Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

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picardy third
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Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby picardy third » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:23 pm

My husband works for a Federal Government agency, doing math/science stuff. I'm applying for a legal internships there. Would it be appropriate to write something in my cover letter like, "Because my husband, XXX, works on [project] at [agency], I've gained an appreciation for the important work you do in [fields]"? I also have a some legal research experience related to one of the agency's projects (though it doesn't sound like it would be too relevant to the internship), so it's not like my husband is the only thing I have to mention.

Somehow it seems weird to me to be mentioning personal connections when it's big government--in my imagination, it's a huge bureaucracy and a machine is evaluating my application, and personal connections mean nothing. Maybe that's not true for legal jobs, though.

Thanks!

03121202698008
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:26 pm

I don't see this helping...maybe hurting.

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danquayle
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby danquayle » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:27 pm

picardy third wrote:My husband works for a Federal Government agency, doing math/science stuff. I'm applying for a legal internships there. Would it be appropriate to write something in my cover letter like, "Because my husband, XXX, works on [project] at [agency], I've gained an appreciation for the important work you do in [fields]"? I also have a some legal research experience related to one of the agency's projects (though it doesn't sound like it would be too relevant to the internship), so it's not like my husband is the only thing I have to mention.

Somehow it seems weird to me to be mentioning personal connections when it's big government--in my imagination, it's a huge bureaucracy and a machine is evaluating my application, and personal connections mean nothing. Maybe that's not true for legal jobs, though.

Thanks!


I don't think its strange at all. I think its a good thing to put. It demonstrates two things 1) knowledge of the type of work the agency does and 2) likely intent to be a long term employee (which many employers definitely try to ferret out).

Its not like the interviewer will know your husband, or it'll give you any kind of bump. It will, however, give you something of meaning to discuss during your interview, should you get one.

Just make sure you actually know in good detail what your husband does and can discuss it intelligently.
Last edited by danquayle on Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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danquayle
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby danquayle » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:27 pm

blowhard wrote:I don't see this helping...maybe hurting.


What's your rationale? I can't imagine how this would hurt OP.

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5ky
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby 5ky » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:34 pm

I can't imagine it would hurt, and certainly could help.

ShiftyPig
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby ShiftyPig » Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:48 pm

Dropping his name is a tad awkward, but showing a connection to the agency can't hurt. Less the actual networking connection and more the "you actually have a vested interest in what they do" connection.

picardy third
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby picardy third » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:17 pm

ShiftyPig wrote:Dropping his name is a tad awkward, but showing a connection to the agency can't hurt. Less the actual networking connection and more the "you actually have a vested interest in what they do" connection.


Thanks guys for the responses. To be clear, you aren't saying I should leave his name out if I mention it, right? We have different last names, so if someone checked the directory or something, they wouldn't know who I was talking about.

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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:27 pm

danquayle wrote:
blowhard wrote:I don't see this helping...maybe hurting.


What's your rationale? I can't imagine how this would hurt OP.


I worked in the government, we discouraged having spouses working in the same office or close proximity. Too many problems. Depending on the project or agency, the proposed sentence also leads me to believe the husband may be over-sharing about the work he does.

azntwice
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby azntwice » Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:44 pm

if i were reading it, it would sound a little bit like nepotism...

picardy third
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby picardy third » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:14 pm

blowhard wrote:
danquayle wrote:
blowhard wrote:I don't see this helping...maybe hurting.


What's your rationale? I can't imagine how this would hurt OP.


I worked in the government, we discouraged having spouses working in the same office or close proximity. Too many problems. Depending on the project or agency, the proposed sentence also leads me to believe the husband may be over-sharing about the work he does.


OK, I can see where that would make sense, but that is really far from the situation. My husband works for the EIA, an independent agency w/in the Department of Energy, and all of his research is available to the public (the point of the EIA is to provide information to Congress and the DOE). The DOE has 16,000 employees and the DC office is huge--I would be really surprised to even meet anyone at a DOE legal internship there who knows him. It's really more about saying, "Hey, it may not look like it from my resume, but I have an appreciation for the work you do because..."

Also, if people really did have a problem with it, I'd rather not mention it for the first time after starting work and have people say, "Oh, no, you should have told us because we really discourage that..."

03121202698008
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby 03121202698008 » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:30 pm

picardy third wrote:
blowhard wrote:
danquayle wrote:
blowhard wrote:I don't see this helping...maybe hurting.


What's your rationale? I can't imagine how this would hurt OP.


I worked in the government, we discouraged having spouses working in the same office or close proximity. Too many problems. Depending on the project or agency, the proposed sentence also leads me to believe the husband may be over-sharing about the work he does.


OK, I can see where that would make sense, but that is really far from the situation. My husband works for the EIA, an independent agency w/in the Department of Energy, and all of his research is available to the public (the point of the EIA is to provide information to Congress and the DOE). The DOE has 16,000 employees and the DC office is huge--I would be really surprised to even meet anyone at a DOE legal internship there who knows him. It's really more about saying, "Hey, it may not look like it from my resume, but I have an appreciation for the work you do because..."

Also, if people really did have a problem with it, I'd rather not mention it for the first time after starting work and have people say, "Oh, no, you should have told us because we really discourage that..."


Eh, it wasn't like we had a problem once we found out. It just kind of conjured up a bad image when we screened applicants. This wasn't in a legal job though...law enforcement.

I'd still rephrase your sentence. It reads like it is...you just want to drop his name. I'd say something more meaningful.

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thesealocust
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Re: Spouse at gov't agency (non-legal)--mention in cover letter?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:54 pm

5 U.S.C. § 3110.




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