membership with ALA and RUSA
    (2) indicate full or part-time as library assistant and clerk
    (3) state type of libguides created (subject? course? number of guides created?)

    Best of luck!


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