Careers in Federal Libraries

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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Clues from the Job Announcement: Lesson 2 language

I’ve decided to only post about common missteps so if this hits home, you’re certainly not alone.

The Job Announcement is the biggest gift that you can be given.  It tells you all kinds of details that a great research librarian — and forensic investigator — could ever need.  If you obsess over language and understanding clues, then you’ll love learning the fine art of understanding the job announcement.

Is a Job Announcement at all like conducting a reference interview?  Yes, by jove, you’ve got it!  Use the language of the announcement just as you would the language provided by your patron.  Try to understand more than just the words, but the intent behind the words.  Here’s a few examples:

Example 1:  Duties listed in the announcement indicate “responsible for overseeing regulatory compliance”

Sounds like gibberish and frankly gives no clues?  Au contraire!  The fact that they are talking about regulatory compliance tells you that they expect you to KNOW there are regulations that you should know.  Is that regulation specific to the program, the agency?  Find out which regulations you’ll be enforcing, toss in the Title ## so show you have knowledge of that regulation.  It COULD turn out that “Title ##” is a keyword that gives you extra points.  And basically it just means that you educate people about how best to follow the law.  Easy Peasy.

Example 2:  Seven duties listed in the announcement

Print off the announcement and print off your resume.  Place them side by side and open your highlighter.  Take duty #1 and highlight what language in your resume addresses your knowledge and experience doing this task?  Is the task mentioned in your resume once for a year you worked at one job?  Is the task mentioned in 3 jobs that total six years of experience doing that task?  Is the task not mentioned at all in the experience sections of your resume?  What can you add to beef up your resume in that area.

Taking your job as a job seeker seriously means that you have to do your homework.  Believe me, some other applicant is doing their homework, and you’re competing against them.  Why not play to win if you’re going to play?  it will be evident to whoever reads your resume whether you did your homework or dashed off the same resume to a thousand different positions as if tossing hope into the air.  They gave you a gift.  Why not open it?

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