A recent post on Attempting Elegance, “the torment of terrible cover letters,” brought to mind a topic that came up in a discussion a while ago. There is a lot of excellent advice out there (including the post mentioned above), but where can students and new librarians go to have their cover letters reviewed?
While advice on what to do and what not to do is really helpful, the experience that helped me the most was having my cover letter reviewed by an experienced librarian. I took advantage of the “Resume Network” at my library school program, the University of Missouri, and it made a HUGE difference in the quality of my cover letters. While I was trying to follow the advice I had read, I was mentally discounting some of my experiences. For example, as a former anthropology grad student, experience teaching university courses doesn’t seem worth mentioning — most of my friends had done it too — but my reviewer saw that as something that help me would stand out. So I highly recommend having your cover letter reviewed by someone who knows the job market!
However, I’ve come across posts from other job-seekers who are wondering where they can turn to get their cover letters reviewed. Some seem to have found an abundance of resume/CV review options but none for cover letters. One post even referred to the ALA New Members Round Table Resume Review Service as a place to go for resume help, but didn’t realize they do cover letters as well!
So, below is a list of places to turn for reviews that I have found so far. You do generally have to be a member of the organization offering the service to be able to use it.
- ALA New Members Round Table (NMRT) Resume Review Service
- They will also review cover letters via email.
- Update: You can also have your cover letter reviewed at conferences, but keep in mind that appointments are only for 30 min. total.
- Canadian Association of College and University Libraries – Re:Generations Resume Review Service
- Note that cover letters may also be submitted for review.
- Music Library Association’s Résumé and Cover Letter Review Service
- Career Connections Group on ALA Connect
- This one doesn’t seem incredibly active, but it may be another place to get feedback. The one drawback is that the posts show up in google searches — so keep that in mind when posting!
- North Carolina Library Association’s Resume and Cover Letter Review
- Resume & cover letter review services offered through your ALA accredited program.
- University of Missouri’s Resume Network — They don’t seem to have a webpage set up, but this service is available to all SISLT LIS students. Email me for contact information.
If you know of more places to have your cover letters reviewed, please add to the list, either in the comments or by emailing me!