by Leigh Milligan, Head Editor, INALJ Wisconsin
Open Cover Letters
One of my favorite websites that gives me motivation during my job search is called Open Cover Letters. This website is a collection of anonymous cover letters submitted by hired librarians and archivists. Each cover letter is titled by the position that the anonymous person wrote the cover letter for. The website even breaks down the letters into categories such as the different types of libraries. This all is extremely helpful, especially when I am looking for motivation to apply to a specific type of library job, for example, Youth Services.
How do I know these letters are legit? The creator of the website Stephen Flynn looks into each letter he receives and makes sure the librarian was hired at said job by a Google search or by checking an e-mail address. Check the FAQ out more information about the website.
The cover letter is one of the most important aspects of the job search process because it’s the first impression an employer will get of you. It’s the first impression that will either get the employer to read your resume or put it in the discard pile, or it could be the first impression to achieve an interview. It is also the area of the job search process where most struggle, including myself.
There are many great websites out there that focus on sample cover letters and job search tips for librarians, however this is the first website I have come across that just focuses on cover letters for librarians and archivists, which is great for me because it is the field I want to work in. It is also very motivating that these cover letters actually achieved results for a real librarian or archivist, and are not just samples. It gives me hope that I will be able to find a library career and that some day I will be able to write a great cover letter and then become part of the library-working world.
This is my favorite cover letter to date: http://opencoverletters.com/2012/04/01/a-fuzzy-cover-letter/. It first attracted me because I myself am a crazy cat lady. It also shows how uniqueness and creativity is a great quality of librarians that most hiring librarians are looking for their employees to bring to the table. If done right, like this cover letter, it can achieve fantastic results!
Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job). Founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard, INALJ’s social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ.com. INALJ has had over 18.5 Million page views and helped thousands of librarians and LIS folk find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in a month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 & 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro. She presents whenever she can, most recently thrice at the American Library Association's Annual Conference as well as breakout talk presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa and as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting, at the National Press Club, McGill University, the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She was a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and has served on the University of Maryland iSchool Board from 2014-2017. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has relocated to being nomadic. She runs her husband’s moving labor website, KhanMoving.com, fixes and sells old houses and assists her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food as well. She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. View all posts by Naomi House →
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May 9, 2014
RE: Archivist, 10/27/2014
Dear Robert Williams,
As a dedicated archivist and librarian with more than 15 years of progressive experience in archival science and public history, I am excited to submit my application for the available [position title] position on your team.
My comprehensive hands-on experience will make me an excellent addition to your organization. Throughout my career, I have been successful in managing projects, developing disaster management plans, and conducting genealogical and historical research. Additionally, I performed extensive research on women's issues, disabilities, and LGBT rights and co-curated Changing Faces: Civil Rights at MTSU, 1965-2000 in February 2000. Furthermore, I expertly arranged and administered preservation on three deed-of-gift collections (49,000+ pages) at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.
My extensive training in archival science, collections management, and preservation techniques, combined with my commitment, have effectively prepared me to take next career step in archival science and information science. I would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your team, and to discuss how I can address the unique challenges of this position in order to add value at [Company Name].
Thank you for reviewing this letter and the accompanying material.