So you need to write a cover letter…

by Lauren Arnsman, Head Editor, INALJ Puerto Rico

So you need to write a cover letter…

laurena1One of the most frustrating aspects of job hunting, for me, is writing the cover letter. When I first started job hunting about six months before my graduation date, cover letters were no big thang. Cut to over 100 job apps later and I was ready to inflict bodily harm on the inventor of the cover letter (ok, so I’m sure there is no ONE guy, but still, ugh). So many sites had conflicting information (“it should only be one page,” “it should be a million pages!”) that it became overwhelming for me.

It was especially frustrating because I could find sites that catered toward business cover letters, engineering cover letters, marketing cover letters, and so on. There didn’t seem to be a place I could find tailored to librarians. Enter This site was EXCLUSIVELY for those in the library and information profession. I happened upon it when it was just a baby website but it’s grown up a lot in the last few years. The best thing about it is how organized it is (though, what would you expect from LIS people?), with metadata galore. I’m pretty certain you could find an example of a cover letter for any kind of library out there. They have ones for business librarians, youth services librarians, archivists, government librarians, and many more. The best thing about this site is all of the cover letters have been personally submitted by the creators and those people have all gotten the job. So it’s pretty safe to say there are a lot of good ideas. Of course, you should never plagiarize the letters (this should go without saying but better safe than sorry), just use them as guidelines. This site is especially if you’re uncertain of how to format a letter correctly.

I highly recommend for all of you job-seekers out there. It has helped me immensely.

(Please note: this author is in no way affiliated with the website, she just really, really likes it!)



Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay.