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.”
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:
- Start with a Bang
- Tell Why You Want the Job
- Highlight Your Success
- Do Your Research
- 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.
- 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.