This FAQ was created for the Linguistics Career Launch boot camp held July 2021.
We will add questions or update as we plan future events.
1 What is the Linguistics Career Launch (LCL21)?
LCL21 is a four-week summer “boot camp” designed to help people with linguistics degrees explore career possibilities outside of academia. LCL21 will take place virtually using the Gather.town platform as a hub, with workshops and courses conducted via Zoom. There are two groups of programming that make up LCL21:
General Registration includes events providing broad career guidance and exploration, including:
- Workshops on career management topics like resume writing, using LinkedIn, and finding jobs opportunities
- Career panels with linguists representing a wide variety of organizations and sectors
- Profile sessions with specific organizations that hire linguists
- Networking and mentoring opportunities
Course Registration offers attendees 2 course options for a deeper dive into a sub-sector where linguists are employed. Courses will offer 12-16 contact hours and a final portfolio project.
2 When is LCL21?
LCL21 will start on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 with the final event happening on Friday, July 30, 2021. There will be around 2-3 hours of general programming every day, with additional hours for things like courses and mentoring. See Calendar for schedule.
3 What does the program cost?
Pricing is as follows:
Early Bird Registration (May 26-June 15):
- General registration: $100
- ONE course WITHOUT general registration: $225
- ONE course AND general registration: $250
Regular Registration (June 16-onward):
- General registration: $150
- ONE course WITHOUT general registration: $250
- ONE course AND general registration: $300
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you sign up for a course WITHOUT general registration, you will NOT have access to ANY programming beyond that course. This means that you will NOT be able to attend any career management workshops, any networking events, any mentoring sessions, etc. You will ONLY have access to the 12-16 contact hours of the course and absolutely nothing beyond that. We STRONGLY encourage everyone signing up for a course to join the general registration as well. Professional success is not just determined by the knowledge and skills you have, it is also highly dependent on building a network, understanding how the application and interview process works, and learning how to market and advocate for yourself.
CANCELLATION POLICY: In the event that LCL21 is cancelled by the organizers, registrants will be entitled to a refund of all registration costs MINUS any Eventbrite registration fees.
All registrations are final. Refunds will not be provided if you cancel your individual attendance. If you can no longer attend, your registration will be transferable to another individual until July 1, 2021. Contact us here if you need to transfer your registration.
4 Why does this program cost money?
We are putting together a 19-day event with 40+ hours of career management and skill-building content, plus 2 intensive classes with 12-16 contact hours apiece. While LCL21 is being organized by a group of highly motivated volunteers, there are fixed costs for executing an event like this – we need to pay for our meeting platforms, storage space for video content, website hosting, etc. LCL21 is self-supporting; we are not receiving financial support from LSA for this event.
We understand that even at the low per-hour cost that we are offering, the program may be unaffordable to some of our prospective attendees. In order to help mitigate this, we are planning to make recordings of our panels, workshops, lectures, and other presentations publicly available on our YouTube channel beginning in October 2021. We will continue to release content throughout the 2021-2022 academic year.
5 Do you offer scholarships?
While we are not offering scholarships for this inaugural Linguistics Career Launch, if LCL21 is successful, we will plan to have a scholarship program for future paid events.
6 When does registration open?
Registration opened at the end of May 2021 and stayed open to the end of July.
7 My employer hires linguists and would like to be involved. Does LCL offer sponsorship opportunities?
We are actively seeking corporate sponsors for LCL21! LCL21 will offer a unique opportunity for organizations to meet and recruit linguists who are interested in employment outside of academia. Contact us at LinguisticsBeyondAcademia@gmail.com to learn about sponsorship opportunities.
8 What will the schedule look like?
We are hard at work on the schedule for LCL21, and are adding new events regularly to the calendar. Our goal is to make the schedule work for at least 4 US time zones, with set time slots each day and one event in each slot. General registration events will take place on approximately the following schedule:
- Programming will take place between the hours of 8am Pacific US/11am Eastern US – 3pm Pacific US/6pm Eastern US
- Mondays and Fridays will be the primary days for less structured events such as mentoring, office hours, cohort meetups
- Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays will be the primary days for workshops, talks, and panels
- Wednesday will be the primary day for special events, such as book launches
- The weekly networking mixers will take place on a different day and time each week, to allow everyone to join at least one
- The full schedule for each week of the general registration track, including information on the specific speakers and topics, will be released by Thursday (9:00 am Pacific, 12:00 pm Eastern) of the week before
- The final schedule for the first week of LCL21 will be available by Thursday, July 1.
See Calendar for schedule.
9 What sort of events are on the agenda for LCL21?
Career management workshops cover specific skills and advice around job seeking and career exploration. For example, a resume workshop might cover topics like how a resume is different from a CV, or how to use business or non-academic language to describe your transferable linguistics skills.
Career linguist profiles showcase the career paths of either individual linguists or small groups from the same sector. For example, you might hear a panel of linguists who work in conversation design talk about their jobs and how they got there.
Organization profiles showcase the specifics of working as a linguist at a particular organization. Linguists might talk about what it means to bring their linguistic training to that specific organization on a daily basis, for example, or three linguists may cover the diversity of roles that can exist for linguists even within the same organization.
How-to sessions provide an overview of a specific sub-sector or skill for which linguists are a good fit. These sessions will cover both the “standard” alt-ac paths such as translation and speech language pathology, but also less traditional ones like marketing, journalism, or project management. Other content in the how-to sessions may include things specific to this historical moment, like job-hunting during the pandemic.
Cohort meetups offer a chance to connect with others who are in a similar place in their career trajectory, such as undergrads, those in an MA program, or in a PhD program, faculty, those who already work outside of academia, etc. These facilitated sessions will give you a chance to connect with your peers, and to ask questions that might not have fit anywhere else.
Career mixers will be held weekly and will be specifically designed for attendees to network with linguists already working outside of academia. Career mixers are not job fairs, but are events meant to showcase the wide range of paths open to linguists, and to make valuable connections for the future.
Mentoring and/or office hours offer the chance for more targeted help on specific topics, a space for lingering questions, and the opportunity to build meaningful mentor/mentee relationships. These will be staffed by career linguists, both current and retired.
10 How many events can I attend/do I have to attend all events?
Your general registration for LCL21 includes access to ALL sessions and meetups (except courses).
If you have a general registration, you are not required to attend all events. But we recommend attending as many as you can to help give you the biggest picture possible of employment outside of academia for linguists, and to take advantage of the hands-on activities. We will host orientation sessions at the beginning of LCL for different attendee groups to highlight what events are best suited for faculty vs. undergraduate students vs. graduate students, etc.
Session content will be available after-the-fact via replay.
Courses may have specific attendance or participation requirements set by the course instructor, which will be included in the final course descriptions available at Registration.
11 Do I need any prerequisites to take either of the two courses?
There are no formal prerequisites for these courses, though a background in linguistics or creative writing will give you a great foundation on which to build.
12 Who is LCL21 for?
This is the first year of LCL, and we are hoping for a wide and diverse group of attendees to kick things off! In attendance will be undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff in linguistics departments, post-docs, adjuncts, and an array of people already employed beyond academia.
13 Should faculty attend?
Faculty who register can attend as many core events as they wish. Undergraduate advisors and graduate advisors are especially welcome, since they have a lot of influence on how students perceive their employability. And faculty often provide valuable guidance on paths for graduate students and alumni/ae to consider after earning master’s and doctoral degrees.
Questions that faculty can expect to answer through LCL21 programming:
- How can I better advise, direct and mentor my students who are curious about careers beyond academia?
- What should our program expect to get from the Campus Careers office, and how can we collaborate to best help our students?
- How can we work with our alumni/ae employed beyond academia to help guide our students and newer alumni/ae?
- How can we create a “local Careers Outside Academia group” with businesses and career linguists who live or work near our campus?
- How can I help foster a positive environment in my department with respect to all possible career paths open to linguists?
- …and many more.
Please share LCL21 with faculty advisors and department chairs!
14 Is LCL21 only for people job searching in the US vs. internationally?
LCL21 is focused on the US employment market for this year. However, some of our panelists may have international experience, and some of the involved organizations may have an international presence.
15 I’m not a linguist/don’t have a linguistics degree. Can I come?
This is a program designed by and intended for linguists, and we take a broad definition of what a linguist is, to include individuals who study or work in closely related fields. Our programming will assume basic knowledge of linguistics. We will not have any events designed specifically to teach about linguistics.
Most of our career representatives will have at least one degree in linguistics, including degrees granted by other departments but with a concentration in linguistics. If you have questions about your specific background, reach out to us here!
16 Do I need to be an LSA member to register for LCL?
No, LSA membership is not required to register for this event.
17 Will LCL21 be accessible?
We are striving to make LCL21 as accessible as possible to those with disabilities. If you have a specific need, contact us at LinguisticsBeyondAcademia@gmail.com as soon as possible after you register. We will make a good faith effort to accommodate any requests we receive by June 15, 2021.
18 What does “outside of academia” mean?
“Outside of academia” (sometimes called alt-ac or beyond academia) means any job that is not being a linguistics professor (including adjuncts), a post-doc, or a researcher at a university.
Outside-of-academia employment includes a huge range of both public (government at municipal, county, state, or Federal level) and private sector careers. It can mean working for intergovernmental organizations, in established businesses that do work in healthcare, technology, consumer marketing, in B2B (business-to-business) enterprises, and in startups or entrepreneurial efforts.
19 What does it mean to work “in linguistics”?
LCL21 events will take a broad approach to what it means to work “in linguistics”. This big-tent approach means that if you have a degree in linguistics, you are working with language in some way, and you call on your linguistics training to do so, you are working “in linguistics”. If you have a degree (or more than one) in linguistics, you will see and hear with a unique filter. You may bring linguistics into contexts where it was never used or called upon before, but from which it won’t be left out again.
