For Public Review: Job Hunter EL

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,

I would like to work either in a public or academic librarian, and would love doing more outreach, as in taking “the library” to hospitals and would like the chance to go over to countries experiencing upheavals, and try to help the librarians there, making sure they and their collections are safe.

EL Resume Hiring Librarians

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Filed under CV review, For Public Review, Resume Review

8 responses to “For Public Review: Job Hunter EL

  1. Consider using bullet points in your list of duties and your special skills for readability.

    Can you provide an idea of what type of classes you’ve been taking in library school? Do you have any sort of work experience (other than what you’ve listed here) that would show how you acquired the skills you listed? I see there’s a gap of five years in your resume, so consider including any work or volunteer experience from those years.

    Are you currently working or volunteering in a library? A potential employer might be concerned about your lack of practical experience in a library.


    • Thank you for looking at my resume and commenting, your points are good. No, I am not currently working at or volunteering at a library. I would love to. When I worked in a different city, I put in an application to volunteer, but they never called back. By they time I actually got to talk with them, I had been let go (seasonal work, they didn’t need me any more.) There are three possible libraries by me, and I applied for a circulation position at one, and volunteer work. This library was a 45 minute drive away though. I would have been willing to ; they never called back about the paid position, and talked with me informally about volunteering and then asked me in for an interview, then said they didn’t need me The other nearby library I applied to never called back either. It doesn’t help that my family might be moving soon, so I don’t know if I should even bother applying to another nearby library. These last few months of trying to find a job have been discouraging. My family has been loyal library patrons for years though. I’m smart, responsible, and learn quickly, and almost have my MLIS,


  2. Some suggestions:
    – Your GPA is not all that important to employers. Consider taking it off and using the space for something else.
    – Elaborate on what projects you have done (either for class or for your internship) and what skills you learned there.
    – Try to quantify your special skills (ex. instead of public speaking, list the classes you have taught or the conferences at which you have presented)


    • Thank you for taking the time to look at and comment on my resume, I appreciate it greatly. I have not taught any classes or at any conferences, it was only informal teaching at the camp/museum I worked at, and when the teams graduated at the end of the week, we counselors would give little speeches about our teams


    • Sarah33

      I agree with these suggestions! This resume feels a bit empty, and these additions would help a lot. It’s okay to have two pages, especially for an academic library. As a reader, I want to attach the skills you mention at the end to actual things that you’ve done, either in your MLS program or in the jobs you had between 2005 and 2013. Also, read through it with an eye for consistency. You spell out Masters but not Bachelors, spell out Alabama in one line and abbreviate in another, and capitalize one job title but not the other. I’d also make the attendance lines the same (Attended August 20xx to August 20xx, Attended August 2014 to present). I’m nitpicking, but employers look for typos and inconsistencies and if there are too many, they might draw the conclusion that the applicant isn’t attentive to detail. Perhaps also list your WPM on typing, or leave that out entirely. Word (the program) is another thing like that. Only very new graduates list Word, because it’s a basic expectation at this point–like knowing how to walk or speak English. Others may disagree with me on that point, though. 🙂 Good luck to you in your search!


  3. A Rae

    I would suggest that you add some detail to your one professional position. Add some bullet points–what was involved in leading the campers and in community outreach? Make these things as close as possible to the types of activities found in the job descriptions of position you would like to apply for. Since you don’t have much library work experience, you will need to show how your skills are transferable.

    And, break out the work you did in the space center archives–you need to call attention to this and add any details that you can. You may want one heading for the space center, with one set of bullet points for trainer and a separate sub-heading with bullet points for archives volunteer.

    The format of your education section needs to be revised–take a look at some sample resumes to see standard formats. You only need your graduation date, or expected graduation date, not the year you began. I also agree with above poster–remove GPA, add some information about any awards/scholarships/other recognition you received.

    Also agree with above on your special skills section–for instance, you mention a fast-paced work environment and meeting deadlines, but your resume doesn’t include where you might have gained or used those skills. Of everything you have in that section, languages and html are the most worth calling out. Typing, Word, Excel are standard and assumed and don’t need to be mentioned. Give more detail on languages–what are your speaking and reading abilities?

    Are you a member of any of the profession’s local, regional, or national professional organizations? Student rates are usually discounted. If you haven’t joined any, do so now, add the membership to your resume and start attending events and volunteering–good for your resume and for networking.

    Any internships or practicums? Does your school provide help in arranging those, for credit or not? Is it too late to get one in before you graduate?

    A note on feeling discouraged. I see a lot of resumes from newly graduated MLIS degree holders. Many of them have a lot more library experience than you–internships, practicums, paid positions–and it takes them a long time to find that first job. As you’ve read, there are many more librarians and soon-to-be grads than there are jobs. It may take a while, being flexible with location will help.

