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What language is your career search speaking?

Do you know your job search language?
Do you know your job search language?
Kenneth L. Johnson

Are you speaking the right language in your Career Search? You’re probably thinking to yourself…what is he talking about? Let me explain; in the world of employment there are several layers of language. This is no different than the different languages and dialects that we come across in everyday life. In Philadelphia there is a word used by locals that means nothing and everything all in the same conversation. Ask a lifelong Philly resident to define the word "Jawn" and wait for their reply. I promise you the next person won't give you the same answer. In the “world of employment” things can be equally as confusing. Several types of language exist; industry language, company language, departmental language and job specific language. At “Company “A” your title is Client Contact Associate but at “Company B” the same duties are performed by a Customer Service Representative. It’s up to you to know what title is appropriate for your job search.

How do you find out what language is being spoken in the inner circles of a particular industry, company or by those that occupy a certain job title? Here are 3 Tools to Decipher Industry Language.

1. Industry Publications and Networking Events: These mediums exist for the singular purpose of sharing information. If you are serious about a given career path, there is no substitute for constant learning both through reading and professional interactions.

2. Informational Interviews: These are “meetings” or phone conversations that you set up with people in your network that are currently working in the industry or currently have the position title for which you are interested. These people are everyday adapters of the language and many are the creators. Use them as your guide to what terms you need to become familiar with and ultimately position strategically on your resume.

3. Wordle: If used correctly wordle.net is an excellent tool for identifying “keywords” and industry-terms by using the content on company websites and position descriptions to create customized “word clouds”. Take 3 position descriptions of jobs that you are interested in and place them in a wordle and see what words are the largest and most centered within the “cloud”. These will be the industry keywords that show recruiters and hiring managers that you are in touch with the industry.

The only way to conduct a successful Career Search is to be informed. If you take the extra time to add these 3 techniques to your search, you will quickly transition from being a job seeker to a career seeker.

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