Tag Archives: Résumé

Further Questions: Does Your Library Do Background Checks?

This week I asked people who hire librarians:

Does your organization do background checks?  If it does, what exactly is checked? Credit rating, conviction history, job or education history, etc.? What kinds of things would keep a candidate from getting hired?

Emilie Smart

We do not do background checks on classified employees nor does the City’s HR Dept (which handles all City employment applications).

– Emilie Smart, Division Coordinator of Reference Services & Computer Services at East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Marleah AugustineAt this time we do not do background checks. We do ask that if someone has been convicted of a felony, that they explain that charge. We haven’t had too many issues with it, but I think that a candidate would not get hired if their felony conviction was violence or theft related. As for job or education history, we just call references rather than doing a formal background check.

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library

Nicola FranklinAs a recruiter the type of background checks I do varies depending on the type of role I’m looking to place the candidate in.  For those seeking just a permanent position, I carry out an interview (to fact check their resume for the skills and experience they’ve laid claim to, and to assess personality, attitude and motivations).  Other checks (for example taking up references, medical, credit check) remain the responsibility of the ultimate hirer and are usually carried out by them (although once in a while a client will ask me to carry out the reference checks on their behalf).  For those seeking contract or freelance work, in addition to the interview, I take up the references myself, and also check their eligibility to work in the country where the job is based (UK, USA or elsewhere).  References could be from employers or educational institutes or both, depending on the person’s career history and the requirements of the job.

Reference checking in the UK can be a frustrating process as employers are very wary of committing anything to paper that could later be deemed to be a subjective opinion and so open to legal challenge if it caused any disadvantage to the candidate.  Many written references are therefore little more than confirmation of employment dates, job title and number of sickness days (if any).  To counter this I often take up a verbal reference, as people are often willing to be more frank on the phone.

The main thing that would stop me putting a candidate forward to a client would be lying on their resume/CV, whether about qualifications, length or type of experience or skills.

– Nicola Franklin, Director, The Library Career Centre Ltd.

 

J. McRee Elrod

 

 

No.  For a distance cataloguer it is irrelevant.

– 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 me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found some comment ground!

1 Comment

Filed under Further Questions, Public, Recruiters

Don’t Lie When You Don’t Know Something, I Will See Right Through That

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of hiring committees at a library with 0-10 staff members.

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

Mature problem-solver.

Good interpersonal and communication skills.

Knowledge if the position is heavy on technical skills.

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

Doesn’t meet the requirements of the position.

Degree is not ALA accredited.

A lot of typos in the application.

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

Cover letter seems generic–not tailored to the position.

Cover letter unprofessional such as mistakes in grammar, spelling, format.

Resumes basically the same thing.  Not tailored to the position.

Too vague.

Can’t figure it out.  For example, instead of listing dates and place of employment, have a summary of skills at the top of the resume.

List lame things like hobbies and interests.

Unprofessional format.  Unorganized.

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

If there is some big gap in employment, it should be explained briefly in the cover letter. [Not on the resume though].

Some don’t have exact dates and place of employment.  I want to get a quick overview of their experience and education.

Don’t make it so short that you don’t know what their committee work, honors, publications are.   I’m in an academic library so I consider them vitae same as faculty.

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?

√ .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 professionally.

Don’t ramble on too much or get off-topic.

Don’t lie when you don’t know something. I will see right through that.  Just say you don’t know but you would love to learn it.

Don’t bring up personal things like your kids, your pets, your plants during the interview.  It’s OK to relax [a little!] and mention those at dinner if appropriate.

Ask me to repeat something if you don’t understand the question.

Show your interest–you’ve looked at the website, have questions about the library, students, community.

Don’t criticize something about the library.  Rather talk about what you can bring to the position and the library.

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

No enthusiasm.

Ramble on too much–especially when they are covering up lack of knowledge.

Inappropriate or too much use of humor.  I want to know they are taking the interview seriously.

Show me a lot of samples of their emails, writings, publications, brochures, when I didn’t ask for them.

Relax too much at dinner and give too much personal information.

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

Submission of application materials are all online.

Interviewers trained better on the questions they can’t ask, for example, age, race, country of  origin, etc.

Fewer applications.

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

Don’t Tell Me Librarianship Was Your Dream. It’s a Great Job, but It’s Nobody’s Dream.

