In October I wrote a post called “Interviewing for a Cataloguing Position: A Two Way Street“. In one of the comments, I was asked if I could write something on cover letter and resume writing.
While there’s a lot of information available in our profession about this, I found that, in the end, it wasn’t until I found my own personality and “voice” within my cover letter that I finally received call backs for interviews.
It isn’t an easy thing to do, applying for a job. You’re nervous, wanting to fit in as much information as possible, follow all of the rules and tips you’ve been told and read about and STILL, once you hit send, you find that error, misspelling or incomplete sentence. It happens to all of us. But, what stands out in a cover letter is the homework you’ve done on the position or organization you’re applying to, and your personality.
Hiring is an interesting thing. I may be hiring a cataloguer, but it might be your experience as a professional musician or freelance writer than really attracts me. If you don’t pull out some unique tidbits about yourself and figure out how it fits into the position you’re applying for, you may miss out on a fantastic opportunity.
For instance, an applicant with a background as a musician tells me you’re creative, dedicated and self-disciplined. A freelance writer tells me you’re good at description, editing and pulling out interesting facts/details that will benefit a bibliographic record. While at first your background may not appear relevant – many times, it is. But I like to read about how YOU feel your background makes you a unique and better candidate that someone else.
The worst thing an applicant can do is summarize his/her resume. If you’ve provided your resume, I can see what you’ve done. But, how does it apply to what we’re looking for? Can you address a need that you’ve recognized in our system?
It takes a bit of homework and extra effort, but the work pays off. Once you hit on a “voice” in your cover letter that works for you, you will find that employers will start to call. It won’t happen over night, but it will happen.
In the meantime, I’ve created a Sample Cover LetterSample Cover Letter with comments in the margins. Feel free to take a look at this cover letter, with my own opinions on what I think are important. All of these comments helped me find my “voice” and I went from not receiving any phone calls for interviews, to receiving a phone call for almost every place I submitted a resume.
And, in addition to your cover letter, here are a few things you should think about doing while looking for a job:
1. Book reviewing. Get yourself out there and publish! Not only do you build your professional book collection, but you’re learning about other professionals’ work in the field and practicing your writing skills.
2. Submit articles to journals on professional areas of interest. Whether it’s a short piece for a small journal or a large, scholarly piece, try submitting an article for publication. This alone will impress future employees. If you aren’t sure how to do it, try to collaborate on an article with a professional working in the field.
3. Attend local conferences and/or workshops and make it a point to network.
4. As crazy as it sounds, offer to work for free for a week or two. In a non-union environment, this is a great way to make connections, learn, show off your own knowledge and, not only gain a potential reference but, perhaps even a future job.
Librarian cover letter
View this sample cover letter for a librarian, or download the librarian cover letter template in Word.
As a librarian, you know how compelling a great read can be. To be considered for top librarian jobs, your cover letter must demonstrate your skills and experience, as well as your passion for literature and working with people. For writing tips, view this sample cover letter for a librarian, or download the librarian cover letter template in Word.
Additionally, you can learn about education careers and look for librarian jobs on Monster.
Librarian cover letter template
Sometown, MN 55555 | (555) 555-5555 | email@example.com
October 4, 2017
Ms. Tamara Fields
Director of Human Resources
ABC School District
55 Apple St.
Sometown, MN 55555
Dear Ms. Fields:
The middle school librarian opening advertised on Monster is an excellent match to my qualifications.
For the past 5 years, I have worked as a children’s librarian for Sometown Public Library, where I have made it my mission to empower children, adolescents and teens to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skilled researchers and ethical users of information. In this role, I have earned a reputation as a “trailblazer” in launching new or expanding existing programs, services and resources. Examples include:
- Collections Development: My recent efforts have been focused on broadening the diversity of the library’s youth fiction titles to emphasize the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. I expanded works by African American, Latin American, Asian American and Muslim American authors, which resulted in the library winning the prestigious “American Library Association Diversity Award” and an accompanying $5,000 grant for further collections development.
- Digital Technologies: I helped create and launch the library’s new mobile app for smartphone devices, allowing fast and easy lending renewal. I was also instrumental in developing the library’s new digital collection, providing users with the ability to instantly download hundreds of book and movie titles to their e-readers (Nook or Kindle) during the 2-week borrowing period.
- Literacy Program: I introduced a bilingual literacy program for children and families that has tripled in attendance since its launch 3 years ago to a total of 350 enrolled participants.
Dedicated to continuing professional development, my credentials include a master of library science (MLS), a BA in education and licensure as a state-certified Library Media Specialist.
I am passionate about instilling a love of reading and learning within all library patrons. If you agree that my background is well suited to your needs, please contact me at (555) 555-5555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.
See all sample cover letters on Monster.