Our Academic Library QandA blog post 5 & 6 are from Dr Kezia Perry, Liaison Librarian and Sam Rennard, Liaison Librarian from James Cook University.

Sam: Academic Library QandA 5

  1. What does the Academic Library selection process look like?

For librarian positions, you usually have an interview and have to prepare and present on a given task related to the library position. E.g. What would you teach in a library class?

2. What steps should I follow to format an Academic Library resume/cover letter/selection criteria response?

Address the criteria thoroughly.

3. How can I highlight and tailor transferable skills from studies to an academic library resume?

Think of which assignments demonstrated particular skills relating to specific selection criteria. What areas do they focus on? Then, add them on your resume.

4. How can I highlight transferable skills from a Public/School library to an Academic Library resume?

It is about looking at the skills you used and seeing how you can apply them – working at a desk = communication skills and experience dealing with customers. Did you deliver any training? (What was the training? Who did you train?, How can it relate?) E.g. teaching adults computer skills/ digital literacy skills)

5. What advice would you give to students/graduates/ALIA Members to highlight volunteering skills in a resume to get the attention of an academic library/selection panel?

What did you do when volunteering? 

Soft skills: Communication, working in a team (general graduate attributes type stuff).

6. What type of Academic Library tools, collection, research and program skills should SNGG learn?

Play with databases and search tools as much as possible – look at the help and use it. Use bibliographic management/Reference Management Software such as EndNote for tasks so you have a good understanding of how it works. Learn about open access, copyright and research initiatives such as FAIR. Get experience doing public speaking and teaching

7. Do you need work experience in an Academic Library to apply for an Academic Library role?

No – it is about selling the skills you have

8. Do Academic Libraries provide professional development opportunities?

It depends on the university, but generally, yes – both internally in the library, throughout the university and externally. University-related training is often free – keep an eye on marketing news and events pages. You need to be able to argue how it will assist your career development and how it will benefit the library.

Dr Kezia Perry: Academic Library QandA 6

1. How can I highlight and tailor transferable skills from studies to an academic library resume?


I came from a research/academic background with a PhD in English, and I applied for my liaison role after teaching English and History at state high schools. 

Transferable skills I was able to highlight: 

  • Being able to teach and explain concepts confidently 
  • Ability to understand and analyse data
  •  Ability to work as part of a large academic team
  • Excellent communication and writing skills
  •  Understanding of the library services.


I also demonstrated how I understood the concepts of digital literacy with examples, and showed them a guide I had written to explain a concept to beginners. I highlighted skills I had learned in my current role to demonstrate ( with examples- which is the key!) how I would use these skills in the new position. 

My skills included collaboration, problem-solving, interpersonal skills, research skills, multi-tasking, meeting deadlines. I showed them I was results orientated, detail oriented, able to rise to challenges. I also made a point to list a skill I was working on to improve ( attention to detail can have downsides, like being too involved in a project and not seeing the bigger picture. I showed them how hiring me would improve library services at JCU. I prepared extensively for my interview- researching the team members, structure, role, etc.

Thank you to Kezia and Sam.

We have three more Academic Library QandA blog posts on the way. If you are an Academic Librarian interested in sharing your advice to SNGG, please email the SNGG team at sngg@alia.org.au to join our Academic Library chat.


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