John_Winter_Jones Librarian at the British Museum

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Authenticity, confidence, and character.

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

Plenty. I’ll divide this into sections for clarity:

Application Packet Dealbreakers:
1) Bad grammar, spelling, punctuation.
2) Excess use of needless or corporate language (“utilize”).
3) Windbaggery.

Interview Dealbreakers:
1) Bringing a friend or significant other to the interview.
2) Lack of confidence.
3) Lack of eye contact.
4) Demonstrated lack of formative experience.
5) Someone who tries to be what they think I want them to be. I don’t want a candidate to pretend; I want to see who a candidate really is. I am more likely to hire someone authentic and confident, and throw away the application from the disingenuous, spineless, unsure person. Be real.

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

I am tired of seeing the excessive use of passive voice, and statements like, “I am uniquely qualified to fill this position” / “I am the right person for this job” / “I am perfect for this.”

Keep it short, keep it cogent, and be genuine, above all things.

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

Some indicator of their authentic self. I had one person put “roller derby” in her special skills / interests section. I hired her.

Don’t centralize this; don’t stick your hobbies in the middle of the resume, but DO put it at the bottom of a sidebar.

Another thing I don’t see in resumes often, and I wish I did: better formatting. I like a resume to be arranged visually like a website. A header with personal information. Employment history on the left side (2/3 of the page) with a sidebar on the right side of the page, including educational experience, special skills, and personal interests.

I like resumes that are one page long, and formatted according to the rule of threes (described above).

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Two is ok, but no more

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Only one!

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .pdf

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?

Let the guise fall. Do not fake anything. If you have no library experience, and rather, spent the past ten years with a traveling circus, I’ll consider you if you’re confident, interesting, and genuine about it.

Ask yourself, “What do I REALLY think?” and share it. Be completely straight about it. Look me in the eye and tell me who you are and what you really think.

This kind of authenticity and confidence is not taught in schools nor is it necessarily encouraged in our culture, but when I find it in people, I hire them and encourage its development. The best jobs are those where you can be yourself and say, again, what you really think. Don’t waste my time with disingenuous behavior or silly edifice. I’m not interested in that.

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

1) “I love books / I love libraries.” This is hackneyed. Ugh.

2) “Ever since I was a little girl/boy I’ve wanted to be a librarian.” This is almost always a lie. Librarianship is often a second-choice field. It comes after people spend a couple of years trying to be an artist/ conservator/ writer etc. It’s a practical career for an artistic or literary type. So don’t tell me it was your dream. It’s a great job, but it’s nobody’s dream.

3) Too many people put on their insincere, nervous, aiming-to-please interview face. The interview face is just a barricade between me and full understanding of a candidate. It is a problem to fix, not an asset. Please do away with the interview face. Just be straight with your interviewers. Don’t try to tell them what you think they want to hear.

4) Don’t chew gum, wear paisley, show up late, etc. There are standards.

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

It’s less formal and more individualized now. I have twenty minute, informal conversations with candidates and make decisions based on my intuitions about that person.

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

Don’t be afraid to be genuine and confident. Let your authentic self show through as much as possible. Finding a job is like finding a partner: if you’re honest, you will attract those who like you for who you really are. If you are dishonest, you will find yourself unhappy in an ill-fitting situation. So know who you REALLY are, let it show, and have faith that things will work out for the best.

10 Comments

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

Know Stuff About Me and the Library.

Egyptologist and Librarian Hans Ostenfeld Lange and his wife Joanna

 

This anonymous interview is with a public librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at an organization with more than 200 staff members.

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

personality, flexibility, brains

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

Not too many – I’d rather look at the whole package – but a completely generic cover letter that refers to my library as “your firm,” etc. is pretty bad.

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

Dangling participles. “Very” and “extremely.” Mixing tenses.

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?

√ .pdf

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?

Have a sense of humor. Know stuff about me and the library.

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

Being defensive. Using acronyms or shortened names of schools/libraries/etc. that I’ve never heard of.

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Filed under 200+ staff members, Original Survey, Public

Further Questions: What’s the Most Important Part of a Resume?

This week I asked people who hire librarians:

What’s the most important part of a resume and why?

