At the risk of sounding too dramatic and us looking like the person in Munch’s painting, I wanted to drop a note for my fellow Student Affairs grads looking for a professional job and/or internship this year.
1. Be consistent!
You’ve gotten through a year and a half with your cohort and friends in other Student Affairs graduate programs. Why all of a sudden change the game? Use them as support and be their support system, just like it has been the last year and a half. You’ll be very thankful to have that support that can relate to what you’re going through and understand the different levels and functional areas in student affairs. Just don’t forget to listen to everyone that has listened to you throughout the process. Keep the weight balanced of seeking advice/a shoulder to lean on and giving your couch/favorite series on Netflix up for a night to listen to a friend.
2. Play nice!
If you find a job description on HigherEdJobs.com that is reasonably something that you know a para colleague of yours would look into, send it to them! This doesn’t create competition, this creates an opportunity for us all to get the job of our dreams. Keeping positions a secret won’t help anyone. Retweet posts that you see on Twitter and Share posts that you see on Facebook that are calling for positions. Who knows! Maybe a friend of a friend is looking for that exact combination in a job.
3. It’s a small world after all.
Remember that Student Affairs is a really small world. If you get invited to an on campus interview and didn’t enjoy your experience, don’t spread the news to everyone you know. It is very likely that it would come back to bite you. Like our mentors, parents, friends, colleagues, uncles and faculty have told us, “It’s all about fit. ” What may not fit for you, may actually fit for the other suits sitting across from you at TPE or C3.
4. Keep an open mind.
Keep an open mind on several levels. Keep communicating openly with your faculty and mentors about the positions you apply to and are looking for. Most likely, they will keep you grounded and help you stay realistic during the search process. I personally like to talk to people who will tell me the truth when I need it, as opposed to the infamous ‘reach for the stars’ speech we all know by heart. Communicate your goals to trustworthy people within the field. Like I said, the SA world is small and that can only help you.
5. Change is good.
Remember that what you’re looking for can change throughout your search process. I’m not talking about your list of non-negotiables. The more research we do and the more positions we peruse on the TPE job search website, our vision might change of what kind of institution/position/functional area for which we are looking. and that is perfectly okay. Changing your mind with more context in the middle of the game is alright. We’re human beings, not robots. We can conceptualize with the best of them, and we process like champs. This means that we just might change what we are looking for. Change is difficult and even uncomfortable at times, so lean into that discomfort and uneasiness. It might be the risk that will land you your first big opportunity in this field.
6. Have faith.
Have faith in yourself. Take that huge leap and know that your background, your individual makeup of a professional, is what will help your feet find the ground. Have faith in your education and experiences. Everything you have done up to this moment has prepared you for this search. Breathe.
7. Enjoy it.
Yes, I mean actually enjoy it! You most likely won’t be searching again anytime soon. Learn from your mistakes and soak up your triumphs. We’re going to have to remember everything we go through this year for other searches on down the road.
Good luck to everyone on their search this season, and if there are any employers out there reading this… Go easy on us 🙂