(This post originally appeared on the NSSLHA blog)
I’ve welcomed 2011 with open arms. It seems, as a fourth year audiology student, that this year has been a distant mirage. Here we are though — in just a few short months, many of us will be crossing stages, shaking hands, and even receiving hoods. We’re prepared for the world ahead right? Well, I guess our first stop is actually finding a job!
If you are anything like me, the thought of job searching seems daunting. Where do you even start? I’ve luckily had to go through the search for an externship that taught me some valuable lessons. Others I have learned from those who have gone before me. I’m going to share some of these with you in hopes that we will all enter our job search with a somewhat peaceful mind.
First, where do we even LOOK for jobs? There are many websites, such as ASHA’s or AAA’S, that have sections dedicated to job postings. Also, if you know of a particular state you are looking in, it may be wise to visit State Association websites. You can also look in publications, like the ASHA Leader, where many employers advertise. For audiology students, Audiology Online has a large job posting area. Perhaps more importantly, ask your professors, friends, or former students. Often word of mouth may be the ticket to your next job. Just today, as I sat in a conference meeting, someone overheard me talking about my upcoming job search. He was nice enough to lean over and tell me about a job opening he knew was about to be posted. How do you narrow it down? By this point, you hopefully have a good idea of what kind of job you want. Take time to evaluate what you are seeking: pediatrics? adults? school setting? hospital? cochlear implants? autism? Are you willing to go anywhere or are you looking in a particular geographical area? These are all important things to think about — and are likely sometimes what causes a job search to be stressful.
Preparation is key. Make sure you have a resume prepared as well as cover letters stating your intentions to supply to potential employers. It’s crucial to have these reviewed by others. I suggest at least 3 people. It is wise to include professors and clinical supervisors in your reviewers. They will be able to help you decide what to include and make sure it is prepared appropriately. Your paperwork is not the only preparation key. Ask professors, supervisors, and coworkers if they are willing to provide support for you as a reference. You will want to include this information on your resume. If you have not yet been through an interview experience, it will be a good idea to set up a mock interview. Many academic programs will designate time for this; however, if your school does not, ask a supervisor or professor (or both as it would likely provide different interview styles) if they would help you by setting up a mock interview. It’s also a great idea to do a mock phone interview, as many times, this may be the first step in the interview process.
Speaking of the interview process, lets discuss for that for a moment. In today’s world, it is not uncommon for an interview to be in person, over the phone, or now, even over video conference (like Skype). Be prepared for any of them. You’ll also want to be sure that you have appropriate interview apparel and extra resumes/information on hand during the interview. Research where you are applying — you wouldn’t want to show up somewhere and not know anything about the job/employer and their business. Prepare questions to ask during your interview (easy to do if you research the business and cannot answer a question on your own from that research). You can expect any type of question — it could be knowledge based or a question about how you work with others. No matter what the question is, take a moment to answer thoughtfully. Most importantly, be yourself and be honest during your interview.
Perhaps most of this you already knew, but if not, I hope it helps. Try to remember to remain positive. Always look at any interview as good experience, even if the job doesn’t come through.
I wish you the best in your upcoming job search. Feel free to leave comments/questions/words of advice. I will be walking the same road as you! And because we can all use a little humor in our life…
Sara Davis is NSSLHA’s is Region 3 Regional Councilor. She is a fourth year Doctoral Student in Audiology at the University of Memphis.