Maybe you love your job. Maybe not so much. Maybe you plan to be in teen services forever or maybe you want to move up into management. No matter your situation it is unlikely that you will stay in the same position for the rest of your career.
In an effort to make interviews more fair and better predictors of job performance many organizations use behavioral interview questions like “Tell me about a time when..”. The type of answers they are looking for fit the STAR model:
1. Situation: Open with a brief description of the Situation and context of the story (who, what, where, when, how).
2. Task: Explain the Task you had to complete highlighting any specific challenges or constraint (eg deadlines, costs, other issues).
3. Action: Describe the specific Actions that you took to complete the task. These should highlight desirable traits without needing to state them (initiative, intelligence, dedication, leadership, understanding, etc.)
4. Result: Close with the result of your efforts. Include figures to quantify the result if possible.
Knowing this ahead of time there are things you can do now to help you be a better job candidate and have a better interview in the future:
If you’re a younger librarian you may have had to create a portfolio in grad school and this is much the same concept. Keep your own file of your accomplishments that can go with you when you leave. This might include copies of your monthly and yearly reports, program fliers and other materials you created, thank-you letters from members of the public, and material from professional development opportunities you’ve presented or participated in.
If you have an interaction with a patron or other department where you feel you provided top level customer service, or a time where you handled a tough situation well, jot down the details and tuck it away. It’s much easier to talk about your accomplishments if you have these things to remind you.
Update Your Resume Now
You never know when the next great opportunity will be posted and it’s much easier to use action words and results-oriented language when things are fresh in your mind. Seek out current resources on best practices in resume writing and understand how your resume should or should not change as your career progresses.
Look for Opportunities
If you don’t have the autonomy in your current position to do things like innovate, collaborate with other departments, or show leadership you can get this experience by volunteering for projects outside of your normal job description, looking for volunteer positions in your community with leadership potential, or by joining local or national library association.
If you are a hiring manager what other advice would you give?