Résumé Tips for Filling Out Your Skills
In looking at your résumé, it is important that you remember that the reviewer
(whether a person or a computer) is looking to understand what skills you bring to the position. A bullet point listing of duties at a job does not differentiate you enough from others.
Think about who you are. Have you been given increasing responsibility? Have you proposed process improvements? Have you volunteered in the community? Have you managed volunteers or events? Have you handled a problem patron?
Think about what your MLIS or Graduate Certificate gives to you? Is there a key student project or paper that fits in with the potential job? Is there a link to a project that you can include? Are there niche courses that would differentiate your skills for that particular job? Have you written a process manual? Have you evaluated a new technology?
Think about the technologies in which you are most competent. List everything that you have been exposed to on every level. Grade your comfort level as you would a foreign language. For instance, you may have basic knowledge of DSpace or Millennium but feel advanced in HTML or Omeka.
Think about your other life experiences and what skills they bring to this job. Were you in retail? Then you may have a strong customer service background. Were you a community activist? That shows strong community involvement. Were you a teacher? That shows an ability to instruct patrons. Were you a computer technician? That shows an ability to problem solve technology.
Most Common Weaknesses:
1) Résumé written for past careers
Your résumé needs to show your information skills now. You can present past jobs but re-write them to emphasize the information skills that you utilized then. You want to build your case as an information professional.
2) Résumé lacking commitment to community or profession
You need to be involved in conferences, student groups, regional professional groups, etc. Get involved in committee work, publish a small article in a regional newsletter or submit a research poster proposal to a conference. Work with a colleague and write a full article. Do a survey and publish the results. Show your interest in making the field better.
Common résumé questions:
1) Can a résumé go to a second page?
Yes! If you look at the complexities of job postings in our field, it is necessary to cover extensive skills.
2) Should I apply if I don’t meet all the criteria?
If you have about 85% of the skills, then apply. With the complex postings it is unlikely an institution will find the right person with all of the skills so focus on your strengths and apply.
3) How far back in my chronology should I go?
There is no universal answer for this. It depends on how you can relate that experience to the current job posting. You can skip some jobs that are not as directly reflective of the information skills for a position. Feel free to note a really key skill from an older position. Remember that the employer wants to know what you offer for this job and some other positions may not be relevant. Include what makes sense for this job.
4) I have a diverse background will it look like I am undependable?
In this case, you may consider a skills based résumé which focuses on your depth of skill regardless of job title or discipline.
Here are some examples of this type of résumé.
Feel free to set up an appointment with Career Advising to help with job application materials or for more information look to the Career Advising page: