Libraries and librarians get a bad rap in the digital age. Many people (wrongly) assume your skill set is obsolete.

You and I both know that’s not true.

We both know how valuable your skills are as an archivist of the literary and artistic endeavors of mankind.

Unfortunately, the amount of librarian jobs available is shrinking as more and more resources move online.

To truly stand out among the crowd of qualified candidates, you’ll need a librarian resume that really SHINES.

And we’re going to show you how to make one.

Summary

  1. Resume Template
  2. Formatting
  3. Writing Your Resume Summary
  4. Areas of Expertise
  5. Writing Your Work Experience
  6. Writing Your Education Section
  7. Additional Sections
  8. Resume Points to Remember
  9. Resume “Don’ts” to Remember
  10. Some Helpful Tools

Let’s begin with a sample resume to demonstrate how all the resume pieces fit together. Then we will break each section down to really drill into how to write the best librarian resume you possibly can.

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Librarian Resume (Text Version)

CONTACT INFO:

Peter Willis
peter.m.willis@email.com
(575) 555-0055
123 Dreary Ln. Springfield, MO 65619
linkedin.com/peterwillis

SUMMARY STATEMENT

School Librarian: A dedicated and experienced School Librarian with a background in both public and academic settings. Brings organization, system generation, and initiative to any library setting, with a proven track record of improving cataloging databases and creating learning programs resulting in time-saving efficiency and large impact community outreach.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Research
  • Dewey Decimal System
  • SmartBoards
  • Problem Solving
  • Library Event Management
  • BlackBoard Learning System
  • Highly Organized
  • Library Technologies

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Brentwood Girls School
Springfield, MO | Librarian | July 2014-Present

  • Developed and maintained resources appropriate to school’s curriculum.
  • Lead major database clean-up efforts
  • Collaborated with educators to develop learning programs for Elementary School students

Whitmore Preparatory School
Colombia, MO | Library Assistant | July 2012-July 2014

  • Initiated the implementation of an improved cataloging system in a formerly disorganized database
  • Worked with students to grow their knowledge of computer and research skills
  • Participated in the selection and acquisition of resources for the enhancement of the school’s library

West Plains Public Library
West Plains, MO | Library Assistant | June 2010-June2012

  • Processed check-ins and check outs of books and other library materials
  • Repaired and covered damaged books
  • Designed and conducted weekly Children’s Story Hour for local children

EDUCATION/CERTIFICATION

Bachelor of Arts in English
University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO
Class of 2010

Certificate of Library Sciences
Missouri State University, Springfield, MO

Formatting

As a librarian, organization is already a big part of your daily working life.

That skill is definitely going to come in handy when you’re writing your resume.

Resumes need to be readable not just by human reviewers, but also by bots. (More about that in a minute.)

For human reviewers, you’ll want to use a font that is great for legibility, such as Arial or Times New Roman.

Using something like Comic Sans or a font that is bulkier and takes up more space won’t serve you.

Remember, you have about 6 seconds to grab the attention of the person sorting through the resume pile, so don’t waste your opportunity by using an outlandish font.

Your resume should be neat and tidy, using straight bullet-lists and plenty of white space to guide the eye.

Beginning Your Librarian Resume

Because you have to get (and keep) attention quickly, starting off strong is incredibly important.

What’s the first thing they’re going to see?

Your Resume Summary.

This is a summation at the very top of the page that demonstrates why you are impressive and the best possible librarian they could hire.

Think of it as pitching yourself. You have two or three sentences to really talk about the skills you have as a librarian and how they correlate to the needs of the position.

That’s why your summary should be stuffed full of your “greatest hits.” The aspects of your work history and experience that make you particularly valuable.

Generalities won’t be helpful to you here. You want to be as specific as possible while also not repeating yourself.

Hiring managers often spend only seconds scanning resumes, so you want your awesomeness to stand out immediately.

We promise, if you get your summary right, you are going to have interview opportunities knocking down your door.

Alright, time to put all this in to practice.

Here are some examples of summary statements. One of them is a “Yes!” and one of them is a “No!”

Yes!

A dedicated and experienced School Librarian with a background in both public and academic settings. Brings organization, system generation, and initiative to any library setting, with a proven track record of improving cataloging databases and creating learning programs resulting in time-saving efficiency and large impact community outreach.

 

No!

Great Librarian, experienced with children and organizing resources. Background in English, but certified in library sciences. Dedicated to library sciences and enthusiastic about future opportunities.

Can you see the difference?

Specifics are the primary difference.

Our “Yes!” example illustrates exactly the actions that have been done in previous roles that make the candidate impressive.

The second example uses weak language, is overly general, is not well-written, and doesn’t list any specific skills or qualifications that can be considered impressive or desirable.

Areas of Expertise/Key Accomplishments

Now we know how important the resume summary is.

The only problem is it’s written as a paragraph.

Paragraphs aren’t as scannable as, say, a list of bullet points.

That’s why you’ll want to include your Key Accomplishments, or Areas of Expertise right under your summary.

