Q: I have been a school librarian since 1998, I would like to work in an Academic Library, I was an adjunct for 1 year at a community college. How would I market myself so that I would at least get an interview? HS students are not that far removed from freshman in college.
TA: In my opinion, it is always the candidate’s responsibility to “sell” his or her candidacy to the hiring institution, and in a way, I think that’s your question: How do I market my experience as a school librarian and community college instructor to be considered a viable candidate for an academic library position? I believe it comes down to three things: your cover letter, your resume and your transferable skills.
Academic librarians do many things, but let’s assume you’re considering a public services position. Look at your experience both as a school librarian and as an instructor and draw parallels between what you’ve done and what the hiring institution is looking for. Try to put things into a context and vocabulary that are similar. For example, talk about the reference and instruction you do, one on one and in small and large groups. Talk about research consultations with upper level students and assisting with the research process. You may also want to draw on your experience as a community college instructor to talk about working with faculty and instructors and students at the college level. Use your resume to document your work history, and your cover letter to draw the parallels between your experience and their qualifications.
It may be a difficult process. It’s a fairly significant leap from school libraries to academic libraries, and it may take some time and planning. Don’t forget librarianship at the community college level or in a smaller academic environment. That could be a nice transition into a larger academic library and may give you the chance to get familiar with students and faculty at the collegiate level.