Tag Archives: Résumé

Further Questions: Do you like hyperlinks included in resumes for sample or demonstration purposes?

This week we asked people who hire librarians:

Do you like hyperlinks included in resumes for sample or demonstration purposes? How have you seen this done well (or poorly)?

{Question suggestion via Twitter – we are always open to question suggestions… email hiringlibrariansquestions at gmail dot com or contact us on Twitter @hiringlib.}

Laurie Phillips

We’re fine with it. I send all of the applications to each of the search team electronically so they can click on links for that sort of thing. It’s nice if someone has an example of a project that is applicable. Remember that the committee members may print out your application for the initial screening meeting, so that may be lost. But committee members will review applications before and after that meeting. I can’t recall if I’ve seen someone do this.
– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

When we were hiring a new Graphics person, we found candidates used this feature and it was very useful. Don’t know how it would work for other positions.

– Kaye Grabbe, Lake Forest Library

I have seen applicants do this in their publishing and presenting section which I find helpful given we are hiring for faculty positions. I have also seen this done throughout an applicant’s CV to show general, non-scholarly work which I think is distracting an inappropriate. Some applicants will provide one link to a professional blog (or similar) where they have non-scholarly work in one place which is acceptable, in this case, however, it is work that the applicant has selected which has not gone through a peer review process like a presentation or publication would have.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Eagle Commons Library, University of North Texas

J. McRee ElrodYes, so long as they are well labeled.  They are excellent for lengthy resumes, and in our case, sample MARC records which have been prepared.
– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

 

 

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.

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For Public Review: Custodio

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 3 page resume was submitted by a job hunter,

   Custodio1 Custodio2 Custodio3

To submit your resume or CV For Public Review,

  • send it as a Word document, PDF, PNG or JPEG to hiringlibrariansresumereviewATgmail.
  • It will be posted as-is, so please remove any information that you are not comfortable having publically available (I suggest removing your address and phone number at a minimum).
  • Please include a short statement identifying if it’s a resume or CV and
  • describing the types of positions you’re using it for (ie institution type, position level, general focus).
  • Finally, you will also need to confirm that you agree to comment on at least five other posted resumes.

7 Comments

Filed under For Public Review, Resume Review

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Academic Library Jobs

I’m glad to be able to present this site, not only because it will be a great resource for all you academic librarians (present and future), but because I think Molly has done a good job of explaining how a “job ad junkie” can turn a quirky habit into a very helpful resource.  Today’s post looks at Academic Library Jobs.


Academic Library Jobs

What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!

Academic Library Jobs is a mobile-friendly website that features a curated list of job listings in academic libraries. It includes job listings from public and private colleges and universities in the United States, most requiring a master’s degree in a library-related field.

When was it started? Why was it started?

It started about a year before it was actually launched. 🙂 In the summer of 2012, I was working in a university IT department, and, like many people I’ve talked to, spent my breaks surfing job ads on my phone. I noticed that many job ads were pretty hard to view that way, and I’d end up emailing myself a reminder to check a particular job when I got home.

I had been wanting to try my hand at app development, so I decided to write an app that would deliver job ads. Then I started trying to narrow down the kinds of job ads it would include. I kept drifting toward the library jobs (I have an MLIS, but have worked in IT for a long time), and more specifically, toward academic library jobs, because I love working in higher ed.

The problem was that it was taking me so long to develop the app that a lot of great jobs were going by. Finally, in May of 2013, I decided to ditch my app aspirations and find a responsive WordPress theme, so that at least I would have a mobile-friendly site where I could post the jobs I was seeing. I found ThemeHorse’s Clean Retina, which looks lovely on every device I’ve tried it on, with minimal CSS tweaking.

Fortunately, since I had already designed and built the database for the app, I knew where I wanted to go with categories and tags, and what information I wanted to provide with each listing. I decided to include college-town profiles too, because I believe that place is such an important consideration when you’re looking for jobs.

