Translating Your Resume Language

by Caitlin Moen, Head Editor , INALJ Louisiana

Translating Your Resume Language

caitlinmoenPrior to and while attending grad school for my MLIS I worked for 3 ½ years at a church. This is a huge chunk of my work experience, yet, the religious nature of the position makes it a little tricky to speak to.  I worry that people see “church” and automatically discount it as valuable experience.  I’ve worked hard to find ways to overcome this possible reaction.

I never lie or make things up for my CV; instead I take the experiences I had and translate those experiences into the vocabulary of the industry to which I am applying.  It’s actually remarkable how applicable the experience ends up being.

At the church I scheduled work groups and mission trips – this translates to volunteer coordination.  I planned Bible studies, youth group activities, holiday parties, book clubs, and more – what is this but program planning that any librarian does?  I kept bookkeeping records and membership records – database maintenance (with a specification of the programs used). And I helped grow the church with communications, marketing, and social media – this of course is outreach and marketing.

It all comes down to making sure to show the experiences you have in the language of the industry to make sure hiring officials SEE what value you can bring, even from outside the library world.  What is obvious to you, having lived the position, may not be something a search committee or HR person will immediately grasp when reading your resume. Translate the experience and make your application that much more dynamic.