Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Heads up

Here are the following typical headings on a librarian's resume:
  • Contact information: which includes your full name, sans nicknames or slogans, your geographical address (one where you will receive your mail for the next six weeks after applying for a position), your phone number, your email address, and a relevant professional website that you maintain. Required, and double check it because so many people are so used to glossing over this area that they don't realize that they have made typos, or that information is out of date. (If you have some name confusion, please review this earlier post about changing names, nicknames and English names.)
  • Highlights of qualifications: A list of 3 to 5 verb-led phrases that provide important information for the resume reviewer, and are relevant to the position they are preparing their interview list for. At your discretion, but if you have some important skills, such as managing a significant budget for collections, or that you have conducted professional work in a bilingual setting, amongst other potential "preferences" that you want the reviewer to know about, place them here. 
  • Education: Typically placed before professional experience on a student or new professional's resume. This helps the resume reviewer establish that you have the required education, such as a graduate degree in library studies from an accredited institution. If you are not finished, you can include the month/year that you expect to receive your degree. Include relevant post-secondary education that led to a degree. Required no matter how far along you are in your career. 
  • Professional experience: What libraries have you worked in? What did you do? What types of positions have you held? You can include unpaid professional experience in this section if you have no other relevant paid experience. Required.
  • Work experience. You can use this section to talk about other work experience that you have had--waiting on tables, working as a personal trainer--where you did not work as a librarian. Try to limit it to the experiences you had to pay for school, and don't go back to the first job you had stocking shelves in junior high. Limit to the last 5-7 years (accounts for grad school and undergrad). This section is useful if there were some periods that you didn't work as a librarian or in libraries, but still worked, and can help you account for gaps. At your discretion, but some of these experiences can help you as a librarian--not all of us have trust funds to put us through school, and some libraries are smart enough to appreciate people with diverse backgrounds. 
  • Public Service: typically where you place your volunteer or unpaid experience. Select relevant and/or long-term volunteer commitments, not the list of 5K fun runs where you gave directions at intersections for an hour. At your discretion, but if you have relevant volunteer experience that will appeal to the reviewer, or have volunteered successfully at the place you are applying to work at, leaving your volunteer experience off is silly.
  • Publications: If you have any relevant professional publications, include a brief bibliography. Don't catalog every blog post you have ever written or every book review. Instead, mention a best representation of your relevant professional writing. At your discretion, but required for academic positions.
    • You may also want to create a section for conference presentations, or combine it with conference presentations and publications.
  • Certification: Here is where you put any other relevant certification or education that you have pursued that will enhance your work in libraries, such as computers, languages, or additional training that did not lead to an undergraduate or graduate degree. At your discretion, but how do you know when to include it or not? Well, if you are SCUBA certified, an academic library may not care, but an museum of marine studies or a special library position with an underwater archeology collection or emergency services unit might be interested in this special knowledge that you possess.
  • References: most library positions don't let you get away with references available upon request. You need three professional references, attached on a new page. Your current supervisor, your previous supervisor and a professor (if you don't have three former work supervisors as references) will work fine. Required.

Now of course you can have additional sections, such as your work on committees on campus, or a career objective, but I think that these are the best basic ones that should be on a librarian's resume.

No comments: