Thing #21: Promoting yourself in job applications and at interview

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 (  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.


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