Who runs it?

I do. [Molly Ives Brower] I do all the WordPress wrangling, the job-ad curation, and the tweeting. I do use the editorial “we” from time to time, just because I like that particular affectation. 🙂

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

I’m not a career expert–although I’ve had 17 jobs since 1988, so I do have a lot of experience applying for jobs and interviewing. These days I’m an IT consultant, but one of my clients is a library, and I keep up with some of my favorite library issues, thanks to Twitter and my friends in the library world (including my husband, who is the director of an academic library).

My primary qualification to do this is that I am a job-ad junkie. When I started library school I was a clerk/typist in the serials department of a university library, and one of my jobs was to open the mail. Every time we got a new issue of Library Journal or other publications that advertised library jobs (I remember a weekly newsletter that was almost nothing but job ads), I would read them to try to decide what kind of librarian I wanted to be and where I wanted to live when I finished my degree. I’ve never really gotten out of the habit of looking at job ads. It’s become a hobby.

Another hobby of mine is visiting college towns, so I’ve actually been to a lot of the places I link to. I’ve been known to drive two hours out of my way to visit, say, Carbondale, Illinois or Oneonta, New York (Oneonta is one of my favorite college towns, actually). But I haven’t traveled the entire country, of course, so there are a lot I’ve never even been close to.

Who is your target audience?

Academic librarians and people who want to be academic librarians.

What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

They can certainly consult it daily if they want to, or they can just follow the RSS feeds. I don’t have ads, so it doesn’t matter to me if people read the feeds (there’s a general feed and one for each state) and never even visit the site.

For those who know what they’re looking for, I’ve tried to make it easy to browse by deadline, state, and job categories, and I tag every job with its institution and location, as well as other tags that seem to fit. I have a category for entry-level jobs, because I know there are always recent graduates out there who are looking for those. There’s a search function, and a calendar that shows every day’s posts. Every Friday I post a list of jobs with deadlines the following week, so that readers will have the weekend to get their application materials together.

Does your site provide:

 Job Listings  Links √ The opportunity for interaction
√ Other: I’m developing my template for location profiles, and occasionally I post links, mostly related more to relocation than job-hunting.

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?

 Twitter: @AcadLibJobs

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

Not yet, but I hope I will someday!

Molly Ives BrowerAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

I don’t include entire job listings, like some of the bigger job sites do. I try to give enough information about the job that someone who is interested can click through to see the official job posting on the institution’s website, and I try to make it easy to go directly to job listing, or at least get close. If I see a listing for a job on another site, but can’t find the job listed on the institution’s site, I don’t list it. When I run across those, I try to check back in a day or two, just in case it shows up (and it usually does). That means that sometimes I list jobs a couple of days after they show up elsewhere.

The site is still evolving; I’m still refining the categories and tags, as well as my criteria for including jobs (for example, I don’t include part-time jobs now, but might decide to change that later).

I’d love to get some job submissions from libraries, and some college-town profiles from people who are living and working in academic libraries. But mainly, I just hope that people will be able to use my site to help them find the kind of jobs I see posted every day that remind me why I have always loved working in higher ed, and in libraries.

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Filed under Academic, Job Hunters Web Guide, MLIS Students

We Do Not Pay Enough to Have Someone Relocate

Librarian's_Desk, Bancroft Library

 

This anonymous interview is with a non-librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. This person works at a public library with 0-10 staff members. 

 

 

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

Personality
Experience
Communication skills

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

In the interview process, the inablility to answer a question or rather the inability to communicate well either the answer or to communicate any other response.
Distance from our library…we do not pay enough to have someone relocate.
Lack of experience

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

That they know something about the town, or the library itself…that they have done some home work so that they have some idea about population and some other issues.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

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?

Dress appropriately. Look the interviewers in the eye and respond directly to questions. Have some kind of portfolio of work or work experience to prove one’s claims.

