Q: I graduated with an MLS with school library certification in 2012. How can I update my skills and become more marketable? I have been a classroom and gifted teacher for about 25 years. I also need help updating my resume and possibly working on a CV.
CNW: Without knowing what kind of job you’re looking for, it’s hard to offer specific advice. Generally speaking, you won’t need a CV unless you’re applying for jobs in academia or abroad, so focus on your resume and cover letter. Career Q&A A Librarian’s Real-Life, Practical Guide to Managing a Successful Career gives you tips on the differences between a CV and a resume and on preparing your written materials.
Think back on your activities since you received your MLS in 2012. Have you been employed in a library, or did you continue working in the classroom? Any work experience is helpful. If there is a gap on your resume, don’t ignore it. Explain it briefly in your cover letter and be honest in presenting it on your resume.
If you’ve never worked in a library before, you may want to consider informational interviews with librarians working in the kinds of jobs you think you would enjoy. For example, if you want to be an education librarian at a university, reach out to people currently working in that capacity and ask them details about their jobs. Active listening can help you identify their key areas of responsibility and daily worklife. An onsite visit may also prove enlightening. This will help you identify key skills that you may need to acquire to be a competitive candidate.
If you haven’t already, join local professional organizations and actively network. This demonstrates your professional involvement and can add currency to the dates on your resume. Volunteering is another way to demonstrate professionalism and develop specific skills, if you find a good opportunity. And, if you are currently teaching and have summers off, you could look for a part-time job that would give you the skills and experience you want to update your resume. Finally, since you have a substantive previous career, focus on transferable skills throughout your resume and cover letter.