Meredith Farkas has some tips for library job seekers, and I'm not going to tread on her turf. But I have my own tips that are WAY MORE HELPFUL. You just compare and see.
Meredith says, "Highlight things that you’ve done or skills that you have that are on the list of required’s and preferred’s for that job."
If you couldn't come up with this on your own, you need to punch yourself in the throat. I have seen this often where an applicant doesn't seem to even have read the job description and just posts random facts about their skills and experience.
Before your application even makes it to me, some bean counter has scanned it for keywords to see how closely it matches the ad we placed. So yes, write that shit down just as you see it in our description. If we say, "computer experience," then you don't say, "that thingy what beeps and shows nekkid ladees."
It's 2010: everyone has some computer experience. Here is my BIG DAMN TIP: if you are using a computer right now, open every program you have ever used and (this is in Windows) go up to the menu bar and click on About or on Help then on About the program. And write down the name of the program and the version. We have lots of computers in our library and much of your job will be to help people use them, either by teaching a class or just troubleshooting. So when you say you have word processing experience and I ask, "Which programs?" you should not just sit there and drum your fingers and ask, "Word...tastic?" No Job For You!
Meredith says, "Tell me why you want to work here and why you want this job."
Yes, oh, God, yes! All you have to do is avoid saying something stupid, like you want to read quietly or have job security. Look, all you have to do is quote the library "mission" statement. Here, read the mission of the NYPL: "We inspire lifelong learning...We advance knowledge by providing free and open access to materials..." SERIOUSLY, mumble anything just so long as I hear the words, "advance" and "access" and "learning" and you will fucking get hired. (Getting hired is not a guarantee. Maybe you look funny.)
Here is another thing: visit our website. Look at what we offer. Write it down. I am going to ask you about the DATABASES: name some. We pay a shitload of money for these things and SOMEBODY is going to look at them.
If possible, get to the library 20 minutes early and look around. During the interview portion where I ask if you have any questions, make a comment like, "Oh, your carpet is so clean. How do you get up the blood/poo/gum?" (Hey, if you use Blood Poogum as a character in your next novel, I get credit.)
Okay, I stopped looking at what Meredith has to say...
Don't bring up stuff that makes you look bad. Like don't say you make podcasts or vodcasts or screencasts and then have them be shitty. Show off your good stuff only. Say you know the other stuff, but don't push it if it isn't almost perfect.
Here is my last tip: Lying is good. I am going to ask you about some event from the past, about your previous job, about situations where you had to make decisions: HAVE SOMETHING PREPARED. Answer the question with an appropriate answer. If I ask, "Tell me about a time when you had to kill a library hobo..." Don't say, "My last job, there was a girl, and she didn't like me, and maybe she said stuff about me behind my back, but I didn't care because I always say 'live and let live' and then she quit and everything was okay." Because I will have to kill two library hobos to pay for your offense.