Here are some areas that are not typically taught in linguistics departments, but that linguists might be especially well trained to pursue as careers:
- Document design
- Content creation & strategy
- Ontologies aka knowledge management aka information architecture
- User experience (UX) design and research
20 Will LCL21 include networking?
Yes! Networking is a crucial part of job seeking and career management. LCL21 will include weekly networking events (meetups) with linguists already working outside of academia. These linguists will include panel speakers, employees of possible corporate sponsors, and others. The Gather.town space will offer space for networking meetups among attendees throughout LCL21. And, we have hints for introverts who might be less excited about networking.
21 Will LCL21 include mentoring?
Yes, a mentoring component will be available. We’ll schedule office hours at least once a week, and will set up either small groups or 1-on-1s, depending on the number of interested attendees and available mentors.
Mentoring here might mean reviews of resumes or other documents, answering questions about jobs, regional differences in workplace practices, negotiating, and other more.
LCL21 mentoring will be pop-up mentoring, meaning it is tied to this event. Long-term mentoring is not part of the current plan for LCL.
22 Will LCL21 be hands on?
Yes, very! Some topics will lend themselves more to hands-on activities than others. But this will go beyond — and will be more engaging than — just a series of webinars!
23 What will I learn?
LCL21 is designed to help attendees learn as much as possible about how to explore career possibilities outside academia — whether for a first job, or as part of a career change. Broadly, attendees will learn not only what opportunities are available to them as linguists, but also to identify the skills that qualify them for a range of jobs and career paths, and how to talk and write about what makes them as linguists the best suited for these roles.
Some of the broad areas that LCL21 will cover:
- The huge variety of sectors and jobs where linguists are employed and valued
- How specific linguists are making their degrees work for them outside academia
- Career management from job-hunting to networking to using LinkedIn to negotiating pay
Some of the specific skills you can expect to learn to LCL21:
- Identifying careers that match your linguistic skill set (and defining your own linguistic skill set!)
- Resume writing
- Reading and decoding job titles and descriptions, and deciding whether something is right for you
- Choosing work samples that fit an employer’s context, and how to tell the stories about them (smart self-marketing)
- Networking and building a community of support
LCL21 is designed to equip you with the skills, ideas and contacts to go out and be a linguist in the non-academic world. Read through the whole FAQ for more details about what you can expect to learn.
24 Will you teach me technical skills?
LCL21 is not a technical boot camp. If you are interested in learning to program, we suggest you pursue a specific programming boot camp in a widely-used language such as Python using any of the online courses offered by Udemy, Coursera, or LinkedInLearning (among many others).
25 Can I take this course if I need to miss any of the in-person sessions?
The in-person sessions will be interactive so please ensure that you will be available during these days and times. If you need to miss one, please let the instructor know ahead of time.
26 Where can I find more online communities for linguistics beyond academia?
You can join the Facebook group or the LinkedIn group of the LSA’s Linguistics Beyond Academia Special Interest Group. Follow us on Twitter or YouTube. Contact us via email, here.
27 Are there online resources available to support my alt-ac job search?
Yes, lots! We are working on putting together a list of resources here on the LCL website.
28 Can you tell me how to get a job in academia?
LCL21 is focused on employment outside of traditional academic tracks. If you are looking for academic work, we support you! But we can’t offer guidance on this path, and there won’t be relevant content at LCL21 on how to seek employment in academia.
29 What degree do I need to get a job?
There is no single answer to this question. The goal of LCL21 will be to expose attendees to career linguists who are both early, mid, and late career, and who have attained different levels of terminal degrees, from bachelor’s to PhD. The answer will vary based on sector (public/private), industry (tech/healthcare/marketing/biotech/etc), the specific job, the requirements of the specific organization, and many other factors.
30 My advisor can’t help me find alt-ac jobs or tells me I’ve failed for leaving academia! What do I do?
Come to LCL! LCL21 is here to help you explore the wonderful world of non-academic employment for linguists. You will connect with people who never wanted to pursue academic careers, as well as those who shifted gears after they were unable to find work as a professor or researcher. A career outside of academia is NOT a failure! It is a place full of fascinating opportunities to pursue, and interesting linguistic problems to solve.
LCL21 is also intended in part to help push back against the narrative that academic employment is the only/best choice for those with linguistics training. The reality is that there are not enough academic jobs available for the number of linguistics graduates. Many people will have to search for jobs outside of academia. The good news is, there are a lot of great options!
If you are a student and not getting the support that you need from your department, encourage your department faculty and advisors to attend LCL21 as well! If your advisor can’t attend, we suggest that they check out our content on YouTube.
31 Believe it or not…I have a question that isn’t answered here! Where do I ask it?
We’d love to hear from you! Contact us here.