Drop-In Resume Review

Monday 12:30-2:30 p.m.

Bertha Chandler, Assistant Director for Human Resources at Cambridge (MA) Public Library, Patricia Banach, Director of the Eastern CT State University library, Pat Hollaway, Director of West Hartford (CT) Public Library, and Christine Donohue, founder of The Donohue Group, review your resume and make suggestions for improvements. Take advantage of this helpful session to update your resume, even if you are not currently job hunting.

Even though this was a highly personalized session based on the resumes participants brought in, I’ll post some helpful tips from the handouts given.

Personalized Resume Review from Ms. Donohue:
(Note: I am a career changer seeking a pre-professional position and my resume reflects that. Your mileage may vary.)
– Add MLIS studies, if you are working towards one.
– Don’t hesitate to add volunteer experience, especially if you are working in a library.
– Avoid overloading your resume skillset with jargon from your previous career, especially if you are apply for an entry-level/pre-professional position. Better idea: Read the job description and then “parrot” the skills required by the job onto your resume.
– Mention the career change in your cover letter.

Tips for Resumes and Cover Letters (Ms. Banach)
1) Correctly spell the name of the person to whom you are addressing your letter.
2) Tailor your cover letter to the specific job to which you’re applying. Mention the specific job title.
3) Specify how you can fulfill each of the job requirements in your cover letter.
4) If you have non-library experience, include it anyway if it shows a high level of responsibility, or management experience.
5) Apply via email and attach your resume and cover letter.
6) Follow up with a printed, signed letter and resume on good quality paper.
7) Make sure your resume looks professional.
8) Arrange your resume in chronological order.
9) If there are gaps in your resume, explain them in your cover letter.
10) The cover letter can be more than one page if there are numerous job requirements or if it’s for a senior position.
11) Do not call and follow up multiple times unless you fail to get an acknowledgement that your application was received.
12) If you’re lucky enough to get a phone or personal interview, always send a thank you note to each interviewer, preferably by mail immediately after the interview. Reiterate your interest and emphasize how much you want to work for that specific employer. Fit is important.

Cover Letters/Resumes/Interviews/Follow-up (Ms. Chandler)
– No typos
– Network for background (talk with people who know the library/organization, if possible)

In your cover letter:
– What do you know about the community and why is it a good match for you?
– What ‘added value’ you can offer
– One page
– Include references (or bring a separate page to the interview)

In your resume:
– At the beginning, list your exxperience which relates to the job for which you’re applying
– Make it simple for a reader to follow your employment history and education — explain gaps
– Make your contact information easily readable

At your interview:
– How you dress matters
– Firm handshake, sit up straight, look people in the eye, smile
– Be concise but pithy (precisely meaningful) in your answers
– Read the body language of the interviewers
– Practice ahead of time — read books, read the Internet, etc.
– Bring some written questions

– Email is ok
– Handwritten note is even better (send it after 1-2 days)

Tips from Ms. Donohue

Resume guideline document: http://www.crummer.rollins.edu/career_management/skills/resume.PDF

some not-so-obvious guidelines:

a) Remember that the resume is primarily a key to getting the attention of the employer..use it as a tickler that will set the stage for more in-depth discussions if you get an interview.
b) Learn as much as you can about the company/institution to which you are applying before submitting your resume. Incorporate this knowledge in your cover letter.
c) Look at the resume from the point of view of the prospective employer. Is there anything that would spark your interest if you were doing the hiring? Is there anything that would seem irrelevant or inappropriate?
d) Ask a colleague to review your resume and give you comments/criticisms.
e) Be neat, not cute. Negative attention is worse than no attention at all.

Additional resources:
Interviewing Styles: Tips for Interview Approaches by Nita Wilmot
Sample Interview Questions
More Sample Interview Questions (courtesy of the Boston Sunday Globe)