With the Student Affairs job searching season getting ready to pick up, I thought I’d share some thoughts based on my experiences for those of you in a Dual Career couple search.
1) Open and honest communication is very important.
When you and your partner are ready to conduct a search, you need to have open and honest communication about how the process is going for both of you all of the time. Talk about what type of positions you are interested in, geographic preferences, institutional preferences, and any other criteria you typically use when conducting a search.
2) Develop a game plan.
After the both of you talk about criteria, develop a game plan and then look at openings. Discuss what are your priorities/goals during the search. For example: Is it important that you both secure position or just that one of you advance your career?
Another important topic to discuss is whether or not you will both apply for the same positions. We did apply for a couple of positions at The Placement Exchange and we knew not to take it personally if one impressed an employer more than the other. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t because I think it made some employers feel awkward.
3) Select geographic locations that offer several employers – unless both of you are willing to have either long commutes or a distance relationship.
During our last search, we made it a priority to look at areas that had several institutions within a reasonable distance so that we did not have to bank on getting positions at the same institution. I think it really helped us to: a) not compete for the same positions, b) feel less pressure to work at the same institution, and c) just have more options for employment.
I think work commute is something that I underestimated because we had always either lived on campus or within close proximity to campus. So, I went from a 15 min bike ride to a 90 min drive. Not fun.
4) There is going to a lot of sacrificing.
Like any dual career couple there is a strong possibility that both people are going to have to make sacrifices. The amount of sacrificing will depend on you priorities/goals for the search.
Another thing to consider if you have kids (like I do) is balancing schedules for on campus interviews or interviews at a placement fair if you decide to bring your kids with you.
5) Review Benefits
Some institutions offer domestic partnership benefits which will ultimately save you money and stretch out your salary if you are in a domestic partnership relationship. Also, another good reason to look is because benefits will differ amongst institutions. This will then impact salary negotiations if you both secure positions.
If you are a part of a dual career couple, please leave any suggestions or questions in the comments section and I will follow up with them. You can also hit me up on Twitter (@PetePereira) if you would like to have a private conversation.
Pete Pereira is Coordinator for Campus Activities at Texas State University-San Marcos.