Friday, January 20, 2012

Small Town, Big (City) Dreams #3

Advice? Whose to Take?

As the meetings with my supervisor dwindle in number towards the end of the semester, I thought, hey, I should probably talk to her about (1) wanting to leave Residence Life, (2) my job search. As always, she gave wonderful advice about ways to prioritize items in the job search. She told me that I should work on creating lists entitled “want”, “need”, and “icing on the cake” while reviewing job postings. I have taken this piece of advice to heart, but still find myself swayed by a job posting that I am not qualified for or quiet interested in. The other day I found myself saving a job posting, only to happen upon it a few days later. With fresh eyes, I knew that this job was not the right one for me. Yet, I couldn’t help but think what attracted me to the job in the first place?! I take this question quite seriously, and have since taken the last few days to compile a comprehensive list of wants, needs, and icing on the cake. Ok…if you’re getting hungry, that was my last mention of cake!

The other day I found a posting that appeared ideal. When reading the qualifications, I felt like screaming FINALLY A POSITION FOR ME! Then I realize that the job requires 3-5 years experience. For a second, I felt deterred by this requirement. Then I thought about ways that I can make up for lack of experience by talking about my experiences in undergrad and the wealth of experience I gained in graduate school (which felt more like 5 years than 2 years anyways…). When I speak to some colleagues, they tell me “you might as well apply” or “you never know what they’re looking for” or even “yeah, but even with your experience you would be a competitive candidate”. However, this evening a friend of mine told me that she heard that Human Resources won’t even look at a candidate who has less than the experience required. She then said, “it might even look like you didn’t read the job posting clearly enough.” This advice makes sense, but I really don’t know what to think. Should I operate under the assumption that the risk is worth the reward? Or should I play it safe with experience?

1 comment:

  1. Go for it! I recently applied for a job that wanted direct experience in a certain area of student services, which I didn't have.

    However, I had transferable skills and experiences from different areas in student affairs that relate to the position. So, I applied for it because it is my ideal job.

    Now, I have an interview. So, you never know what will happen.

    Try to convey why you want the job, how your experience relates to the position, and why you like the school in your cover letter. Hopefully, it will lead to an interview. Good luck!

    Since you are still a Grad Student, maybe you can find the time to get some experience volunteering/job shadowing in the area of student affairs that you want to work. It will give you an opportunity to talk about that experience in an interview. Hope I helped!