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Attire for entry-level librarian interviews April 27, 2006

Posted by jennimi in About me, Image of Librarians, Library School, marketing yourself.

Great cross-post by burlapwax over at Washtublibrarian, (quoting from an AUTOCAT survey on heidihoerman.com) about interview attire. Having interviewed for many professional positions, and served on interview committees, I think the advice is sound and generally applies to anyone. When in doubt wear a suit! I was recently stressing about how to afford one and a coworker suggested JCPenney for good sales – they were right. (And Penney’s has petites, and various inseam options! Yay!). Thrift and consignment shops can also be great options for tight budgets. Always present the best YOU you can at an interview. University at Buffalo students can access Career Services for help preparing for interviews and writing resumes.

Personal story: About ten years ago a case management supervisor of mine called me into her office to talk with me about wearing a sweatshirt and jeans to work. I was young, and was assigned to conduct a home visit at a very unhygienic home that day (bugs, food decay, other unmentionables). I didn’t mean to offend, just thought I would dress for the job that day. I felt pretty embarrassed about the reprimand from my supervisor but she said something that has stuck with me for years and has always served me well (and, I promise, will be relevant to the original topic):

“Don’t necessarily dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want“.

Of course there are many complexities and issues with this statement, but overall it is a very good mantra. While we’re students, our employers and practicum supervisors tend to be really understanding about our financial situations and the fact that we may be wearing the same thing for 14 hours (class, lab, practicum, then job, all in the same day sometimes!). But when we get to the interview point and beyond it’s possible expectations will change. Whether or not a particular library/library department will require a dress code once hired, it’s just good practice to dress for success for the interview. Just my two cents on a very dear topic. Others’ insights and experiences on this are more than welcome.



1. washtublibrarian - April 27, 2006

Hey Jenn — thanks for the link. I’ve been a posting madman this week…just recently joined the AUTOCAT discussion listserv and am getting ideas after ideas. Following the discussion of series authority control is bewildering!

2. Jenn Graham - April 27, 2006

I am so proud of you for getting such awesome and useful info out there…. now if I could just remember the name of that local agency that tries to get interview suits for low income folks! 🙂

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