Using Your Intelligence: How One Librarian Secured a Job Securing Her Country
By Virginia Sanchez
The Intelligence community needs librarians and the skills we bring. My experience accessing and manipulating multiple databases; evaluating and identifying the most relevant search results; packaging my findings into PowerPoint presentations and reports; and making oral presentations on my findings has been invaluable. Invariably I am asked to teach my colleagues how I “find all that stuff so fast.” I once handed an archived news article in full text to a colleague within 24 hours. When he asked me how I got it, I told him, “I emailed the Department of Homeland Security library and asked for it.” He shook his head and laughed. I was able to get something for free and quickly by using the Library and he knew none of the other analysts would have thought to do that. Librarians learn how to network and collaborate out of necessity, and not rely on fat budgets to get the job done.
In addition, my supervisory skills have placed me in a position of leadership. Because my background is not the traditional route into intelligence, I am generally brought in on projects as a junior analyst. However, in every instance, leadership has moved me into increasing levels of responsibility. Whether supporting Department of Homeland Security agents or US military operations, my skills and abilities have made me successful as an All Source Analyst and key team player. You can do it, too!
Do you have at least one year of experience that demonstrates the ability to “analyze problems to identify significant factors, gather pertinent data and recognize solutions”? Think about that project you took on to increase the circulation of your large print collection. You analyzed the library’s lighting and foot-traffic pattern; researched how large print users gather information; networked with other branch libraries to discuss do’s and don’ts; and came up with recommendations. Do you have at least one year of experience planning and organizing work? Do you have excellent oral and written communication skills? If so (and I think all of us from Library Land do), that experience and your master’s degree could land you an internship as an Intelligence Specialist.
Are you able to demonstrate experience managing “one or more collection system projects; integrate all-source intelligence; evaluate open-source information; independently evaluate collection system solutions; support the intelligence production process; produce routine reports; brief select audiences; coordinate collection requirements; and provide guidance to field elements”? Sure you can, if you have worked on detailed reference requests wherein you queried multiple databases by using Boolean searchstrings, RSS feeds and the like; synthesized the information gleaned from a variety of sources and determined relevance; made these decisions independently; made regular progress reports and presentations on your findings; and both recommended and implemented search strategy improvements. You might bypass an internship and aim for a fully qualified Intelligence Specialist.
If you are adept at research and fact-checking, consider using your skills to become a Writer, Editor or Report Writer. As always, the resume you use when applying for these positions needs to have the key terms included, so use the phrases such as “collection systems” rather than “bibliographic databases”, and “supported the intelligence production process” instead of “responded to reference requests”. Use your word smithing skills to translate from “Library Land” to what I call “Secret Squirrel Chatter”, and away you will go.
For more information on Intelligence work or working as a federal librarian, join Virginia Sanchez and other presenters at the ‘Strategies for Resumes and Job Searching’ workshop on Sunday, January 22, 2012 from 9:00 – 10:30am in the ALA JobLIST Placement Center during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Dallas. The JobLIST Placement Center will be located in the Dallas Convention Center – Hall C.
We would love to have your feedback on this article(s)!
Posted in Spotlight |
50 E. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2795
Toll Free TDD: