If you’re trying to transition out of libraries, this is what you need to know…

Orange Polka dots.

You need to be the one to connect the dots.


I often hear from librarians that the prospective employer seemed to like them in the interview but expressed that they don’t have enough experience or that their librarian skills don’t translate to the new role/industry.

Here’s the tough love: It is YOUR job (not theirs) to make the connection between your skills and their needs.

Hiring managers are busy. They don’t have much to go off of when deciding whether to interview you. Typically, it’s just your resume and cover letter that indicate to them whether you may be qualified for the job and should be asked in for an interview.

That’s why it’s so essential to make sure your resume is targeted to that specific position (using the language of that position/field) and clearly demonstrates that you can solve their problems or fill their specific need. It also needs to be branded to show how you could do that job better than others.

This may sound impossible if this is a new job function or industry for you. But trust me, it’s possible IF your resume shows that you have the necessary experience—even if it was gained/practiced in a library setting instead of [new industry/position title].

Again, you must connect the dots between your experience and their needs. You should leave as little doubt in their mind as possible. This works even better if you’re strategically networking with the hiring manager and/or others at the company.

Focus on showing your relevant experience and speaking to their priorities—that will help you land the interview. And you MUST research that industry and learn to speak about your skills in the same way they do—otherwise, your value may get lost in translation.

Connect 🔴 the 🔴 dots. Because if you don’t do it for yourself, no one else will.

Next up: What happens when you land the interview…but they express doubt that your experience is relevant or transferable? Check back to find out!

👑I’m Alison King, and I help librarians make the next bold leap in their careers.

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