Thursday, February 23, 2012

Small Town, Big (City) Dreams #9

Tis the season.

It’s happening. My colleagues are beginning to get offers from schools to interview on campus. Phone interviews are happening. C3 and TPE are launched and well underway. Suddenly I am feeling the pressure. On top of that, candidates for my graduate program have been on campus for the past few weeks, interviewing for, what will be, the spot I leave behind. Life has become overwhelming all at once. Looking at the C3 website, I am disappointed that there are not many positions that I would apply for, if any (remember that I am searching outside of Residence Life). The other day, I spoke with a seasoned professional about this. He stated that ACPA and the job search is far more than just C3. He compelled me to join a committee in the functional area I am searching in, to make connects and figure out what potential openings people had.

Along with C3 and ACPA comes the anxiety that most introverts experience, the idea of being surrounded by an overwhelming number of extraverts in a closed space (thus, student affairs at its finest). This anxiety does not keep me up at night by any means, but this aspect does not really excite me. I am trying to think about ways that I can combat the feeling of being overwhelmed and exhausted (something that definitely occurred last year, because I did not know many people who attended the conference, consequently feeling overwhelmed to make “new connections”). This year, I feel like everyone in my graduate program and department are going...which could make for a fun, but very stressful time. I can just imagine the banter around how many interviews each person has. I would hope that my colleagues would respond professionally to this environment, but I can already feel the competitive atmosphere building. (Note: “Hi, how are you? I applied for 8 jobs this weekend!” is not an appropriate way to start any conversation this time of year…)

Its moments like this morning (when I was reading Job One, which is excellent by the way) that allow me to take a step back and reflect on this job search holistically. It’s safe to say that this job search will most likely be the most extensive one of my career in number of positions I apply to and geographic region. So for now, I will rely on the advice from my mentors, who all say to take it one day at a time. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Take me As I Am, Hire Me, or Leave Me! #12

My New Buddies

This week I finally sat down with my three new buddies; green, yellow and red highlighter. Yes, you read that correct, my new buddies are 3 highlighters. Why you ask? Well, these buddies showed me my strengths ( green), job duties I can do  ( yellow) and duties I don't have experience in (red). We spent some time looking over job descriptions and the findings were shocking.  I realized that I need to be MORE patience and focus more on leadership and student activities jobs.

After completing this exercise and applying to some jobs I received my first job interview!! It will be interviewing at TPE with an all women's University!!

The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Small Town, (Big) City Dreams #8

What Not to Wear: SA Edition

There’s been a lot of discussion in my graduate program about professional dress, including convention attire. Its frustrating for me time and again to hear these questions, because I feel as though so much more of our time as a knowledge community in the remaining months could be spent on other aspects of the job search—and even “job one”.

The question about dress is link more largely to notions of private versus public versus professional identity. I’ll never wear something that is inauthentic to myself. This is part of the struggle with this question of dress. We need to strike a balance between who we are as professionals and our own personal flare. For example, I am someone who enjoys large rings and patterned pashminas (I wear them daily!). I really don’t care whether that is professional or not. When I take off my big ring, you can still see a large, noticeable indent left on my finger. I use this example as a metaphor to identify other personality traits/behaviors I possess, if I were to shed them, their mark would still be known in some way or another.

On a philosophical level, I believe I have an indent on my professional identity as it relates to unconventionality and my identity as an outlier. If I tried to hide this fact in an interview, I’m sure that potential employers can easily discern that from my resume and what not being said. If an employer is savvy enough, which he or she ought to be, he or she would be able to equally discern between what is and is not said.

Update from last week: The institution I had a skype interview with declined to pursue my candidacy further. You win some, you lose some. :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Take me As I Am, Hire Me, or Leave Me! #11

Dear Self,
 I know you have been under a lot of stress lately. You are worried about managing your time, balancing family, doing school work, applying for jobs and making sure your last two events at work go well. 
You haven't been to the gym in over a month, your diet sucks, your not getting enough sleep, and you need to stop trying to control things that you don't have control over.

However,  I do know the things you have accomplished thus far is way more then you give yourself credit for. You worked REALLY hard over the last year to build relationships with professionals in the field, and I am so proud of you. You are NOT afraid to put yourself out there for others to see. You stand for what you believe in big or small. Your motivation and passion is contagious.  I know you may feel alone at times, but if you look around you, you will find a whole bunch of people cheering you on. Don't be afraid to ask for help, this is a crazy time in your life.  Remember, you're in a field where there are plenty of people  who WANT to help. All you have to do is ask. 
Lastly, STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF. You are a strong, passionate stubborn woman who knows what she wants and won't stop until she gets it.

Trust Yourself - Dr. Benjamin Spock

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Small Town, Big (City) Dreams #7

Big Things Are Happening

Yesterday, I had my first phone/Skype interview with a potential employer! I was very nervous, yet excited, especially because I have never conducted a Skype interview. I thought it went very well in general, and I think extremely well on a few levels (that I will share with you…).

The camera – Position the camera to a place that says something about you personally. For me, I wasn’t comfortable speaking with a blank wall behind me, so I made sure there was some artwork behind me (a map of campus and another simple picture). It was a talking point during the interview…an added bonus!

Prep work – I wrote out my responses to each anticipated question, but made sure I could articulate my statements without help from a paper. This is where Mom, my best friend, and my hairbrush came in.

I kept post-its with words of encouragement near the camera to keep me motivated. They simply said “smile” and “you’re bigger than your body gives your credit for” (cheesy, I know, I’m slightly embarrassed).


Don’t be afraid to say, “That was a great question, let me think about that for a second.” If anything, it shows that you’re reflective and responsible with your language.

On another note, I’ve decided not to share with too many people in my graduate cohort because of the level of competition, but decided to share with a colleague of mine because he/she had expressed interest in interviewing. This solidified my decision NEVER to share outside of my close circle again, because this person decided to ask me in a group how the interview went (in front of peers who I did not want to share with). I haven’t decided how I will address this exactly, other than to keep my mouth shut. Do others experience this fear of competition in their graduate programs?

By the way, this is a non-Res Life job in a big city. :D Big things are happening!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Take me As I Am, Hire Me, or Leave Me! #10p


I'm starting to worry that  my e-mail account is broken. I  check my e-mail  it every few hours or so. The problem is, I haven't received any e-mails from employers asking me to apply. Not that I expect any, but it would be nice if someone would fill my box with  a little bit of hope, or to jump kick my motivation!  Don't get me wrong, I'm not having any self doubt, I am confidant I will land a job. I just hate waiting, it gives me heart burn:)

 Amen- "Only the paranoid survive." - Andy Grove 

Since today is a holiday, I will take a break from job hunting and enjoy watching the Giants win the Super Bowl!!!

Until Next Time...
 From your Favorite Jersey Girl :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Small Town, Big (City Dreams) #6

SUCCESS...Phone Interview #1

Yesterday I received an email inviting me to my first phone interview of the interview season!

Last week I had a phone conversation with former employee of this school to learn more about what I was getting myself into. My informant was an open book, he claimed, so I felt comfortable asking many different types of questions, but decided to stick to the ones that I had already written down. I viewed our chat as practice interview, making sure I crafted my questions carefully and listened to his response as though he was on the hot seat. We chatted a bit about what it was like to work as a professional at an institution that was not like your typical small private or mid-size public. I asked about the professional network there, the student culture, and any advice that he’d consider relevant for someone about to interview. He told me a few helpful things that I believe I will carry with me to my first phone interview:

1.     The institution’s website is important – so look at it. (check)
2.     Conversely, what is not on the institution’s website is even more important, so take some time to Google what is happening on that campus or in the surrounding community. (dig up the dirt…if you will)
3.     Consider your brand – how will you market yourself to this employer? How have your already branded yourself through application materials (resume, cover letter)?

It wasn’t the first time I was hearing this points, but it was important to remember  all the little pieces of advice over the years as I move forward.

I think another important angle I gained from this experience is learning how to articulate my experiences, and most importantly, the negative ones. While my informant was an open book (from my perspective, more a “burn book” of this particular institution), I felt that even a negative experience at the campus could have been more eloquently articulated. I think about this as I begin to think about how my residence life experience will be incorporated into non-res life interviews. By habit, I think it is easy to remember all of the negative experiences (unnecessary drama between colleagues, long hours, unsympathetic supervisors, etc.). These experiences, however, have made me a stronger, more apt professional. I think approaching somewhat negative experiences through a positive lens would be sound professional advice that I’d give to anyone.

On this note, I’ve been preparing more for specific interview questions. Does anyone have any good resources? A colleague of mine shared this resource with my a few weeks ago…so this is what I’ve been using!