After being on the interviewing side of things last year, it was nice to be on the hiring side this year. I recently reviewed cover letters and resumes for a search and screen committee at my academic library. At times, I wanted to do a “cover letter intervention” (perhaps, a new reality TV show?)!
This spring, I blogged about cover letters, resumes, and interviews. Also, Jenica Rogers on her Attempting Elegance blog had a must-read post on The Torment of Terrible Cover Letters. I would also encourage anyone applying for librarian positions to look at Stephen X. Flynn’s Open Cover Letters website for ideas.
Throughout the process of reading cover letters and resumes, here is the most disconcerting thing I observed:
You write well. I can tell you are intelligent. You may even have an advanced degree beyond the MLS. But your cover letter does not address the points highlighted in the job ad. Therefore, you will not make the cut.
It’s a simple as that. For all the advice out there on tailoring your cover letter, there are plenty of applicants that do not. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Tailor your cover letter!
Cover letter & resume advice:
- If applying via email, do not write your cover letter in the body of the email. Use attachments. Or more to the point: you should follow the directions stated in the job ad.
- Am I the only one that doesn’t like cover letters in bullet point format? I need to asses your communication skills through your cover letter. To me, a bullet point cover letter is a cop-out. I want paragraphs!
- In regards to paragraphs: Your cover letter should not be just one short paragraph.
- Don’t rattle off your job duties in your cover letter. That’s what the resume is for. Instead, use the cover letter to provide examples and anecdotes that relate to the position that you are applying for:
Case in point: if you’re applying for a children’s librarian position, your resume might list doing “story times” as one of your responsibilities. However, you could use the cover letter to highlight some sort of innovative program you did with story time. Or if you are an academic instruction librarian, your resume might list “assessment” as one of your activities. You could then use the resume to spotlight a special assessment technique you implemented with students.
- Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by writing: “I don’t have experience in…” Instead, turn it around and explain how you have transferable or related experience.
- Appearance: pick a standard font. I would stay away from Courier–it looks like a typewriter–and it’s 2011, folks!
- It’s OK if the cover letter goes onto a second page (which is sometimes a no-no in the business world). I prefer this over an 9-point font cover letter with half-inch margins! But if you go over 2 pages, I tend to wonder if you have problems “getting to the point.” 🙂
- Make sure your cover letter and resume looks “clean” in overall appearance – I’ve seen some that look like they have been scanned in and saved electronically. They can be difficult to read.
- I know you are wonderful, amazing, etc… But I always appreciate a cover letter that addresses my library and its needs/mission. Do your homework. Look over the library website and any parent website (university, school, local government, etc…).
- Use common sense: Do not write, “I have experience with personal computers.” You are a librarian; having experience with personal computers is UNDERSTOOD!
- Use “action” words on your resume (e.g., designed, implemented, initiated, managed). Google it! You’re a librarian.
- Remember: There’s a fine line between promoting your abilities and overstating your qualifications. Be careful! Overstating your qualifications will become apparent in a subsequent interview.
So what do we do with all of these cover letters and resumes? At my place of work–a state institution (and I’m sure it’s the same with most private institutions, too), we have a strict set of protocols to follow. We use an Application Review Form that lists all of the criteria that were included in the job posting. The search and screen committee then rates each cover letter/resume based on EACH of the criterion using a scale: below average – average – above average – can’t assess.
The applicants who rank the highest are the ones that make it to the next stage of the interview process. This is why it’s so vital to use your cover letter and resume to address the various points highlighted in a job ad. So what other cover letter and resume advice would you suggest? Let me know!
Library Assistant Cover Letter
Want to make your resume more impressive? Write a cover letter. A library assistant cover letter is generally written to impress the recruiter and coax him towards hiring that particular applicant. It focuses on the special skills and abilities of the applicant. It could be one of the sole factors or reasons a person might get hired for the job. It is not an exact replica of the resume. It just highlights the achievements and qualifications of the applicant. It creates an impression before the recruiter that encourages him to hire that applicant. Thus a cover letter is a vital document that supports the resume.
The cover letter is also called as a motivation letter. Cover letter has four parts: the header, introduction, main body, and conclusion. Following the salutation part in the header, it is important to weave the most pertinent professional details in the heart (main body) of the cover letter. The conclusion refers to the candidate's next course of action.
Library assistant helps the library technicians and the librarians in organizing the material. To become a library assistant in any library, one needs to complete at least a high school diploma. Most of the employers train the candidates at the job itself but if you have a previous course and degree in library assistance that will help you. Some employers also prefer the candidate with prior relevant experience. In the 21st century, libraries are automated and it is important for the library staff to have good technical skills. Any candidate applying for this post needs to have good knowledge of computer functionalities.
