Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jobseeker Tip 1: CV/Resume Objectives, And A Contest!

**This blog post is first in a series about job search advice as discussed by my happy band of fellow library hiring managers, and is not related to any particular individual applicant from actual past, current, or future searches. All objectives included below are largely fictional, and any resemblance they may bear to actual CV objectives is the fault of the CV writer**

Let's talk about the "Objective" section on your CV or resume. (Or, I'll write, you read.)

Delete it.

No, really. It's a waste of precious page real estate, and while it offers you the opportunity to shoot yourself in the foot, it doesn't offer a similar-sized boon if you get it right. If you make it library-department and library type specific:

"Objective: To obtain a technical services position in an academic library setting"

you'll look like a fool if you forget to then tailor that line when you start applying for reference jobs and public library positions. (Don't laugh; there are too many library hiring managers who have seen this for it not to have happened a billionty times.)

On the other, hand, if you get it right, what is your payoff? You stated your objective is to get the job they've opened. But that doesn't make much sense; they know that. Because you've applied.

Of COURSE you want to:

"Obtain a reference and instruction position in a thriving academic library where I can use my teamwork and communication skills to provide user-centric services."

Nobody ever says they want to work in a complete hellhole where people hate each other, in a department second only to Mordor for its sheer evil, or in a place where they will be disrespected, underutilized and demeaned. Nobody's objective mentions they'd love to come work in an antiquated icebox where they can be punching bags for budget cuts. Nobody mentions wanting to work with folks who are terrified of change, technology, and monkeys. Nobody's objective ever says that they hate working with people and would prefer plying their skills in a me-centric workplace.

Delete your objective. Library hiring managers already KNOW your objective. It is to be hired into the position for which you have applied. We're much more interested in what you've been up to that fills the listed qualifications of the position.

If you have a CV objective, it had better be something worth reading, like

"To work in an academic library where teamwork is achieved over mass agreement on the deliciousness of bacon and its primacy over all other foods."

Or perhaps,

"To work in a library where there is often free, delicious food served at meetings (preferably cupcakes) and extremely casual (read: pajama pants) Fridays."

Contest time. Write me the best job-seeking CV objective you can think of. Make me laugh (or cry). Make hiring managers wish they could meet you and shake your hand. (No idea what the prize will be yet, but I'll think of something. A review of your CV/resume by myself and some of my manager-buddies? Prize recommendations also accepted in comments.)