I have taken some time to really gather my thoughts on my first job search in student affairs and I honestly can say I am both excited and nervous. Being in graduate school for the past year and a half has been so rewarding, exciting, and challenging. I have been figuring out what I want and what I would prefer not to have when looking into job opportunities. This was definitely the time to do this. Graduate school is a time in your life where you should be taking those chances of truly experiential learning. I have compiled my thoughts of how to go into the job search, and with these perspectives I think that I am going to feel at peace when going through the search.
Be Willing to Try New Things
For me, my search is going to be very open. I do have places of interest, of course, but I do not feel the need to limit my search right now. Everyone’s situation is different, but I am lucky to only be accountable for me. This is such a great time to make a decision based off what I am looking for in a position, the experience I would like to have, and how I can help students and be a part of an office setting along the way. I want to be able to try new things, new areas, and be flexible as this will be my first job coming out of graduate school.
Negotiable and Non-Negotiable
Finding out what you necessarily have to have and can live without is very important. I have been making a list of things that I know I need in a location in order to feel comfortable. Community is big for me. My place must include things that I can do outside of work, support systems, and having things that keep me balanced, such as a Target. We did not have those things in my graduate school experience, being in a rural area. You never know what you miss or need until it is gone. That is the beauty of taking the time to learn from experiences to know what you want and what you do not want. Making a list of those things will help you make decisions on what will be best for your next job opportunity.
Conferences and Job Placements
I have made the decision to do some job search placements and conferences in order have a well-rounded job search. There are various ways of doing the search. I know some may feel that conferences may not be the best fit for them and that is totally understandable. I think finding what will work for you and going from there is very important.
I believe having a supervisor and team that supports you and the work that you will contribute to the team, is truly valuable. Knowing what your institution mission is and what the department represents is important. I want to know that I am in a place where I can grow and be supported. I am very involved in professional organizations, so making sure that I can still feel active in those activities and attend conferences are essential aspects for me.
This time can be very stressful. I am learning that whatever is supposed to happen will happen. You cannot always plan everything out. Just be prepared, do the best that you can, look at your options, and go from there. It is exciting, but remember there is time. I want to make sure I make the best option both professionally and for my well being. My career is a very important piece of my life, however there is more to me than student affairs, so finding balance is extremely important. I know that that if I am putting in the effort of finding the right fit that eventually I will find what I need.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Danny Malave on New Professional Retrospective on the Job Search