The Résumé and Cover Letter Review Service grew out of discussions held at the 2003 annual business meeting of the MLA Personnel Subcommittee in Vancouver, B.C. For many years the Personnel Subcommittee (which became the Career Development and Services Committee in 2008) had been offering programs and workshops on personnel-related topics at the MLA Annual Meetings. These programs enjoyed respectable attendance and received very favorable feed back. However, because the very full schedule of events at the Annual Meetings often necessitated simultaneous scheduling of programs, the Subcommittee began to seek opportunities to serve the MLA membership that would not conflict with other annual meeting programming. Personnel Subcommittee members concluded that, in such a competitive job market, it would be useful to offer a service to better equip its members for a successful job search. The development of a Résumé and Cover Letter Review Service seemed both logical and practical.
The Résumé Review Service was designed to assist not only new members in their searches for a first job but also more established members who are seeking to make a job or career change and desire assistance in approaching today’s job market. The Subcommittee offered the Résumé Review Service (“RRS”) for the first time at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the Music Library Association in Arlington, VA. Paula Elliot coordinated the service, and several members of the Personnel Subcommittee and Ned Quist served as reviewers.
The Service continued the following year with Sheri Stormes as RRS coordinator. Sheri developed an evaluation form for the 2004 service. A report on the completed evaluations confirmed the Subcommittee’s impression that the Résumé Review Service was a much-needed and successful program. In 2006 coordinator Cathy Dixon instituted a procedural change. In previous years participants scheduled their reviews at the annual meeting. Beginning in 2006 participants could schedule a review prior to the start of the annual meeting. This change afforded the reviewers more time to study the résumés before meeting with the participants. The improvement was well-received by both reviewers and participants.
As news spread of the service and reviewers’ names became more widely-known among the MLA membership, reviewers began receiving e-mail requests for the service throughout the year. Most reviewers and participants discovered that the reviews could be conducted effectively through e-mail exchange and/or phone conversations. At the 2006 Annual MLA Meeting in Memphis, the Personnel Subcommittee concluded that the Résumé Review Service should have a presence on the MLA Web site to allow for improved visibility and service. Cathy Dixon began putting materials together for the Website, and Alan Ringwood, Sheri Stormes, and Lisa Woznicki completed the task.