Resumes and Cover Letters: Ace the (Library) Interview Part 1

Clients often ask me how to prepare resumes and cover letters for a library jobs.  Here are 3 easy tips to get your resume and cover letter interview worthy!

1.  Make Sure Resumes and Cover Letters Apply for the Job

One of the worst mistakes you can make is to send a generic resume and cover letter–especially a cover letter!  I recommend my clients prepare 3 versions of their resume.  Each version should address each basic job category they could see themselves in.  Having multiple versions of a resume is particularly important for early career librarians who are likely to change focus.

To write a specific cover letter try this exercise:  write a cover letter addressing each required and desired skill in the job announcement.  The cover letter should specifically mention your experience related to the requested skill.  The result will probably be very long, but you can edit for length after you have explored how your skills match what the employer wants.

2.  Add Data to Resumes and Cover Letters

Your potential boss will have a much better idea of your experience if you include data on your resume.  Rather than writing, “manage circulation desk,” write, “manage busy circulation desk with approximately 500,000 transactions per year.”  Instead of including, “taught library instruction classes,” say, “taught 30 on demand instruction sessions semesterly.”  Adding this type of data provides a fuller picture of your previous jobs.  It also has the added benefit of suggesting you understand metrics, which is so important to our profession.

3.  Edit Your Resumes and Cover Letters, then Call a Good Friend

Finally, proof-read, proof-read, proof-read.  Make sure your resumes and cover letters are well edited documents.  Then asks trusted friend or colleague to look over your application packet for you.  Be sure to also include a copy of the job announcement so they can check how well you have applied for the specific job.

Continue to Part 2: Interview Research

This is the first in a  six part series that provides useful tips for interviews. Although provided in the context of interviewing for professional library jobs, the information in this series has application for other industries as well.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *