Thursday, October 28, 2010

applying for jobs

We recently advertised for next year's team of student assistants. They're the ones (usually senior law students) who keep the library up and running in the evenings and weekends, when the permanent staff are home growing vegetables and feeding chickens and doing whatever else we do when we're not here.
We're always really impressed by the calibre of the applicants, and it's always disappointing that we can employ so few of them.
Anyway, for those of you thinking of applying for work here in 2012, or even if you're applying for summer clerkships or permanent jobs, here are a few tips based on our recent recruitment experience.

Please do:
  • include a cover letter. It's the best way to get your voice across.
  • sign your letter - old-fashioned but still expected in a formal context.
  • keep your CV brief. At least for our purposes, a double-sided A4 sheet is about right.
  • provide a work referee, if you have one, since it's a job you're applying for.

And please don't:
  • send us the job description. We already know about the job. We want to know about you. With as few page-turns as possible.
  • send us scruffy forms. Presentation counts, so don't change pens half-way through filling out a form. And if you spill coffee on it, get a clean one and start again.

These are minor points, but that's what counts when you have 50 good applicants and only five jobs.

And from the ridiculous to the sublime: thanks to the Law Librarian Blog I recently found the Yale Law School admissions blog. It's interesting, entertaining and potentially useful to anyone making any kind of application any time soon.


  1. Do we require any special knowledge on how to maintain & arrange books in Library.

  2. No, no special knowledge required. We don't really expect it either, since Otago law students come to independent research relatively late in their degree. But we do ask interviewees which library resources they have already used, so familiarity with the Law Library will be an advantage. Take a tour at the start of the year, and try to remember the names of the databases you used, and what you used them for - we're looking for evidence of intelligent use, not just a laundry list of resources.
    One of the advantages of working in the Law Library is that you'll learn a lot about what we've got and how to find and use it.

  3. Hi, are the positions still open, and if so where would I send my application to if I was to apply?