Decoding the Job Posting

by Cassidy Charles, Senior Assistant, INALJ NYC

Decoding the Job Posting

CassidyCharlesAs a senior assistant with I Need A Library Job I read through a lot of job posting every week. There is an art to writing a job posting and it is fascinating to read through the different ways similar jobs can be pitched – albeit sometimes confusing. Some organizations will go overboard on acronyms while others may include a very jargon-phrase. I have compiled a list of some common and some unclear terms that I have come across that general LIS jobseekers should be familiar with. Some of the statements below are intuitive. Some are not.


Civil Service – Employees are a part of the public sector for a government department or agency. This status is individual to the organization’s relationship with its municipality.

Non-Civil Service – Employees may be a part of the public sector, but are not enrolled employed directly with a government department or agency.

Any sort of Roman Numerals (I, II, III, IV…) – An indicator of level in the organization. Typically I would indicate a novice and IV or higher would indicate a department head or manager.

Adjunct – Most commonly seen in posting for academic positions. This status indicates that the position is an employee of the organization, but not entirely. They may not have access to certain benefits like health insurance through the organization or a tuition waiver.


Full Time / FT – The individual in the position works for about 30-40 hours per week.

Part Time / PT – The individual in the position works less than the prescribed number of hours to be considered Full Time.

1.0 / or any fraction decimal point – Indicates the status of the position. 1.0 would indicate that the position is equivalent to 1 whole Full Time position, while a Half Time position might be indicated with a .50 figure.


Probationary – The status of the position has conditions attached to it. The conditions may be a matter of awaiting for paperwork to be submitted, graduate school credits to be attained, or employee performance satisfaction.

At-Will Employment – There is no binding agreement between employee and employers. The employee is free to leave at any time and the employer is free to let that employee go at any time, within legal bearings.

Nonexempt / Classified – Employment that is based around a set standard of hours and routine. In accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the individual in this position is usually paid hourly and eligible to be paid overtime pay.

Exempt / Unclassified – Employment that is based administration, management or professional responsibilities. This employment is exempted from the (FLSA) and if often salaried.


ALA-Accredited Library School – In reference to the library and information science degree that may be required for some LIS positions. The American Library Association explains the accreditation criteria and provides a listing of accredited schools.

AA / EEO – Acronyms that refer to Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity which are two, separate legal tools in place that prohibit an employer from discriminating based on race, color, sex, creed, religion, age, or national origin, as well as protecting individuals with physical or mental disabilities.

PPO / FSA / HSA / HRA – In the United States, these acronyms mean “Preferred Provider Organization”, “Flexible Spending Account”, “Health Savings Account”, and “Health Reimbursement Account” which are all healthcare options.

Job postings can be as specific or as non-specific as the organization posting them wants to be. They may explain that their benefits package includes “health/dental/vision/leave” or simply leave it at “includes benefits” — to be discussed further upon interviewing or hiring.

In no way is this list comprehensive, and term definitions may vary between states, associations and organizations. The bottom line to uncertainty is to ask

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