Laurie Phillips

I’d say probably your succinct description of what you actually did in each job you have held. That’s where we glean more information about your actual experience. There are sometimes little tidbits there that can make a candidate more appealing. Obviously, you may expand upon how your experience and qualifications match the job in your letter, but there’s still a lot that we can pick up on from your resume. People who don’t bullet their actual responsibilities under each job are missing out on an opportunity.

– Laurie Phillips, Associate Dean for Technical Services, J. Edgar & Louise S. Monroe Library, Loyola University New Orleans

 To me, one of the most important parts of a resume, isn’t technically part of the resume at all, but the cover letter.  Often when one puts together even a good, persuasive resume, it can still be too dry and data oriented, but often not explanatory or humanizing enough.  Cover letters should discuss some of the pertinent highlights of one’s career, how they apply to the position in question, and should often explain why the applicant is applying for the position.  This is especially true if he/she is seemingly going from a higher position to one that is considered “lower”, such as Head of Reference to Reference Librarian, or some other seeming backward movement in one’s career.  The Reference Librarian position may be more challenging or interesting than the Head of Reference position depending on what type of institution the library is in.  Some search committees could make assumptions about why someone is applying for a job, and they may be erroneous.  So an excellent cover letter can help clarify questions before they are asked and/or a candidate is automatically eliminated from the pool.

After the letter, I would say a detailed explanation of current and up to one or two previous positions should be in the body of the resume.   If an applicant doesn’t have pertinent experience, especially if the position isn’t an entry level one, they may not be up to the demands of the  job for which they are applying.  The most important thing in both the cover letter and experience in a resume, is to make the applicant stand out in some manner.  The best way to do that is to be clear and detailed, but concise enough to allow the search committee to see why an applicant should remain viable.

– Sharon Britton, Library Director, BGSU – Firelands

Complete and accurate current contact information.  Languages which can be catalogued.  Why seems self evident to me.

– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

I read a resume carefully. While all of it is important to me, the least important is “job goals” or “career objectives” because if I am reading a resume it is for a specific job. Those silly statements like, “a challenging position where I can best show my personal skills,” really mean nothing. Everything else, I look at and consider.

And since you mentioned resume let me add that I want it on plain paper – no flowers, no scent, no deckled edges, no color, just plain white paper and written in clear, 10 to 12 point type, no fancy fonts or script.

The cover letter can be on personal stationery. But the resume needs to be, for me, workmanlike and to the point.

– Dusty Gres, Director, Ohoopee Regional Library System

Marge Loch-WoutersThe most important part of the resume is a clear listing of your experience as a worker/volunteer.  It’s important not to exaggerate. Try to include relevant experience but skip work experience that isn’t remotely germane (really I’m glad you were a bartender but what does this have to do with a Technical Services position?).

Don’t be concerned with gaps in work history. We have all been struggling since 9/11 and the 2008 economic freefall. You join the many Americans who have experienced employment gaps during this difficult decade. If you feel you need to address this, the cover letter is where that belongs.

Finally, if you feel your work/volunteer experience or experience with the clientele is weaker than you would like, sit down and think of your real strengths/skills (creativity; quick to learn; dependability; etc) and consider listing them so the employer can get some sense of you.

– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

Petra MauerhoffGenerally speaking, the work experience section is the most important part to me. However, it has to be tailored to the position for which I am hiring.
I want to see that candidates have experience doing work relevant to the position for which they are applying. That means, if I am hiring a cataloger, I’d like to see cataloging experience.
I don’t want to have to search the resume or cover letter to see if the experience matches what I am looking for, it should be emphasized with the application.
If the application is from a new grad, then highlighting course work and/or special projects related to the skills required for the position helps. I understand that new grads generally have limited work experience, but if they make an effort to show that they have done something related to the position, it helps a lot.
I like to see each position held in the past listed with bullets for relevant responsibilities and skills used/acquired.
 Some elaboration on skills specifically related to the posted position in the cover letter is always great. It shows an understanding of the position for which they are applying and shows that they are paying attention.
– Petra Mauerhoff, CEO, Shortgrass Library System
Readability, standard format. I want to see your past jobs first. I don’t care, on a resume, about your goals or objectives. Also, make sure it it is up to date. The new task you did yesterday may be exactly what I am looking for.
– Jaye Lapachet, Manager of Library Services, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP
I would say that the most vital information to get across to a hirer on your resume is your skills.  In particular, the key skills you have that match those that will be needed in the job you’re applying for.  A close second would be your achievements – that is, the outcome of using your skills.
Whether those skills are communicated in a separate skills section, or incorporated within your career history section, isn’t so important.  What is important is to ensure that your career history section isn’t just a dry recitation of a list of duties.
It is not advisable to make the assumption that the reader will see “5 years working as Subject Librarian at XX” on your resume and think “that means this person must have the skills I need”.  That is like doing some research for a patron and handing over to them pages and pages of research results, instead of synthesising it into one page of key ‘so what’ analysis points.
Instead, make sure that your skills stand out.  A good test is to hand your resume to a colleague or friend, and ask them to tell you what your main skills are.  If they can’t work it out, or come up with different ones to those you were expecting, perhaps your resume needs a rework.
– Nicola Franklin, Director, The Library Career Centre Ltd.

