About jobseeking

Job searching for linguists:

Studied linguistics and now in the process of searching for a job?  First, I think it is important that you recognize the career path that you are already on because you are not “just starting” this process – what you are doing is figuring out your next steps: here are some ideas. 

Want to learn more from listening to those who have gone before you?  Watch this career panel from the 2015 Linguistic Society of America Annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.

When you study linguistics you learn how to analyze language, which means that you can bring linguistic awareness to cultivating a “professional voice” for yourself.  One that enacts the transition from student to professional, which “sounds confident” “persuasive” and “professional.”  Of course we know that such concepts are socially constructed, that what it means to “sound professional” will always be contextually situated, but given that you have analytical skills cultivated by linguistics, and possess the ability to observe and describe language as it is used, to recognize the meaning-making process, including unpacking context and recognizing how it shapes expectations about language – why not use these in order to be successful in this context.

  • Your skills and abilities will likely be the reason that you are hired (which is not necessarily your linguistic knowledge).
  • this is predicated on engaging a shift in deictic center: adopting an active, agentive voice that speaks to the needs of the employer, rather than your needs as a candidate.
  • ultimately, I believe in the power of story in all things, but especially storytelling in the job search.
    • you will want to have mastered a formula for talking about yourself ( TMAY)
    • you will want to bring pocket examples (little stories that show how you work)
    • Articulating your point of view will be of extreme importance – I explore this metaphorically in  show me your city block

My approach to job seeking may be best described as improvisational, as it is informed by my more than ten years of experience as an improv performer and teacher.  But as you can see above, there are many concrete steps that one may follow as well.

Want to get started?  Here are ten things you can do this week!