In one case the cover letter was too aggressive

Market scene. Women and men. 1922 2 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:

cataloging, collections development, circulation, archives, public services

This librarian works at a library with 0-10 staff members in a suburban area in the Southern 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 requirements of the job announcement.

How are applications evaluated, and by whom?

Applicants were evaluated  by a search committee made up of a library faculty member(s), the Assistant Library Director, and an outside faculty member.

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

Did not meet job requirements or experience was not related to the position.  In one case the cover letter was too aggressive, and we felt that the person would not have been a good match for our library.

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?

Make sure that you are applying for jobs that you are qualified for.  Use your cover letter to succinctly describe how your experience and education relates to the job, and why you would be a good fit.  The cover letter is just as important as the resume.

I want to hire someone who is


How many staff members are at your library/organization?

√ 0-10

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

√ 1

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

√ 1

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?

It does, but it is not necessarily a requirement.  It has been done more in practice, but there is room for discussion.

Is librarianship a dying profession?

√ No

Why or why not?

Too many reasons to list.  One is that librarians are more important now than ever to help users decipher the vast amount of information that is now available.  We provide access to resources that our users would not have otherwise.  There are many many more reasons why librarianship is not a dying profession.

Do you hire librarians?  Take this survey: or take other Hiring Librarians surveys.

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


Filed under 0-10 staff members, Academic, Southern US, State of the Job Market 2015, Suburban area

2 responses to “In one case the cover letter was too aggressive

  1. It would be helpful to know what a cover letter that is too aggressive looks like.


  2. I would love to see an aggressive cover letter. Did they threaten to send their cousin Vinny over?


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