As the month of March approaches, the new season of professional conferences for Student Affairs positions is approaching for SAGrads. Many outstanding, hardworking and determined graduate students are looking for their first post-graduate full time jobs in the field. The excitement of which placement conferences to attend, resume workshops, and the emotions of the unknown is a lot to deal with at this time of the academic year.
I wanted to share some tips that helped me during my extended job search from graduate school into the new year for prospective graduate students going into conference and job searching season. Here are a list of some tips that helped my process during my SASearch that can benefit SAGrads that are starting this process during their final semester of graduate school.
Your Search, Your Rules
With job searching, it’s important to understand that your search is your path to success. You can change, define, and create your non-negotiable’s, risks, location options, and position of interests as well. For my search, I was location based in the tri-state area for my first job out of graduate school. Even with the risks of limited options, I knew this was the right decision. I wanted to be closer to home versus going across the country. Whatever option of location-based or functional-based searches you want to choose, make sure it’s your decision and genuinely from the heart.
If you are open to a national search or want to do a local search, both are ok as well during your search plans.
This also goes with the decision of what conferences to attend, positions to apply for and other questions to ask yourself during this process. Even with researching, exploring different options, and deciding what works for you, it’s important to make sure your decisions are for you. Don’t feel pressure to accept a role or decision that is not a good fit for you as a professional out of graduate school.
Don’t Compare Your Search With Others
I was starting to feel worried about graduating without a job and going into the summer. Even with planning a “job searching timeline” to earn a position by the fall, my search took a turn in a different direction. After finishing graduate school this past May, it took me 8 long months to find a job in Student Affairs. Your peers will get jobs at different times of the academic year and that’s ok. Even if others get jobs before you or if you graduate still searching, you are still worth it and that outcome is not a reflection of your self-worth, ambition, or future status in the field. These factors can vary depending on school hiring timeline, type of search (national vs state, institution preference, or timing of hiring.)
Timing Of The Job Search
This point also goes into ending the fear of “not having a job by the fall” as this was something I had to embrace during my entire search. I had peers who earned positions during the summer, fall, winter, and spring as institutions used during hiring timelines to inform candidates of their status. Just know the most important tip to remember about your search is “You Are Worth It” and never forget that even during the hardest times of the journey.
Find your support group, reflect on your experience, and journal about your feelings during your entire search process. Every success story has it’s up and down moments so never give up on your passion to be successful.
During the worst days of my search, there were moments where my timeline kept getting longer and longer each month. Every setback was leading towards a major acceptance for a full time job; I had moments that challenged me as a rising SAPro. My advice to SAGrad’s job searching is to keep working as hard as you can to apply for jobs that YOU want to go for and feel ok saying no to a position that isn’t the right fit for you. This search is your journey and you are in control of your future path (even when it feels like you’re not). You have the skills, resume, and support to be successful.
Own Your Emotions
With the SASearch, it’s ok to just feel the feelings towards becoming a full time SAPro. Being your genuine self is important to process how you are feeling and your entire search experience. You may be able to find your ideal position with a few interviews and that’s ok. Everyone has a different road to success but the destination is the same.
Use your support system for guidance, support, and career advice during this time.
So good luck everyone and remember that you will earn an amazing position.
You Are Worth It and will be a successful professional.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”