Job Search Advice For School Librarians

Now that the end of the semester and graduation are quickly approaching, it means the job-hunt frenzy has begun. It is scary to be almost done with school and about to start a professional job (hopefully). It’s hard to believe that this time would come, but I welcome the change with openness, hope and optimism.

Here are some things I have learned that have helped prepare me for the job hunt for a school librarian position:

Resume

  • Create one template resume that has all your experience, internships, education, volunteer work and employment history. For each job you apply for, take bits and pieces from the main template to put into a new resume. Tailor each resume for each job
  • Use sharp adjectives and verbs to describe experience
  • No typos or grammatical errors
  • Have a career adviser edit and provide feedback for your resume

Cover Letter

  • Include descriptions from the job ad in the cover letter, and how your experience/expertise matches the description
  • Look at the mission of the school district; see if their values match yours. If so, include that information
  • Use simple sentences, and feel confident about what you write. This may be the only chance to make a memorable impression
  • Somewhere, include a vision about your goals for a library space
  • Have a career adviser check your cover letter

References

  • Compile a list of references. Make sure there are a mixture of internship/practica supervisors, bosses or professors
  • Ask permission from these people if they would be willing to serve as a reference
  • Always send a thank-you note when the job search is complete

Portfolio

  • Ensure your portfolio, blog or website are updated. Make sure there are no broken links or errors
  • Keep information consistent across social networks and websites

Job Boards

  • Make a list of websites or job boards that post job ads. Check these often
  • Join listservs
  • Search the local paper for job advertisements

Other

  • Buy a suit or business-professional outfit
  • Research the district you applied for if you are called in for an interview. Understand its mission, goals and values
  • Keep track of your NYS certification status. Make sure you have fingerprint clearance, have passed the required exams and have filled out necessary paperwork
  • Have fun, and relax
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3 thoughts on “Job Search Advice For School Librarians

  1. I agree with all of this, but a word of caution. Don’t go overboard in your cover letter. The cover letters that I tailored to show how I matched the district’s philosophy got me no interviews. The generic, simple cover letter that I posted to olasjobs.org? Every district I applied in interviewed me. My only explanation is that perhaps in trying to show how good of a fit I was, I included too much fluff. Stick to facts and evidence of your effectiveness – make it quick and easy for the reader to tell if you’re qualified or not.

  2. Another word of advice is to post your resume frequently on boards like Monster or Washington Post. Weirdly enough, I had more luck getting interviews with people who saw my resume and contacted me first than jobs that I actually applied to.

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