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

For us, not knowing anything about the community….or the job…before hand. Thinking that because we are a small town, we are pushovers for claims of expertise that are clearly over the top. For instance, the person who says he or she was a head librarian at a prestigious university…tnen we have to ask ourselves…why come to a small town library. We also don’t appreciate being preached to….that the applicant can save us because as a small town we probably don’t know what we are doing.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

We have a process now.

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

Honesty is important. It is better to say that you don’t know something…than lie..and it is better to say that while you don’t know a process, you are willing to be trained. Everyone on a new job has to be a learner, and every manager has to be willing to be a trainer or a teacher.

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Filed under 0-10 staff members, Original Survey, Public

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Open Cover Letters

My sister is an actor, and a couple years ago she wrote a post about generosity that really resonated with me. She said that if you see a great role that someone else would be perfect for, you should share it.  She said that to get other people to root for you, you have to root for them.  Its better to go through the stress of auditions with people by your side.

I really think the same is true for job hunting.  If we share information, we build a better community.  We’ve got people on our side and a higher quality of work.  That’s why I’m happy to feature Open Cover Letters today. This is a site which allows job hunters to share with each other the secrets of their success.  It provides good examples, which for me personally have created clarity and improved the quality of my work.  Please enjoy this interview!


Open Cover Letters


What is it?  Please give us your elevator speech!

Open Cover Letters aims to help inspire library job hunters write great cover letters. Over 60 hired librarians have graciously submitted cover letters they wrote as part of a successful library job application.

When was it started?  Why was it started?

I created the website in June 2011 after completing a job search. I found that existing cover letter websites were generic and unhelpful. I wished I could have read real examples of librarian cover letters. After accepting my current position, I approached friends and colleagues who were hired, and launched the website with five anonymized cover letters.

Who runs it?

Stephen X. Flynn, Emerging Technologies Librarian at the College of Wooster. Wooster, Ohio.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

I am not a career expert at all! Instead, I try to offer advice based on my real world experience both applying for jobs, and also now hiring. I have partnered with ALA JobLIST to present cover letter workshops at the Job Placement Center at ALA. I tell the story of my own job hunt, share what I’ve learned from hiring, and use a worksheet and activities to engage the attendees in reflective practice.

Who is your target audience?

If you are looking for a library job, whether you’re an MLIS student, or an experienced library administrator, you should benefit from reading successful library cover letter examples.

What’s the best way to use your site?  Should users consult it daily?  Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

I think it’s best to browse the website as needed, and use the tags and categories to narrow down to a specific type of library or job description.

Does your site provide:

 Advice on:

 Cover Letters


Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats? 

√ Twitter: @opencoverletter
√ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/opencoverletters

Do you charge for anything on your site?

Open Cover Letters is not only free, but also licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

Yes! When I started the website, I hoped that librarians who were helped would pay it forward by submitting their own cover letter. This has happened countless times as cover letter submitters have told me in the email that they found my website to be helpful. Some readers have also asked me for cover letter and resume advice directly, and one individual in particular told me that after making significant changes to the resume and cover letter, the rate of call-backs went up.

Stephen X FlynnAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

There is no magic formula to the perfect cover letter. Like other forms of composition, it’s a form of art that requires time and passion to succeed. Also, an outstanding resumé is just as important as an outstanding cover letter. The two should, in perfect synchronization, communicate your strengths and address the job requirements. You’ve heard the advice that you should tailor your cover letter, but you should also tailor your resumé.

A healthy support network is critical to getting through the job hunting highs and lows. Ask your friends, family and colleagues to critique your job applications. Reach out to hired librarians for advice and support. I know how tough the daily struggle is, and I believe that with the right combination of passion, initiative and support, you’ll be able to find an amazing job!

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Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Infonista

Tired of getting kicked around by libraries? Are you intrigued by the myriad of possibilities for using your degree? Want an alternative LIS career?  Today we are featuring the site for you!  Kim Dority was kind enough to talk to us about her blog, Infonista.


