Let's get your job search started! Read on to find 5 tips for starting the SLP-CF job search strong.
Start with the end in mind!
Looking back, when I was just starting the job search for my CF, I was overwhelmed. To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect or how to navigate the process. Hopefully my mistakes will help you in your journey!
1. Organization is Key
You will be talking to a ton of people from various companies over the next few months! Make a spreadsheet now and keep yourself organized from the start. This will help to keep you focused and productive in your search.
I've made a free spreadsheet to help get you going on your own CF job search! You can find that here.
If you'd like to make your own, I'd include headers such as: company name, city/address (or commute time), population served, recruiter/HR representative's name, email, phone number, where you are in the interview process and next steps.
2. Names- Remember Them!
I was midway through the CF job search, papers were flying while I was mid negotiation with one company and I couldn't remember the man on the other end of the phone's name.
It bothered me throughout the rest of the conversation and I was not able to remember his name until later that night. This was not the first time I'd forgotten someone's name. Unfortunately, it happened more often than I'd like to admit. Luckily, the company seemed fishy so I didn't choose them, but the lesson had been learned.
Above all, learn from my mistake and write down every person's name in your spreadsheet, along with their title and position as a reference. Start and end each conversation with their name (e.g. "How are you doing today, Sue?", "It was great talking with you today, Bob") and you'll be sure to impress the interviewer on the other end.
3. Make a List and Stick to it
Be true to your wants and needs as a working professional. Where do you want to live? Who do you want to work with?
Make a list of criteria your clinical fellowship must meet BEFORE interviewing. This can include the population you'd like to work with, hours you'd like to work, how your supervision would ideally look, etc. Decide which are highest in value and stick to it. Remember, this is your fellowship!
This is not to say you should expect only the best and will not accept anything else. After all, this is just your beginning as an SLP. However, if you take the time to paint a picture of your perfect CF now, you'll have an easier time saying "no thank you" to offers that do not match your ideal fellowship later.
4. Learn to Say "No" (politely)
If you're anything like me and/or a "people-pleaser", saying "no" is hard! Learn to say "no" when the interviewer asks to chat during a time you are at work, or wants to know "your asking price", or calls again and again to ask why you don't think the placement is the "right fit". Yes, these have all happened to me.
Saying "no" now, saves everyone time later. Be sure to thank them and find a solution or move on! You've got places to be and people to help! Set boundaries from the start.
You're about to enter a new community of SLPs, tell everyone you know that you are looking for a fellowship! Most importantly, your name coming from another human being (e.g. an employee or friend) is 1,000 times more powerful than coming from a job board ad. Connect on LinkedIn, through your graduate school placement and with new people at conventions! Get your name out there!
I'd love to hear how you keep (or kept) yourself organized through the CF job search! Comment below with your story!
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