Job searching can beslightly different for anyone who is looking for that ‘perfect fit.’ I have toadmit I was a tad bit naive during the beginning of my job search process. Intime, though, I lost my ‘nervousness’ and ‘gooey eyes.’ I began to understandthe process and begin to get down to business.

So, here is a TopFive List of Job Searching Strategies. These top five tips are the ‘ideas and insights’ that arehelping me get through my current job searching. If you want to know thebackground story of who I am, please check out my first blog posting.

1. The Phone Interview

The art of a phoneinterview is one learned over time. It’s like a dance with many steps and withenough practice; the dance becomes fluid, natural, and ends with a greatoverture of applause at the end.

Conduct your phoneinterview in a quiet place with no distractions and preferably, a landlinebecause let’s face it; drop calls are the norm these days.

Have the job descriptionin front of you with notes about the department, university, and any otherfacts that will help you understand the university as a whole.

Your resume should benearby as it will guide you through the interview and provide you with keywords to highlight your experiences and help you answer their questions.

Above all, try to beyourself and see this as an opportunity to let your personality shine. I havehad search committees conduct professional interviews and not so professionalinterviews. You really have to just have a go with the flow and truly expectall sorts of questions, but more importantly, always stay true to yourself.

Finally, it’s important toreflect with a family member, peer, or colleague after a phone interview so youknow what strategies to keep for next time. Sometimes when I thought I didhorrible during a phone interview, I was called for an on- campus interview.You just never know what the search committee interprets and what youinterpret.

2. On-Campus Interview

Naturally, the on-campusinterview is a great way for you to see the campus, the culture, the staff,faculty and community in living color.

Remember you’re on aninterview from the time you step off that plane, car, bus, train until youleave to go back home.

Student Affairs is a verysmall world and you never know who will be listening or seeing you in person.

Also keep in mind, theentire time that you’re interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.Over the course of my three year job search, I have had eight on campusinterviews. And I have had both unprofessional and professional on campusinterviews given by universities. It just happens and we can’t pretend itdoesn’t.

Still, in thoseunprofessional situations, you have to just remain yourself throughout theentire process and not blow off the interview just because you don’t like theenvironment. Organizations change all the time and you could end up workingwith a whole new group of people someday who used to work at that particularinstitution.

3. Networking

This piece of advice,believe it or not, has been the hardest part for me. I am a shy person bynature so at the beginning of my job search, I was very reluctant to networkand ask for help. Soon I realized, though, that networking was the only way toget my name on peoples’ radar and to let them know that I am job searching.

I started with Twitterwhere I was introduced by a friend who, in-turn, introduced me to #sachat,weekly chat. This chat, #sachat weekly chat, invites student affairprofessionals from across the country to participate in a thought-provokingdiscussion guided by a series of questions. I have met a wonderful group ofstudent affair professionals through twitter and I am very thankful to fortheir support.

I have also been a memberor NASPA since 2010 and I have recently joined as a board member of a KnowledgeCommunity to keep my professional membership active.

4. Mentoring

Mentoring is somethingthat really keeps my sanity. When I have someone I can vent to and seek advicefrom, I can settle a lot of my fears about this job search. I have about fourmentors who are at different stages of their student affairs career which givesme a very well-rounded viewpoint.

I am thankful for theirencouraging, tweets, phone calls, emails and cheerleading attitude because itgets me by on a daily basis. It’s important to seek out at least one mentor whois a professional in our field that can be your guide and professionalconfidant.

5. Family

My entire family, havebeen really supportive through my job search. I currently reside with myparents and it’s not easy going back into the household after four years ofliving on your own during college. However, I am really glad to be able to havea place where I feel safe and secure.

It has been adventure foreveryone who has continued to be my cheerleader and knows that one day thecycle will break. You just have to believe in your skill set and know that thisjourney will have ups and downs, a complete emotional roller coaster that youjust have to accept.


In conclusion, thesestrategies may seem like a no- brainer, but I don’t think you can truly putthese strategies to use and realize their potential benefit until you’reactively looking for a job.

Above all, I think it’simportant to really ‘go with the flow during’ job interviews. We all get socaught up in ‘landing the job’ and trying to say everything during ourinterview that is ‘smart and witty’, that we tend to forget the reality ofeveryday living.

The reality is that yourjob search might be a long process, involving many bumps along the road.

I think it’s important tocontinue to be an advocate for YOU along the way. Find part time positions at auniversity and/or enroll in an internship at your local college.

I tend to give this adviceto people who are new to the job search and the student affairs field ingeneral. I usually, though, just get blank stares back in-return. They saythings like “this will never happen to me. I will never get a part timeposition and/or an internship at a local college.” I say, don’t judge asituation until you can picture yourself in the shoes of someone, an employerand/or college administrator who needs help and/or has a new job in mind. Younever know until you try….

Laure Kaplan

Student Affairs - the First Years

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