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 me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  Please leave a comment after the beep. 

BEEP!

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Filed under Academic, Cataloging/Technical Services, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public, Special

We Want to Hire the Best People We Can for the Position – and That’s Not Always the Ones Who Look Best on Paper

James Billington 13th Librarian of Congress

This anonymous interview is with an Academic 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?

1) do you meet the required qualifications (and can I tell that from your docs)
2) did you use your cover letter to tell me what you’d bring here (not just to any job, to this job and workplace specifically)
3) Can you communicate clearly in writing
Doing these three things pushes you above probably 50-75% of the candidates.

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

Misrepresentation of yourself/your qualifications.
Failure to meet the required qualifications – state agency, folks, so if we say it’s required, it really, really is. We try to be very clear about them, so please tell me that you meet them. Preferred qualifications are a different matter – you don’t have to meet them, but it’s really nice if you do have at least some of them.

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

Having it be all about you – and yes, it is about you, but it’s also about us and what you would bring.

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

Show that you’ve looked at the library’s website or the university’s. We put all kinds of documents out there that tell you what we think about things – our strategic plan, the university’s, mission statements…look at that stuff and sell yourself in relation to that. Don’t say “I looked at your website…” but more like “In the University’s strategic plan, I noticed that a focus area is blah blah blah. I can help the university support this university initiative based on my experience doing blah blah blah, (or item related to blah blah blah).

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ As many as it takes, but shorter is better

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Other: CV is diff from a resume. CV is as long as it takes. Resume…1-3 pages depending up how much experience you have.

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .pdf

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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?

Ask intelligent questions about the university and the library. Be personable – all of us are potential coworkers!

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

We’re not ogres. We want to hire the best people we can for the position – and that’s not always the ones who look best on paper. Help us get to know you in your cover letter and interview, so we can see you as a potential colleague. I’m not saying be relaxed – it’s an interview, so put your best self forward. But don’t hide who you really are – whether you fit with the culture here is important to us – and should be to you too, so ask us the questions you need to ask to figure that out on your end.

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

Don’t Waste Your Time and the Space on Objectives in Resumes

Rear Adm. William Hilarides tours the Pritzger Military Library with senior librarian Theresa Embry

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 10-50 staff members.

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

Intelligence and creativity
The candidate has good communication skills
The candidate plays well with others and can work without supervision.

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

If they don’t meet our required qualifications, we can’t even consider them for interviews
Poor people skills/customer service skills, regardless of the type of position. You need to be able to communicate and deal with people.

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

Boilerplate cover letters. Sometimes they don’t even change out the institution for mine. Do your homework. Read up on our institution. Customize it for us!
Typos. This is supposed to be their best work and they didn’t spend the time proofreading?

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

For entry level candidates, they often don’t think to include their involvement with either professional library organizations or student professional library organizations.
Be specific

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, but keep it short and sweet

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ .pdf

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?

Listen to our questions and provide thoughtful answers. Be prepared for our presentations and for our questions. Do your research on us as a library and as an institution.

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

Being poorly prepared
Being overly nervous or overly cocky. It’s ok for a candidate to be somewhat nervous or somewhat confident, but too often they go to extremes.
Not listening to questions, talking over people
Not having questions to ask us

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

As the market has tightened, the pool of candidates has increased significantly. Also we’re now using an online system. Workloads have increased.

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

For us, the cover letter is really crucial. It’s best if you can dovetail it with what we’ve put on the posting. This is where you show us that you can write.
Don’t waste your time and the space on objectives in resumes.
Find a librarian in the field you want to work in. Have them look at your resume and cover letter.

