ALCTS Job Search Resources

Hi all!

Recently, my awesome friend (and fellow Iowa alum!) Diana Symons shared this listserv discussion with me, and after talking to Tiffany Allen, I got permission to share it here. Since quite a few of us are graduating (our ceremony is today, in fact) and moving on either to more school or to jobs, this seems like a timely bit of info to share. There are some really great tips for students and recent grads about job searching and navigating through the field, and I’d love to hear comments from you about what you’ve tried and where your job search is at! Tiffany Allen also suggested that we share a link to the ALCTS-eforum so our readers can sign up for the listserv and continue the conversation there (after all, that is where all these awesome resources came from, and it would be a great way to talk with people who have done the job search!)
Happy beginning of summer!

Job searching

From the ALCTS listserv:


Managing your online presence and networking

  • If there is information about you online make sure it is accurate, up-to-date, and that you set yourself apart (especially when you have a common name) when possible.
  • Google your full name to see what comes up. Set up a Google Alert of your name, and variations of it, to keep on top of what information about you is online.
  • Word of mouth, referrals, and recommendations are all common ways of hearing about job openings. Make sure you keep in touch with your network and let them know you are looking for a job.
  • Always present yourself positively and in a collegial manner. You never know when someone you meet or when someone who is following you online might be in a position to hire you.

Finding vacancy announcements

  • Volunteering, internships, informational interviews, temporary and paraprofessional positions may all lead to a permanent job. Make the most out of these opportunities while you are in them.
  • Use RSS feeds to manage online job postings.
  • Don’t forget that the institution or HR website may post positions before they are sent to aggregators.

Answering job announcements

  • Applying for a paraprofessional job when you already have an MLS can help prepare you for a professional position or lead to a promotion.
  • Use your judgment to determine if this is a good step for you based on your career goals.
  • If you do not meet all of the qualifications for a job, but you can make a strong case for how you are qualified through other types of experience use the cover letter to reflect this.

Cover letters and resumes

·       Bullet points in resumes—okay, but make sure they contain relevant content in an informative but concise manner.  Use descriptive action verbs

·       Use the cover letter to link your experience to the qualifications of the job.  Be careful with the cover letter—typos and incorrect information are judged pretty harshly

·       If you call to check in after submitting your materials, inquire about the receipt of your materials and the status of the search.  Follow instructions (ie “No call”) in the vacancy announcement.


·       Make sure you ask for permission to use someone as a reference.  And ask if they can give you a positive reference, ie “Would you have time to write a strong letter of support for me?” or “May I ask you to provide a positive reference for me?”

·       Provide references with a “virtual folder” with relevant materials, such as transcripts, CV, the job description and a cover page that highlights the work you did together

·       Be sure to thank your references

·       Provide a brief comment on your reference list about your relationship to the individual (“direct supervisor”, “colleague”, etc…)

Interview prep

·       Informational interviews—call in advance for an appointment, keep to the time commitment agreed upon, and send a thank you note

·       In advance of an on-campus interview, visit the library (if possible), read all materials in the interview packet and read everything you can find online (mission statement, vision, goals…).

·       Sometimes for Tech Services positions, tests (create a MARC record) are administered during the interview

·       Have questions for the search committee—shows professional engagement and interest in the job.

·       Geography can sometimes be a relevant factor in the search process, so if you’re relocating (or are willing to relocate) you may want to indicate something along those lines in your cover letter.


Online presence

·       ALA Midwinter 2010 ACRLNew Members Interest Group panel on Personal

·       Branding

·       Google Alerts (from the posting of Cynthis Wetzel)

·       Labrecque, Lauren I.; Ereni Markos and George R. Milne (February 2011). “Online Personal Branding: Processes, Challenges, and Implications”. Journal of Interactive Marketing 25 (1): 37–50.

·       Slideshare for sharing your presentations

·       Scribd for sharing your documents

·       Social networking with a brain: a critical review of academic sites by Kim Leeder

·       You: The Online Version by Michael Porter aka Libraryman


·       ACRL New Members Discussion Group on ALA Connect

·       ALCTS New Members Interest Group on ALA Connect

· articles on networking

·       Shontz, Priscilla K. Jump Start Your Career in Library and Information Science. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2002. ISBN 0810840847 Chapter 4: Networking

Finding Vacancy Announcements

·       ALA Joblist

·       The Chronicle – Library related jobs

·       Consortia job posting sites

·       LibGig

·       Library Job Postings on the Internet

·       LibWorm


·       NASIG Jobs

·       State and regional job posting sites

·       Temporary agencies that specialize in library jobs Library employment agencies

·       University and college job posting sites

·       USA Jobs

·       Your network! Tell everyone you are looking for a job. Tell them every time you see/meet them, but also be ready to tell them about your career interests and what you have to offer.

Answering the job announcement, cover letter and resume

·       5 Resume Mistakes You’re Making and How to Avoid Them (

·       Avoid These 7 Killer Cover Letter Mistakes (

·       Career Q&A with the Library Career People (

·       Cover Letters, Resumes, and Interviews, Oh My! (

·       Crafting a Winning Resume (

·       How to Write a Resume (

·       Making Your Cover Letter Work For You (

·       Resume Mistakes: The 5 Worst Resume Sins (

·       Shontz, Priscilla K. The Librarians’ Career Guidebook. Scarecrow Press, 2004.

·       Spring Cleaning for Your Resume (

Professional references

·       Career Q&A with the Library Career People (

·       Shontz, Priscilla K. The Librarians’ Career Guidebook. Scarecrow Press, 2004.

·       To Whom It May Concern: A Guide for Giving Employment References (

The Interview

·       The Ins and Outs of Job Hunting for Library Positions by Brian Keith, Assistant Dean for Human and Financial Resources, Smathers Libraries, University of Florida:

·       NMRT First Impressions, Lasting Impressions: Tips for Job Interviews

·       Interview Checklist

·       NMRT Interview advice websites

Categories: Job Searching

6 replies

  1. Thanks for posting this! I’ve only started exploring the links you provided!

    One thing I would add is to run multiple searches for yourself, not just google yourself. Google may be most popular right now, but there are some who prefer other search engines. Yahoo & Bing bring up some results that surprised me — on both, the third result is a profile, in which I linked to a myspace page… I deleted my myspace account at least 3-4 years ago! On the other hand, those other search engines also brought up positive older records, like a “Hall of Fame” of scholarship recipients.


    • That’s a really good point–I haven’t searched myself on different search engines yet, but it would be interesting to see what’s out there!


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