Juhi Bhatt is currently the Title IX Investigator at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Prior to this position she served as the Coordinator of Student Conduct & Student Information at Bergen Community College. Juhi has experience in career counseling, student activities, registrar, transfer counseling, student conduct and Title IX. She is currently pursuing her doctorate of education in higher education administration at Saint Peter’s University. In her spare time she spends time with her family and her crazy pit bull named Minnie. Follow Juhi on Twitter @jbhatt12 and Instagram @jabhatt.
As the months to graduation approach, we all begin to think about that first job in the field of our choice.
We begin to imagine not going to class anymore but instead going to work and using all the skills we’ve developed.
We think about where we want to end up and the kind of organization we want to work at for our first job.
But what we do not think about is how hard finding that job can be.
We do not think about the fact that we may not get a job right away, or that we may even ::gasp:: get rejected from a job or two in the hunt for a position.
We are programmed to believe that upon graduation we will find a job immediately but unfortunately, reality is much different.
I wish there had been a course within my graduate studies that prepared me for the job search process.
Course work could have included cover letter and resume templates, mock interviews for phone, Skype and in-person because, let’s face it, all of those are different and come with assorted questions. In this day and age, interviewing has changed.
At this point the on-campus interviews can range from one hour to a half day to a full day’s event. Most even include a presentation on a topic chosen by the prospective employer. Then, you have to decide what platform you’ll use to present; is PowerPoint or Prezi the way to go? Should you follow up with an email or a hand written note? What should the thank you email or note say? So many questions!
Maybe I was naïve but I was not prepared for most of this in my job search. If it were not for mentors within the field I do not know how I would have persevered and found my way.
Through this whole process there are crucial questions you have to ask yourself about the institutions you are interviewing with as well. Questions that will inform about whether or not you want to work there or if it will be a good fit. My mentors helped me formulate those questions so that I knew what to ask when asked “do you have any questions for us?” If I did not have those guides, I am not sure I would have asked all the right questions.
But, the hardest thing about the job search process had to be persistence. The reality is that you may not land the first job you interview for, or the second job or the third job, you get the point. You may have to interview for a while with a few different folks on a few different campuses before you are actually offered a position you decide to accept. Keeping your spirit up after being rejected from positions you thought you would be perfect for is rough. You want to quit. You wonder why you spent so much time getting your degree and you begin to wonder if you will ever find a job.
As students we need to be well informed through our educational journey that the job search process can be hard and winding. We need to know that it is ok if it takes a while to find a position. A longer journey to find a position does not reflect poorly on you. We need a realistic framework for job searching when getting out into the “real world” so that the wind does not get knocked out of our sails if at first we do not succeed.
And as job searchers we need to make sure we know that everyone will give their advice on what jobs to apply for, what your cover letter should look like, what to wear, what to say, what questions to ask to the point where we become confused. Just remember to take all advice in stride and to listen to yourself along the way. The job search process is not always as easy as others make it look but the end result will be the same for you as it was for everyone else. A job in a place you call your professional home.
What No One Told You About Student Affairs is a month-long series of guest posts highlighting lessons learned in the field of student affairs.