• Alison King

I helped hire for several positions--avoid these mistakes

Want to know some mistakes candidates made when applying to my former (public library) employer?

1. No relevant experience. Actually, this wasn’t the problem so much as no attempt to tie prior experience to the types of tasks the person would perform. That’s truly not difficult to do, since it’s a job that is customer service-heavy, along with some tech tasks.

A lot of people figure they’ll save this for the interview—but what if you don’t make it to the interview stage? Why not just lay it out on the table that you don’t have exact experience and but have applied [transferable skill] in [what context] to achieve [result]? (And no, “I love books” is not a transferable skill.)

2. Lack of enthusiasm. This often took the form of a cover letter that was clearly identical to the ones they sent to 50 other companies and barely mentioned the position or library—or even worse, had the name of a different company on it.

Or, we got excited about someone who would be a great fit, but when they came in to interview, it was lackluster. I’m not talking about nerves (those are normal); I mean they truly didn’t seem like they wanted the job and like we were bothering them by bringing them in for an interview.

We hired some great people who avoided these mistakes!

Are you worried that your resume is giving the wrong first impression? Let's chat! Email me at copyeditqueen@gmail.com

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