This list of skills is what really sets you apart, and having them right at the top and easy to read will help the hiring team determine your eligibility as a candidate quickly.

For instance, if you have a proficiency in certain databases or learning systems, this could be what tips the scales in your favor over other applicants.

The downside to bulleted lists is that they do tend to take up space. Keep this in mind and choose your sharpest and most impressive skills to include in your list.

Example:

  • Research
  • Dewey Decimal System
  • SmartBoards
  • Problem Solving
  • Library Event Planning
  • Blackboard Learning Systems
  • Library Technologies
  • Google Drive

Now let’s think through your skills list.

Every job requires a set of skills.

As a librarian, your training, experience, and education have given you all of the hard skills you need to be qualified.

You also come with a bunch of soft skills built right into your glorious self.

What do I mean when I say “soft” and “hard” skill?

Well, let’s break it down.

In the working world, when we talk about skills, we usually mean one of two things.

Hard Skills, which include skills that are teachable, easy to quantify, technical and practicable.

Some examples of hard skills (also referred to sometimes as “Technical Skills”) are things like knowing the Dewey Decimal System or building queries in a database.

They are usually things you were taught in school, learned on the job, and got better at with practice.

Soft skills, however, are harder to quantify.

These can also be referred to as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills,” and generally are personality traits, innate, and not necessarily teachable.

Soft skills include things like problem-solving, conflict resolution, and leadership.

Elements of these competencies can be taught, but generally, they are innate.

As you think through your particular skill set, it can be helpful to get a piece of paper and map out two columns; one for hard skills and one for soft.

Next, pull up the job description and read it carefully.

Compare it to the list of skills you just made and you’ll be able to easily see how your competencies align with what the employer is looking for.

PRO TIP: If you’re having trouble thinking of your skillset, try saying out loud, “I am good at…” and then fill in the blank. For instance, “I am good at research,” then you know you have that skill and can add it to your skills section.

(See below for a helpful table of some suggested hard and soft skill ideas to inspire you in writing your skills section.)

Writing Your Work Experience

Now that you’ve summed up the incredible librarian you are, you can go on to demonstrate your skills through your work history.

Think of your resume summary as your table of contents. Your work history now fills the pages that make up the book.

Only instead of starting with chapter 1, we’re going to start with your most recent position first and work backwards.

Why?

Because as you move through your career, whatever you accomplished most recently is probably the most impressive.

There are exceptions to this, of course.

But even if you aren’t scaling the ladder of success by leaps and bounds,  as opposed to your internship straight out of college.

For this reason, going with the standard reverse-chronological layout is the best idea.

So what does a good work history entail?

How do you get everything important down on one page?

Let’s think it through.

When you wrote your summary statement, you were able to summarize your top career selling points in just a couple of sentences.

Writing your work history is the same idea.

Not everything you’ve done since the beginning of your career is going to be impressive or even relevant.

The skills and experience you should include are the ones that are directly relatable to the job at hand and particularly convey your strongest competencies.

To demonstrate what we’re talking about, see the below examples:

Yes!

Brentwood Girls School, Springfield, MO, Librarian, July 2014-Present
• Developed and maintained resources appropriate to school’s curriculum
• Lead major database clean-up efforts
• Collaborated with educators to develop learning programs for Elementary School students

No!

School Librarian, 2013-2015
• Organized books
• Entered books in the computer system
• talked to children and teachers about books and materials

Notice in the first example that every bullet point begins with a different word.

And it’s not just any word.

They are words that imply action and therefore inspire confidence in your abilities. Each bullet point is unique, specific, and informative. Those are all things you want.

The second example is very general and frankly, not very impressive.

It doesn’t actually say anything about why the candidate is a good choice. It merely outlines some of the basic duties of a librarian without any flair or description.

More About Bots

In today’s job market where SO many applicants are looking for jobs, it’s become common for employers to use what is called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

This means that in addition to getting a human being’s attention, you’ll also have to get your resume approved by a bot.

ATS systems are designed to flag resumes for certain keywords.

Resumes with words that match what the bots have been programmed to see as “good candidate potential” get flagged to be seen by a human manager, while all the others land in the trash.

Because of this, some applicants opt to write their work history as a paragraph as opposed to a bulleted list.

Bullet list example:

Brentwood Girls School | Springfield, MO | Librarian | July 2014-Present

  • Developed and maintained resources appropriate to school’s curriculum
  • Lead major database clean-up efforts
  • Collaborated with educators to develop learning programs for elementary school students

Paragraph format example:

Developed and maintained resources appropriate to school’s curriculum and lead major database clean-up efforts in addition to collaborating with educators to develop learning programs for elementary school students.

If you do decide to go with a paragraph format, you could still call out impressive accomplishments with a bullet or two, such as:

Developed and maintained resources appropriate to school’s curriculum and lead major database clean-up efforts in addition to collaborating with educators to develop learning programs for elementary school students.

  • Developed STEM learning center for grades 5-7
  • Increased collection of academic resources through careful curation of materials

While you can potentially fit more keywords into a paragraph, you are taking a major risk in being too text-heavy for your busy hiring manager and not getting all your best qualities before his eyes before he grows impatient and moves on to the next one.

For this reason, at Big Interview, we recommend sticking to bullet points. You can still make them keyword-rich without the risk.

PRO TIP: Use the job description for the position to help you choose what power words to include on your resume. These keywords specifically will help both bots and hiring managers align your skillset with the job role.

Your Education

You’re doing great so far!

Two of the primary sections of your resume are now completed.

Time to move on to your training and education.

This section is pretty straightforward.

You want to list your highest level of education first.

When stating a degree, also make mention of your minors and/or concentrations.
If you’re just beginning your career as a librarian, many new graduates opt to include their GPA.

When you’re building work experience, your education will be one of your primary selling points.

So if you feel it accurately reflects your academic capabilities, don’t be afraid to brag on yourself a bit.

Go ahead and list your GPA and any semesters you were on the Dean’s List.

Later on in your career, as you’ve gained more experience and have more to include, you can edit your educational information to make space for other accomplishments.

As you gain more work experience, your GPA will become less important in light of your other, more relevant professional accomplishments.

Example:

Bachelor of Arts in English
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Class of 2011
GPA 3.8, Dean’s List Spring & Fall 2009

In addition to your degree(s), any other relevant training you’ve received also goes in this section.

This can include things like certifications, online classes, and relevant seminars and workshops.

Example:

  • “Cataloging Basics,” Weekend Course, La Mesa, CA
  • Certification of Library Sciences, San Diego State University  

    Additional Sections to Include

    If you have space left on your resume and/or other areas of interest that don’t fall into the other categories, you can consider adding more sections.

    Some of the sections you could include are:

     

  • Awards and honors
  • Publications
  • Noteworthy Projects
  • Social Media Influence
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Volunteer Work

    What if You Have No Experience?

    So you just graduated from your dream school with a great GPA.

    Or you’ve finally found your passion in life and you’re ready to make a career change into library sciences.
    The only problem is you’ve never worked in the field.

    Now what?

    Don’t panic!

    We can still help you write an amazing librarian resume.

    What the hiring manager sees first thing is still of prime importance.

    So you’ll still want to begin with a solid summary.

    In this case, your summary will include educational highlights, but once you’ve gained work experience, you’ll want to edit those out.

    Next, move your education section under your summary or objective as opposed to placing it after your work history.

    At this point in your career as a librarian, your education is going to be one of your strongest assets. So keep it close to the top where it can be seen first thing.

    Keep your bullet-lists of job-role responsibilities as closely related to the writing job you’re applying for as possible.

    For instance, don’t mention your stint as a bartender or that summer you worked as a personal driver.

    Non-relevant work information wastes space and doesn’t apply to the role that’s actually being filled.

    You DO however want to mention anything that correlates to the job

    For instance, if you worked at a front desk in college you likely have organization skills, data entry, and communication skills, all of which are relevant to a career as a librarian.

    Spend some time thinking through your selling points and utilize them.

    Were you part of any relevant clubs while in school?

    Have you volunteered at book drives or community library events?

    Did you have a summer job at a bookstore?

    All of these things count as valuable experience.

    You likely have more relevant work history than you realize, so don’t sell yourself short by thinking too small!

    Resume “Dos” to Remember

    Always include a way to be contacted

    This includes your Linkedin profile and email address. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s possible to accidentally overlook something as basic as your contact information when you’re worried about getting everything else right.

    Use space wisely

    You have a limited amount of space to showcase your best points, so don’t waste valuable real estate on non-relevant experience or skills.

    Use strong, varied language

    Active verbs will demonstrate your abilities so much better than vague generalities. However, repeating the same power words over and over won’t work well for you either. Make full use of the array of power words available to you. (We have a table of power words to help inspire you at the bottom of this article.)

    Resume “Don’ts” to Remember

    Don’t use first-person language

    Unlike most writing where you are the subject, it is incorrect to use “I” or “me” in your resume content. This is easy to forget, especially when writing your summary and bullet points, so be mindful.

    Don’t exceed one page

    If you stick to your relevant points, one page should be all you need for your librarian resume. An exception may be if you are applying to an executive position or are otherwise incredibly accomplished.

    Remember hiring managers spend a very short amount of time reviewing resumes initially, so don’t turn them off by the length of your document.

    Don’t repeat power words

    Power words are your friend, but don’t re-use the same ones over and over. There are many strong, descriptive words at your disposal–don’t be afraid to use them!

    Don’t use outlandish fonts or formatting

    Avoid making wild and outlandish formatting decisions unless specifically instructed to do so in the job application. Stick with the tried and true.

    Some Helpful Tools

    Power Words

    • Administered
    • Adept
    • Built
    • Created
    • Consolidated
    • Coordinated
    • Developed
    • Designed
    • Founded
    • Formulated
    • Implemeted
    • Improved
    • Initiated
    • Launched
    • Pioneered
    • Formulated

    Skills List

    Information CurationLibrary Technologies
    Learning SystemsPunctual
    Book RepairDewey Decimal System
    EffecientResourceful
    Project ManagementOrganized