We’re seeing a lot of functional resumes and they are difficult to use

Fruit Venders, Indianapolis Market, aug., 1908. Wit., E N Clopper. Location Indianapolis, Indiana.This anonymous interview is with an academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring or search committee. This person hires the following types of LIS professionals:

Subject specialists, instruction, reference, catalogers, archivists, etc.

This librarian works at a library with 50-100 staff members in an suburban area in the Northeastern US.

Approximately how many people applied for the last librarian (or other professional level) job at your workplace?

√ 25 or fewer

Approximately what percentage of those would you say were hirable?

√ 25% or less

And how would you define “hirable”?

Met the basic education requirements for the position; had actual library experience

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

The search committee reviews the applications, use rubrics matched to the job description, and makes the decisions on whom to call for interviews. HR is not involved except for the paperwork.

What is the most common reason for disqualifying an applicant without an interview?

Lack of education requirements (lack of MLS or secondary masters degree); lack of experience working in an academic library — we’re flexible on this and will consider internships, praticums, work-study, paraprofessional work as library experience.

Do you (or does your library) give candidates feedback about applications or interview performance?

√ No

What is the most important thing for a job hunter to do in order to improve his/her/their hirability?

Write a clear and concise CV. We’re seeing a lot of functional resumes and they are difficult to use in evaluating the candidate because we have to research for information about the candidate. We use the CV to look for education attainments, progression in work, can they be tenured, do they have the work experience. If we can’t located the info quickly, we tend not to take the candidate seriously. Also, we’ve received a dismaying amount of resumes/CV that tell us nothing about the candidate — the resumes read like a school transcript or other irrelevant information.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 50-100

How many permanent, full time librarian (or other professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 2

How many permanent, full time para-professional (or other non-professional level) jobs has your workplace posted in the last year?

√ 5-6

Can you tell us how the number of permanent, full-time librarian positions at your workplace has changed over the past decade?

√ There are fewer positions

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with part-time or hourly workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Have any full-time librarian positions been replaced with para-professional workers over the past decade?

√ Yes

Does your workplace require experience for entry-level professional positions? If so, is it an official requirement or just what happens in practice?

We want to see that the person worked in a library — either as student or paraprofessional or professional or had practicums, work-study, internships, etc. in library school. We worry when we see a candidate from a good library school but we have no idea if they actually worked in library besides study in one.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

We’re looking for different types of librarians now — people who can do outreach, liaison work, engage with professor and our teaching faculty, etc. The positions we have not replaced with a professional librarian had job duties not conversant with professional librarian duties.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: http://tinyurl.com/hiringlibjobmarketsurvey or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

For some context, look at the most recent summary of responses.


1 Comment

Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Northeastern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

One response to “We’re seeing a lot of functional resumes and they are difficult to use

  1. After reading this, I wonder is a CV format more useful for the academic library or is the résumé format sufficient? My CV feels more like a functional résumé, and I use it for academic positions mainly because I have publications from a former research job and the CV format lends itself to sharing that information along with BI literacy and technology training sessions given in different libraries (as a volunteer).


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