There is no reward for coming in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th with jobs. So, keep trying!

Librarian working at the Pointe Coupee Parish Parish library in New Roads Louisiana in 1936This anonymous interview is with a librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee. This person works at an academic with 10-50 staff members and hires for an Academic library.

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

Enthusiasm. Practical Ideas. Thoughtfulness.

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

Disparaging remarks about students. Multiple typos/errors. Cover letters under a paragraph long. Missing application material. An AOL email address (okay, maybe not an instant deal-breaker, but it makes me wonder.)

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

Cover letters that do NOT address the qualifications of the job. It should not merely be a summary of your experience. I only want to hear about experience that relates to the specific job at hand. And you should try to address every single qualification for an academic job.

Also, cover letters are an opportunity to expand on your resume. They should not just be a regurgitation of what’s on the resume. Give detail. Give examples. This is your chance! If your cover letter is less than a paragraph, you’re not doing it right.

And, don’t forget that you can show enthusiasm in a cover letter. I also want to know that you “want” the job. Not just that you can do it.

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, I want to look at every accomplishment

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?


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?

Be thoughtful about the interview questions. If you’re not sure about something, at least try to explain how you would investigate the question to come to an answer. Have specific questions about the job and University.

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

Answering a question with just “I don’t know”.

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

There are a lot of applicants for every job, which means you could be doing really well and not getting the position. Unfortunately, there is no reward for coming in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th with jobs. So, keep trying!

Are there any other questions you think we should add to this survey? 

How can an applicant make themselves stand out?

For some context, take a look at the most recently published summary of responses to this survey.

If you’re someone who has participated in hiring library workers, take this survey and share your viewpoint.

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

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