This summer, SCALA hosted our annual Interview & Resume Workshops in Kansas and Colorado!  Amazing professionals from a variety of library types provided one-on-one resume review, answered tough questions and gave us some great advice.  Here’s a few highlights from the day:

Cover Letters (aka, the Crown Jewel of Your Application)

“Cover letters can cover a multitude of sins.”

-Elena Rosenfeld,

Associate Director of Community Engagement, High Plains Library District

  • It all goes back to the cover letter.
  • The cover letter is your chance to translate your experiences into why you are a good fit for the organization.
  • It should be different and customized based on each position you apply for.
  • Share stories!  Stories are powerful and showcase your writing ability.
  • Follow these 5 Steps for Success:
    1. Start with a Bang
    2. Tell Why You Want the Job
    3. Highlight Your Success
    4. Do Your Research
    5. Explain Why You Fit the Position

CVs or Resumes

“It doesn’t need to be comprehensive.  It needs to be specific.”

-Gene Hainer, Assistant Commissioner/State Librarian, Colorado State Library

  • Speak to the position you’re applying for.
  • Notify your references ahead of time!
  • Color or no color?  Chronological or skills based?  A lot of it comes down to the reviewer’s personal preference and the position you’re applying for.  There is no single right formula…
  • But “if it’s not going to help, it could hurt” is a good rule of thumb.


“Every job interview is as much about what you want from us as we want from you.”

-Nicole Jones, Campus Librarian, Colorado Technical University

  • Show up early, but not too early.
  • Don’t sit around playing on your cellphone while you wait.
  • Practice for phone interviews- time yourself!  Try not to go on for more than 2.5 minutes.
  • Smile!
  • Always ask SUBSTANTIVE follow up questions, not just when you will hear back
    • Where do you see the organization in five years?
    • What kind of support do you offer for professional development?
    • What challenges are you facing?
    • What do you immediately need from the person in this position?
  • Always end on a positive
    • What exciting thing is your organization doing next?
  • Don’t talk about your cat’s latest intestinal surgery.
  • Seriously.

Want more?

Check out our resources for job seekers!

And watch the full workshop recordings here:


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