Infonista

What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!

Infonista is a blog that focuses on all the different ways LIS professionals can deploy their information skills, in both traditional and nontraditional environments. In addition, I try to bring in information from outside the profession that may be relevant to building a resilient LIS career.

When was it started? Why was it started?

It was started in June 2010 as a way to extend the reach of a course I’d been teaching in the University of Denver MLIS program – I wanted more students (and LIS practitioners) to understand how incredibly valuable their skill sets could be if they took a broader approach to information work.

Who runs it?

I (Kim Dority) run it, but I have to admit (with embarrassment) that I’ve been somewhat neglectful of my blog recently due to other commitments, e.g., creating and managing the LinkedIn LIS Career Options group and finishing off a recently published book, LIS Career Sourcebook: Managing and Maximizing Every Step of Your Career (Libraries Unlimited, 2013). My goal for this year is to be a much more diligent blogger!

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

I don’t necessarily consider myself a “career expert,” but more of someone who’s done nearly every type of LIS work in her career and who has researched and taught courses, webinars, and workshops on this topic for 13 years. During that time I’ve had the extreme good fortune to learn from hundreds of colleagues, students, friends, and even mentors, so I consider myself more of a conduit for and aggregator of all the stuff we’re learning from each other.

Who is your target audience?

LIS students and professionals, especially those trying to explore or navigate into broader career opportunities that will use their information skills.

What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

I’d say noodle around. All of the posts are tagged by a specific category, so if users are interested in a specific topic, they should be able find all the posts on that topic. My goal is to post weekly, although as I mentioned, that’s currently aspirational rather than reality!

Does your site provide:

Interviews   Answers to reader questions
Articles/literature    Links
Research   Coaching
The opportunity for interaction

Advice on:
Networking

Other: emerging types of LIS career paths and how to explore/position for them

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?

Book(s): Rethinking Information Work (Libraries Unlimited, 2006), LIS Career Sourcebook (Libraries Unlimited, 2012)
 Other: LIS career webinars and workshops for MLIS programs and LIS associations, divisions, and chapters

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

I’ve actually never tracked this information so have no idea!

meredith loweAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Hmmm…. I think I’d encourage your readers to think as broadly and creatively about the application of their LIS skills as possible in order to find jobs, and then continue to keep an eye out for “alternative uses” even after landing those jobs. Given this economy, I believe it’s really important to operate as if we’re all self-employed, regardless of where we happen to be working at any given point in our careers. My goal is to help LIS students and professional create resilient careers, which often means rethinking what we do, how we do it, and who we do it for.

3 Comments

Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide, MLIS Students, Other Organization or Library Type

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: Careers in Law Librarianship

I’m happy to be able to share today’s site with you. It is an excellent example of the services our professional associations can provide for job hunters and prospective librarians. Today we are featuring Careers in Law Librarianship, a site run by the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL). Wendy E. Moore, who is the Chair of the AALL Recruitment to Law Librarianship Committee as well as the Acquisitions Librarian, University of Georgia Law Library, was gracious enough to answer my questions. I hope you will enjoy!


Careers in Law Librarianship

What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!

Careers in Law Librarianship is a portal to link people interested in law librarianship with information about educational requirements, career possibilities, types of law libraries, and sources of financial assistance.

When was it started? Why was it started?

It started about five years ago or so. It was created to have a single source to share with people interested in law librarianship which would be easy to find using a search engine.

Who runs it?

The site is run by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), an organization with over 5,000 members, which was founded in 1906 to promote and enhance the value of law libraries to the legal and public communities, to foster the profession of law librarianship, and to provide leadership in the field of legal information.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

I am not a “career expert,” although I have been a librarian for almost 20 years. I am currently the Chair of the AALL Recruitment to Law Librarianship Committee.

Who is your target audience?

Anyone interested in learning more about careers in law librarianship. Many of our users either already have a JD degree or an MLS degree and our seeking information about what additional educational requirements they may need and for how to network with law librarians in their region.

What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

Our site is a great place to get started to understand some of the unique aspects to careers in law librarianship. It directs users to additional information at the AALL website including lists of dual JD/MLS programs, job positings, and scholarship opportunities from various AALL regional Chapters, Special Interest Sections, and Caucuses.

Does your site provide:

√ Answers to reader questions
√ Links

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?

Our site is not active on social media, but the American Association of Law Libraries AALL is active on the following:
√ Twitter: @aallnet
LinkedIn
Facebook
Newsletter
√ Magazine or other periodical: AALL Spectrum
Blog
Flickr

Do you charge for anything on your site?

No, our site is free to all.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

Since the site is an information portal, we don’t really track or follow-up on specific job positions people who use our site eventually find. We have through the site been able to match up people interested in learning more about law librarianship with law librarians in their local area, so I consider that a successful outcome of the site.

wendy mooreAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

Law Librarianship is a very specialized form of librarianship. The more flexible you are concerning your geographic location, the easier time you will have in securing a position. Also carefully read the educational and experience requirements in job ads and make certain you meet (or will meet before the start date) those requirements before applying for a position as the requirements are usually not flexible.

2 Comments

Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide, Law Library, MLIS Students

Job Hunter’s Web Guide: MLA Deal

One thing this blog has made me aware of is all the different ways that state library associations help out job hunters. You know how it’s super tough to get that very first library job?  And how sometimes new professionals feel a little hung out to dry once they’ve graduated?  Well, this week’s post is about  a Maryland resource which helps address that problem, and provides a lot of great support for developing a library career.  This week we’re featuring MLA Deal!


MLA Deal

What is it? Please give us your elevator speech!

DEAL (Development of Emerging and Aspiring Librarians) is an interest group of the Maryland Library Association (MLA) dedicated to providing new professionals and library students with resources to create the library career they want.

When was it started? Why was it started?

MLA has had a student interest group for some time now, but around Spring of 2011 Mark de Jong, our Chair, started talking seriously about revamping it. Through his direction and the vision and efforts of our team, we’ve relaunched the group, expanded its audience, and reignited interest in MLA! Our main goal was to help those new to librarianship (early-career librarians, students, and library techs) navigate the waters of employment, providing opportunities to network and explore the profession and giving them tools to get the jobs they wanted.

Who runs it?

Mark de Jong, an active member of MLA, is our Chair. But in reality we have a much more decentralized approach. There’s a somewhat large group of us (around 12), but we’ve each got dedicated roles. I’m the social media manager, so I oversee our Twitter & LinkedIn accounts, as well as some of the blog.

Are you a “career expert”? What are your qualifications?

I’m hesitant to call myself a career expert, but being in school and concerned about finding a job that used my degree has provided plenty of motivation for me to research different career options! The thing about the DEAL leadership team that I love so much is that we represent such different paths for information professionals. For instance, Lindsay Sarin (our mentorship expert and conference liaison) is a coordinator for University of Maryland’s MLS program, so her job is to help library school students think strategically about their time in school and how it relates to their career goals. Katy Berube, who contributes to our blog, is an academic librarian with an immense wealth of HR knowledge that we’re lucky to draw from. We’ve all got different strengths and areas of expertise, and together it helps to enrich the kind of career development programming that DEAL offers.

Who is your target audience?

While our aim is to help library school students and new-to-the-field professionals, we also reach out to those who are more established in their careers for advice and mentorship opportunities.

What’s the best way to use your site? Should users consult it daily? Or as needed? Should they already know what they need help with, or can they just noodle around?

