I have spent many hours in the past two years applying to library jobs. I want to put my best foot forward when applying for a job; there are so few jobs that I feel like I can’t afford to make a mistake. Most of my job advice comes from the Ask a Manager blog by Alison Green (http://www.askamanager.org). She gives advice about job hunting that is appropriate for current times and accurately portrays what most hiring managers are seeking in a candidate. Per her advice, I have a system when applying for a job.
First, I print the advertisement and use a highlighter to mark all of the skills required or desired. Then I add to my basic resume to demonstrate my experience using those skills in a work environment. I try to show my accomplishments rather than just listing my job duties. I go to the institution’s website to find out the mission and identify things that are important to the institution. I use this information to write a custom cover letter. I have someone else check my application materials to make sure there are no typos and submit it.
If I am offered an interview, I do more intensive research. I go back to the institution’s website and make notes about what they do. I try to find a list of staff and check to see if I am connected to them in any way via LinkedIn. I try to identify at least one unique thing that they do that I can speak to in an interview. Finally, I practice standard interview questions aloud and try to think of stories to fit with behavioral questions. (Tell me about a time you…)
This process is time-consuming, but I’d much rather be over prepared than under prepared. I am interested to know how others promote themselves.