    Being “smart, responsible, and a quick learner” describes most people earning their library degrees–you will need more than that to get a job.
    While you are looking, work harder to find some meaningful, substantial volunteer experience. If a library doesn’t call you back, try them again–many libraries have lots of offers of volunteer service you will need to be persistent and professional. You are interested in outreach, perhaps to hospitals–think creatively about where you can volunteer your library skills beyond libraries.

    It sounds like your location is in flux–once you figure out where you will be living while you are looking for a job, pursue more volunteer positions and get involved in the field’s many professional organizations. It may seem unfair, but you will probably have to work really hard to find your first job in this field- there aren’t many to go around and the competition is strong.


  4. RLC

    Your resume really hit a cord with me, because I just got done working on a hiring committee for a starting level librarian in Alabama. Sorry for the wall of text. I hope it is helpful.

    The first thing I notice when looking at this is, “Wow, that’s not a lot of work experience.” To fix that reaction, I would move your education over your work experience. Always put first what you want to emphasize the most. Without serious internships or work activities, you’re selling your education, not your work experience.

    Also, I would list your volunteer experience with the US Space and Rocket Center into a separate heading. That’s quality experience and you should highlight it. I had to read this three times before I even saw it. I might also omit the months from the timeline. Just putting 2014 is enough, you don’t want to highlight that it was such a short period of time. Resumes are about selling the best parts of yourself. Did you catalog using a specific set of standards? MARC, DCRM(B)? If so, you should highlight that somewhere.

    There is a huge gap in your work experience. I might omit the high-school work as to not call attention to that gab… depends on what you did. Checking books out to people, isn’t really that exciting. Did you train other students? Or assist with special events? Shelve books? Answer basic reference questions?

    I agree with getting rid of your GPA. Did you graduate Summa Cum Laud (sp?) or something? People still care about that.

    Under computer skills, you don’t need to list Typing. If there’s a minimum typing requirement on the job add, list your typing speed. It’s the 21st century, people will assume you can type. I would also omit any computer program that’s part of the standard windows suite. I can use Paint too, but I don’t really consider it a job skill. Photoshop or higher level graphics programs, absolutely.

    Lastly, you need to find ways to show you’re engaged with the library world. Are you a member of the student ALA chapter? Are you a member of the SAA (if you’re interested in Archives)? How about the Alabama Library Association? Or the Society of Alabama Archivists? They hold a meeting every year and it costs like 30 bucks to attend (plus free lunch). Consider going to that state conferences. If you have, add a heading called, “Professional Activities” or something. List those. I think on mine I call them “Profresional Engagement Activities.”

    Some of your “Special Skills” like time management seem off. I would list under a volunteer experience something like, “Managed multiple deadlines effectively” or “Met competing deadlines on various projects.” Link these skills to work, or I’m going to wonder where you got them or if you really have them.

    You mentioned you’re interested in being an outreach librarian. These days, a huge amount of outreach is digital, but I don’t see any mention of Social Media. You say you, “Participated in Space Camp Outreach”, but I don’t know what that means. I mean, I show up to library events, am I participating? Did you organize any of these? What sort of outreach? Were you part of a team? Can you say something like, “Worked with a team to create outreach and development programs.” (Development programs is a nicer way of saying, “Got attendees” or “Asked people for money.”)

    Anyway, I hope I wasn’t too harsh. Good luck with your job hunt.


  5. T. Vela

    I agree with many of the comments above but would like to add a few more suggestions that may prove useful.

    (1) Draw attention to yourself (yes, you!) by highlighting your name and contact information in some fashion. Many people do this by increasing the font size, centering, etc. Choose something that makes your name stand out without overburdening the top of your résumé.
    (2) Remove the college departments awarding your degree. It’s enough to say that you received X degree from X university at X time.
    (3) Will your Master’s degree require a thesis or capstone project? If so, be sure to include that information. A title or brief (read: 1 line) description will suffice.
    (4) Same as above for your Bachelor’s degree.
    (5) You list a number of special skills, including your work with children who have special needs. Have you received any training [no matter how basic] or acquired certification in this area? If so, elaborate (but not too much).

    Lastly – I think many of us rely so much on our résumés that we forget about our supporting. After you’ve had a chance to revise this aspect of your professional packet (if you decide to do so), make sure you take a good look at everything else. If you’ve used a cover letter in the recent past, was it up-to-date? Was it free of grammatical or other errors? If you’re having difficulty getting noticed on the job/volunteer market, your school’s writing or job center may be able to help you finding the right fit and making sure your cover letter, etc. really help sell you.

    Good luck!


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