Everyone should use all of our web presences daily- just kidding! We actually have a multi-platform approach for our group with the intention that people could participate as much or as little as they wanted. Our blog is our main programming focus, featuring bi-monthly career development posts by the aforementioned Katy. These posts are designed to be followed almost as steps for building networks, finding relevant job postings, writing resumes, cover letters, etc. We also post news related items and job/internship/volunteer opportunities on the blog. Our LinkedIn group builds on Katy’s programming, serving as a space for people to connect and share how they’ve worked through her blog challenges. The group is also a place for general networking and discussion. Lastly, our Twitter is meant to be an everyday news item source. I do some relevant job/internship/volunteer opportunity posts, but also share general career advice, publicize good professional resources (like Hiring Librarians!) and interesting tidbits from Libraryland.

DEAL_logo

Does your site provide:

√ Job Listings √ Answers to reader questions
√ Articles/literature √ Links
√ Coaching √ The opportunity for interaction
Advice on:
√ Cover Letters √ Resumes
√ Interviewing √ Networking

Should readers also look for you on social media? Or is your content available in other formats?

√ Twitter: @MLA_DEAL
LinkedIn
√ Newsletter: well, you can sign up for our listserv on the MLA site!
√ Other: BlogMLA site

Do you charge for anything on your site?

Nope! Access to all of our resources are free. We do encourage people to join MLA, however. We’ve been able to secure a lot of funding through our scholarship program, which allows current MLA members to contribute the cost of a year-long student membership to MLA. We’ve received a ton of support on this initiative, including a rather generous donation from an HR and organizational development consulting company (thanks Singer Group!). As a group, we’re extremely proud to be able to offer this to our members.

Can you share any stories about job hunters that found positions after using your site?

We’re still relatively new, and we just reached how to write resumes in our programming, so we haven’t had the chance to start making career connections. We have, however, been successful in finding students mentors, internships, field study sites, and even freelance work!

meredith loweAnything else you’d like to share with my readers about your site in particular, or about library hiring/job hunting in general?

My personal piece of advice for job hunting isn’t necessarily unique, but has always proven wise in my experiences- be open, be professional, and be social! The last one can be hard for librarians, but every interesting work-related opportunity I’ve gotten has been a result of meeting people and staying in contact. You might meet someone in a hiring position for your dream organization, but at that moment they don’t have an open position perfect for you. Staying in contact and making a consistently good impression does wonders, though, and they’ll remember you when something comes up. Oh, also join your state library association! They’re an easy way to involved and you’ll definitely meet people who can connect you to job opportunities. If you’re a MD resident, contact us for details on how to get a free MLA membership!

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Filed under Job Hunters Web Guide, MLIS Students, Northeastern US

Now Hiring: Omaha Public Library

Want to work with one of Hiring Librarian’s People Who Hire Librarians?
Deadline to apply:Today! 2/7/2013
https://prod.fadvhms.com/omaha/JobBoard/JobDetails.aspx?__ID=*49CF8C7F9DD5CBD7


Manya ShorrManya Shorr is the senior manager for Branch Services at the Omaha Public library.  She has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee. Manya’s work to bring new adults, single people, and the business community into Omaha’s Swanson branch earned her a spot as a 2010 Mover and Shaker.  OPL has between 100-200 staff members. It is an

essential catalyst, collaborator and connector

for the vibrant city of Omaha (yes, really!). Not sold on working there? Here is what they say about their employees:

We recognize our staff as our greatest resource. We are passionate about our work, we have fun, and we work together as a team. We trust each other and respect diverse ideas.

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

A desire to serve the public and enthusiasm about public libraries
Knowledge of what’s happening in libraries around the world (professional candidates only)
Inquisitive and excited about the job

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

The only thing I see repeatedly are applicants that want to work M-F, 8-5. This is not a realistic schedule for a public library. If someone wants to work in a public library, they should expect to work at least one weekend day and one night every week.

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

Personalize your cover letter! I know it’s extremely frustrating to apply for many jobs because it takes so much time but you need to understand that I can tell when you have sent the same letter to multiple organizations. I want you to want to work here. Here, in Omaha. Think of your cover letter as our first date. You need to charm me and make me love you.

Is there anything that people don’t put on their resumes that you wish they did?

Sometimes it’s hard to understand what someone does on a day-to-day basis. I don’t exactly know the answer (I struggle with this on my own resume) but I find myself filling in the gaps when I read people’s resumes and I never know if I’m accurate.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ As many as it takes, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ Other: I don’t think I’ve ever read one that didn’t seem silly and superfluous

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If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ Other: At my current library, this is irrelevant, since all applications go through the City Human Resources department first. By the time I see anything, it’s been printed out.

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

I wish I could impress upon all applicants how important it is to come in to the interview with enthusiasm and energy. Don’t be shy about talking about yourself and most importantly, don’t discount your accomplishments. Repeatedly, applicants tell me the things they don’t know how to do, rather than all the things they can do. If you haven’t done anything yet, talk about your enthusiasm for it, or what you’ve done to prepare to do this thing in the future.

Also, if you are a recent graduate, don’t assume that your lack of experience is a hinderance. Remember that you can’t read my mind. There’s a strong chance that I’m looking for a new professional to hire. Don’t. Make. Assumptions. Tell me why I should hire you, not why I shouldn’t.

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

My biggest pet peeve is when applicants tell me what the organization can do for them, rather than what they will bring to the organization. It’s nice that your aunt/grandmother/cousin lives in Omaha, or that you’ve always wanted to live in the Midwest, or this job would be great for your career, but I urge you think about how that sounds to the organization. I’m interested in your success, but primarily I want to know what you can do for my library.

The other thing that bothers me is when an applicant has not done any research into my library and/or service area. Look at the website, check out demographic information about the city, walk through a couple of branches. Any little effort is appreciated. Not all public libraries are the same and painting all of us with the same broad brush is annoying.

Lastly, remember that you are making a first (and often, last) impression. Smile, have a firm handshake, make eye contact, and act like you want to be there. These little things are so often forgotten and are so important. If you don’t make eye contact with me, I have to assume you will not make eye contact with the public either.

Has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

Not that I know.

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

Many public libraries are part of a City/County structure and have very little to do with hiring process. Here in Omaha, the City HR department culls the list of applicants and gives us 3-5 names that we can interview. That’s it. If you are #6, I will never see your name or your application. Sometimes there is a scoring tie and we see more names, but not normally. I also have no control over the timeline. We submit a request to fill the position to HR and then we wait. I know it’s frustrating to be on the other side of things (believe me, I have to apply for jobs too) but try to understand that the library often has little to no control over the process.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Midwestern US, now hiring, Public

Always Add a Lagniappe

The Young People's Librarian, 1938

This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 100-200 staff members.

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

Aptitude for connecting with people, courage in promoting change, humor in all

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

When I ask for a positive example and am given a negative one, that’s a huge red flag.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only One!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ Other: We use our City’s process.

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ I don’t care

If applications are emailed, how should the cover letter be submitted?

√ Both as an attachment and in the body of the email

What’s the best way to win you over in an interview?

Answer each question with a beginning, middle, and end. Don’t leave me guessing if you’ve finished with an answer.

Always add a lagniappe, or extra thing. For example, the question may ask for just your experience, but add what you learned.

And be pleasant–keep in mind as an applicant that you may be one of eight people being interviewed that day. It’ll be a relief to the interview team to ENJOY hearing from you.

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

They let down their guard and reveal their weaknesses. The most common ones are not liking the public, preferring not to work hard, and applicants considering themselves smarter than just about everyone else. Of course, I’m glad when that happens because it says a lot about the applicant.

How has hiring changed at your organization since you’ve been in on the process?

I insist on probing for people skills, no matter the position.

And I’m more likely to be friendly and behave like any good host would.

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Filed under 100-200 staff members, Original Survey, Public