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

A Suit is Not Necessary

Official greeting by the State Librarian at Eagle Farm airport 1954

This anonymous interview is with an Academic librarian who has been a member of a hiring committee at a library with 0-10 staff members.

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

Smart
Qualified for the position
Able to work with us

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

People who clearly are not qualified are never interviewed.

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

Can’t think of anything.

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

Applicants should list all relevant experience completely and honestly. If there’s a good way to explain, say, a 2-year gap in employment, please do so.

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Other

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?

√ Other: file is better than embedded in the body of an email

Should a resume/CV have an Objective statement?

√ No

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

√ I don’t care

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

Answer the questions. “I don’t know” is better than giving us something that’s not the answer to the question asked.

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

See above. Not answering the question. Try not to be too nervous – we’re nice! Coming not prepared – not doing any research on our library before the interview.

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

Not really

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

Dress: nice, but a suit is not necessary. Spend time to research our library before you show up!

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

Even with a High Number of Applicants, It Can Be Difficult to Find Someone Who Meets All the Requirements

Korean librarians visit Yongsan Library

 

This anonymous interview is with an Academic Librarian who has been a hiring manager and a member of a hiring committee at a library with 50-100 staff members.

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

Specific, relevant experience, flexibility and enthusiasm for the profession

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

Spelling or grammatical or punctuation errors in documents, resume and/or cover letter that is not written specifically for the job, lackluster demeanor during interview, badmouthing a former employer or boss and not following application instructions. Also not recommended: pestering the hiring manager with multiple phone calls or emails.

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

Objectives, especially when they say that the applicant is interested in the job he/she is applying for. I already know that! A profile or summary is a better way to start the resume.

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

Specific information relative to the job and why the applicant would excel in the job. Convince me!

How many pages should a cover letter be?

√ Only one!

How many pages should a resume/CV be?

√ Other: No more than two for a resume, a CV can be much longer.

Do you have a preferred format for application documents?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

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?

Show me that you have given thought as to how you would perform in the job, or I will think you are applying to anything and everything. Show me that you have a passion for what you do. Participation in professional activities and organizations – not just membership – shows a commitment to the profession. Teaching or instruction or public speaking skills and experience are always a plus.

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

Assuming that they can bluff their way through without doing their homework about the employer and the job. Expecting to be offered a position fresh out of school that requires years of experience.

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

There is a much greater number of applicants for each opening, but many don’t even meet minimum requirements. Even with a high number of applicants, it can be difficult to find someone who meets all the requirements and is a good fit.

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

Entitlement can hurt you when you are job hunting and after you get hired. You are not entitled to anything. Blaming and negative-ing and complaining can also hurt you professionally In order to succeed you will have to work hard, constantly, for the rest of your career. Build your network, do everything you cannot to burn bridges. Selfish behavior will eventually catch up with you. Don’t expect to get a job and stay there for years and years, let along the rest of your career – that’s just not the way things work anymore.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Academic, Original Survey

Cutesy “attention grabbing” opening sentences…have no place in a professional context

Thomas Lockey librarian

 

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 50-100 staff members.

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

Interest in working with the public
can organize and communicate thoughts
experience

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

No resume.
References to out of date technology (Dialog, BRS, anything with command searching)
Instead of filling in all blanks on application applicant tells me to “see resume”.
Bad-mouthing patrons, coworkers, subordinates or supervisors
Applicant thinks they are perfect; won’t acknowledge ever made a mistake

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

Cutesy “attention grabbing” opening sentences/questions. While they are recommended by resume books for people trying to get hired by major corporations, they have no place in a professional context.
Portfolios. (unless I ask for one)

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?

√ No preference, as long as I can open it

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?

Know your stuff. And answer the questions thoughtfully and succinctly.

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

being unprepared.

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

The best way to prepare for an interview? get a list of 30 or so standard interview questions and practice how you might answer them. Be sure some of those questions are situational – the “tell us about a time when . . .” variety. Think of examples from your life and career how you handled different situations that would answer those questions. Research the library you are interviewing, assess your strengths as a candidate. Be able to answer questions like “tell us about yourself”, or “tell us what experience you have that would be useful to our organization”.

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Filed under 50-100 staff members, Original Survey, Public