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Academic Librarian Resume Example & Writing Guide

Cataloging your career achievements is the first step toward your next great academic librarian job. Our resume guide, examples and online builder tool will make grabbing that 2022 opportunity as easy as finding a book on the shelf.
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Academic Librarian Resume Example & Writing Guide
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As an academic librarian, you have to anticipate what people will need and make it easy for them to find it. Those are valuable skills that give you an advantage when it comes to writing your resume! 

You’ve decided to begin a job search and that can seem a bit daunting. Whether you are just starting out in the library field or have an already impressive career, this guide plus Resume.io’s builder tool and layout templates will help you turn your professional experience into the open book recruiters want to check out.

You will learn how to:

  • Use keywords and phrases that will get you noticed
  • Develop an engaging profile
  • Make the most of your work experience
  • Focus your Skills Section
  • Choose a layout that gives a great first visual impression.

What does an academic librarian do?

The role of an academic librarian can be as varied as libraries themselves. In the broadest sense, they oversee academic libraries, mostly at universities and other educational institutions. They also maintain and try to expand the library’s collections of documents and historical papers.

Duties vary depending upon the size of the library, but academic librarians typically oversee library operations including budgets and resources, manage IT facilities, oversee and manage library staff, assist library patrons, classify library resources, and much more. 

Academic librarians may be responsible for the cataloging system, choosing which books to dispose of, purchasing new materials and hiring personnel. Some academic librarians also assist with research in their area of specialization. They may work with academic staff to ensure resources are available to them and students are being properly supported. 

How to write an academic librarian resume

Just as you first need an overview of how a library is organized before you use one, you need an overview of application documents before you begin to create one. Your academic librarian CV should contain the following elements:

  • The resume header
  • The resume summary (aka profile or personal statement)
  • The employment history section
  • The resume skills section
  • The education section

Choosing the best resume format for an academic

Our recommendation for the best resume format is reverse chronological order, unless you are changing careers or have taken a more nontraditional path, in which case you may consider a hybrid resume. 

If your training includes highly specialized scientific knowledge, you may choose a functional resume format in which the skills section takes precedence over your experience.

Resume summary example

An academic librarian resume should effectively convey your ability to organize and manage learning resources in an academic library. Your knowledge of research goes far beyond Google!  In your profile, you should give an overview of your research skills and career, but also give potential employers a sense of your professional personality. Tout your biggest successes in library and information science using strong descriptive and action words .

You have about 100 words to capture the essence of your career. This section occupies valuable space at the top of your resume, so this summary must be rich in detail. Don’t rely on your cover letter to convey these facts; be sure to include any information you do not want a potential employer to miss. 

If you want to do more research on the summary section, check out our related resume samples from among our more than 350 . They include a college professor resume example , academic tutor resume sample , research assistant resume sample and instructional designer resume example .

See example content below. 

Academic Librarian with over ten years of experience working in higher education library settings. Adept in cataloging books, maintaining library supplies, updating records, and assisting students and faculty with finding library books and resources. Demonstrating a love of academia and books, combined with a passion for helping others.

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Employment history sample

The employment history section of your academic librarian resume details the path you have taken to reach your current position.  Academic librarians must be able to anticipate what reference services and materials will be in demand and help researchers find what they need. 

Analyze the job listing for each job application you plan to submit. This will help you decide which achievements to highlight. Try to focus on the ones that are requirements for the job you seek. It will also help you pass your first hurdle: the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) designed to scan resumes and eliminate those that don’t include skills your potential employer seeks.

Instead of a simple listing of your previous responsibilities, use the bullet points under each job title to tell the story of a challenge you overcame, how you did so, and the results you achieved. Use data and details that support your successes. How big of a budget did you manage? Were you able to negotiate favorably with suppliers or broaden your network of cooperating libraries? These accomplishments make you a more attractive candidate.

You may have started out as library assistant or in a reference librarian position and are now an academic librarian or are looking to move into that role. Be sure you show a pattern of growth and increasing knowledge of library materials and information science.

See example content below.

Circulation Librarian at The William M. White Business Library, Boulder
September 2013 — Present

  • Assist hundreds of students per week with library searches and library resource tutorials.
  • Work to catalog books and maintain library supplies.
  • Aid faculty members with locating research materials and structuring assignments based on library resources.
  • Implement, troubleshoot, and maintain consistent and reliable operation, delivery, and access to the library’s ILS system.
  • Hold monthly technology training classes for students, faculty members, and library members.
  • Provide library orientations several times per year.

Academic Librarian at John Hart Arts and Humanities Library, Denver
August 2009 — August 2013

  • Worked to ensure that library data and information remained up to date and available for convenient and reliable access.
  • Consulted with the Education Department and faculty on both campuses regarding new acquisitions.
  • Routinely updated records for the library's collections.
  • Assisted students and faculty with using all library resources including computer programs.
  • Maintained and enhanced library collections as needed.
  • Showcased library offerings and updates and offered information when
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Resume education example

The education section of your academic librarian resume clearly lists all your degrees and educational achievements. Academic librarians need master’s degrees in library science (MLIS). It is best if this degree comes from an American Library Association (ALA) accredited school. 

For some positions, you may also need subject-matter expertise and an advanced degree in that subject. Because of this, your education and training are particularly important. If you have several advanced degrees, consider calling more attention to this section of your resume either by moving it up or giving it an accent color.

List all degrees and certifications here. Any honors or distinctions should be noted here as well. Since you most likely hold a degree higher than a bachelor of arts degree, you may leave out your high school diploma. You can list certifications here, or create a separate section highlighting them. 

See example content below.

Master of Science in Library and Information Studies, University of Denver
August 2007 — May 2009

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Academic librarian CV skills example

These skills within your academic librarian resume can make or break your application. Busy recruiters quickly scan your resume to make sure you have the required attributes. Here, you can show them that you not only have the requirements, but you understand what the job truly entails. 

How? By analyzing the job listing and choosing your five to ten highest level skills to put in your skills section.

Academic librarians must have excellent communication skills, but also be adept at research and administration. That means you need to show a balance between soft, or interpersonal, skills, and the hard skills you need to be a fabulous academic librarian.

As you continue your job search, you should be tailoring each resume to the specific job. Your skills section is an easy place to personalize your application by swapping out one skill for another. Try to highlight the highest level skills you have that fit the job description.

See example content below. 
  • Library Technology
  • ISBN Cataloging
  • Excellent Organizational Skills
  • Interpersonal Communication 
  • Time Management 
  • Academic Research 
  • Multitasking
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Resume layout and design

Do not neglect the look of your resume because it is the first visual impression recruiters will have of you. The layout of your resume should be neat, and well-organized, calling attention to your organizational skills. It is important to choose the right template to most effectively showcase your information. For a sleek, tech-savvy look, try one of our Modern  templates to get you started. 

The templates are customizable, but you should follow these guidelines to keep your resume clean and organized:

  • Vary line lengths to leave areas of white space to avoid a cramped look
  • Use clean, legible fonts
  • A little color goes a long way, so use it sparingly
  • Do not get cute with your section titles; you want recruiters to easily find your information
  • Save your file as a PDF to prevent formatting errors that may occur among different programs.

Key takeaways for an academic librarian resume

  • The work of an academic librarian depends to a large degree on the institution and the experience and knowledge of the librarian
  • Your degrees and your managerial skills are key qualifications for a role as an academic librarian
  • Highlight skills and accomplishments that will help you get past the ATS.
  • Take advantage of our resume builder tool and expertly-designed templates to fast-track your job hunt.

By using one of Resume.io's field-tested resumes, and following these helpful tips on the creation of your resume, you will be on your way to finding the Academic Librarian job you are looking for.

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