The story

You were drawn to linguistics as a course of study because you enjoy linguistic analysis, so why not bring this skill to such high-stakes contexts for language use as a job interview (as well as to the texts that surround and support these moments)? After all, such gatekeeping encounters are of critical importance to our professional lives, which are ultimately expressions of our calling, of our passion.

Linguistics trains us to look at language and at social interaction in unique ways, and these “ways of listening” are themselves marketable, but they can also be applied to the career search. We can bring the skills and training we learned from linguistics to research our ways of talking about ourselves professionally, and also the ways that organizations talk about themselves. Especially stories.

Uncovering your professional path involves finding, analyzing, and telling stories that are meaningful and memorable.

Find your stories

We always have choices about what stories we tell and how we tell them, but we do not always bring conscious awareness to these decisions. Being more aware of the stories that comprise job searching means paying attention to what stories are told and which aren’t, which could have been told but weren’t. Often, we choose to tell stories that are self-deprecating or silly, or that we think are saying one thing about us, but ultimately say something else!

Listen to organizations

We are living in a time of unprecedented access to information and communication. Take advantage of the wealth of resources provided by social media in educating yourself about careers of potential interest by listening actively to the stories that organizations tell about themselves on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, on their website, and on blogs. This is an important way to gain access to a type of “insider knowledge” about the culture of an organization.

Craft narratives that resonate

Use your awareness of genre norms and expectations to cultivate a contextually-suited voice which sounds confident, engaging, and professional. The narratives that are told (or which could be but aren’t) in interactional moments like job interviews are powerful tools for constructing agency, for framing the encounter, and in determining successful outcomes. I want to help you to tell stories that get you remembered and that get you the job!


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