In the starting phase of their career, the library assistants handle jobs like shelving the books, magazines, and periodicals, observing the senior staff members, and learning the techniques given by various staff members. Gradually, they perform advanced tasks including the work at circulation desk of the library. The basic job functions of the library assistant are sorting and shelving the material, giving out the library card to regular library patrons, giving out and receiving the library material, mending the damaged books and other material, checking the retuned material to ensure that it is not damaged
How to Write Library Assistant Cover Letter
To write a library assistant cover letter, one needs to remember the following points:
- Always write your name, address, contact number and email address first. Then include any other personal details you think are important.
- After this, enter the date for the letter.
- Then write the designation of the person you are addressing the letter to, the name of the company and the address of the company.
- After this, give your letter a subject (which is like the heading of the letter) and a reference from where you acknowledged the vacancy for the post.
- The start your letter. Keep it short and simple. Make it concise and impressive. Avoid using heavy complicated words and do not make the letter too lengthy.
- Use polite and formal language.
- Make sure you sign of in the end of the letter.
- Last, but not the least, choose a suitable font and font size for the letter to make it legible.
To understand how a cover letter should be written, refer to the following sample library assistant cover letter.
The library assistant cover letter is written in the same manner as the other cover letters. Following the headers and salutation, comes the most important part of the cover letter, which is called body of the letter. In the body of the cover letter, you need to mention the candidate's professional and academic details, which can coincide the concerned the job position. While writing the job roles of the candidate you need to emphasize the major roles such as compiling, sorting and shelving the material, giving and receiving the library material such as slides, books and phonographs, and locating the books and magazines for the patrons. Make sure that the skills and abilities are pertinent to the job profile in question.
Sample Library Assistant Cover Letter 1
4 Becton Drive,
Senior Recruiter, Hemmingways Library
043, College Road East
Fair Lawns, NJ-90321
Dear Mr. Martin,
In pursuant to your advertisement in "Fair Lawn Weekly Magazine", dated December 21, 2011, I am applying for the position of a library assistant in your public library. I have more than four years of experience in library assistance and I have demonstrated my high-level organization skills and communication skills again and again.
I have good knowledge of monitoring the movements of tapes and media coming in and going out of the library. I possess effective IT skills, knowledge of relevant health and safety legislation, exceptional attention to details, and excellent communication skills.
I have completed my GED from St Vincent College, and I also hold a certificate in library management from New Jersey institute of Arts. I am confident that my pertinent skill sets and huge experience will help me to grab this job opportunity and I am sure that I will best suit your job requirement.
I am currently working with Princeton public library for last four years. I have handled regular job roles such as issuing and receiving the library materials, checking the retuned materials, reviewing the records to compile lists, sorting and shelving books, publications and other items, repairing the damaged books and answering the enquiry calls
I have, herewith, attached my updated resume for your reference. I am looking forward to work with you.
Sample Library Assistant Cover Letter 2
67 Stinson Apartments
New York 765947
June 29th 2011
The Hiring Manager
The Tolstoy Library
78 East Palm Towers
New York 765753
Dear Sir/ Madam,
Subject: Application for the post of a library assistant.
Reference: Advertisement on www.example.com
I recently came across an advertisement that enlightened me about the vacancy for the post of the library assistant at The Tolstoy Library. I came across this fortunate piece of information on the website www.example.com. I am forty two years old. I have worked as an assistant at Walter Publications for ten years. I am great at segregating, managing and suggesting books to customers. I am a soft spoken person and people like me the instant they strike upon a conversation with me. I increased the Walter Publications readership by campaigning for the work of high aspiring writers.
I think highly of poets and authors as I am one of them. My artistic flow of words drives me to be with literature all the time. And what way is better than spending days on end at a library? I have been a bookworm for as long as I can remember and my love for books has just augmented. I like literature and have read numerous books both- fiction and non-fiction. During my five years as house wife, I have read and documented the works of various authors and poets. I graduated from the University of New York with a degree in Shakespearean literature.
I look forward to working with a library like yours which has such a myriad variety of books and literary works. I would like to discuss more on these lines and would be obliged to come by your office at a scheduled personal interview slot. I aspire to work as an assistant librarian at your library.
The above example of a library assistant cover letter gives you an idea of how to write your own cover letter. You can alter and change the cover letter according to your needs and requisites of the job. I hope this sample cover letter is a help to you in making an impressive cover letter for yourself.
Also it gives the glimpses of the candidate's journey starting as a fresher in library assistance. It throws light on his most specific skills and abilities.