Friday, June 13, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #21

Better Late Than Never

I know it's a few days overdue for my post, but for good reason: I GOT A JOB!!!! 

Turns out my pro-bono career center gig at my home institution is going to become something permanent and I received my offer letter from the Director yesterday. The position I will be accepting a position as a Program Director of Career Foundations, which will primarily involve advising students on career development resources, but will also involve managing a staff of student peer career educators, and potentially teaching a career development course. 

I actually had the offer letter sitting in my personal email inbox for 3 HOURS! I had been so used to only checking my school email account that when I finally did check, and saw the email, I let out a loud laugh and shook my head at myself. Whatever the case, the news is better late than never so I am overjoyed to say the least. 

The position is extremely fitting for my background and I am excited that I will have the opportunity to continue working directly with students, managing a staff, and teaching - all of which I had opportunities to do during my grad school career. I am also excited about the opportunity to work in a career center that has a lot of potential for new ideas and growth, an amazing director, a very collegial staff, and an immense amount of backing from the university's senior leadership. This position was definitely at the top of my list in comparison to some of the other positions, but the process was so touch and go because of the red tape that could've potentially stood in the way. 

I cannot tell you how happy I am that the search has finally finished! I applied for 10 positions total, had 2 phone interviews, and 1 on-campus interview. Certainly there are many out there who put in more job applications, but given my targeted search parameters (location, position, functional area, and pay), I think I made out pretty darn well!

For those of you who are still on the search, I wish you luck and know that the job hunt is all about being able to tell your career story in the most comprehensive and compelling way. It's a lot of work, but like any great novel, it's takes a lot of drafts to create a masterpiece. 

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #20

Patience is a virtue 

So my counterpart blogger has found a position and for that I say congrats! It seems as though the hard work paid off!

I am too getting a lot closer to having something in the bag I think, but I don't want to jinx it. All I will say is that I had a positive conversation with my supervisor for my pro bono job and things are moving quicker, but still some red tape to go before I can celebrate. I'll leave it at that for now. 

Otherwise, there's zero activity happening otherwise. The career services position that. Interviewed for a few weeks ago has yet to follow up with me, which is pretty uncool. There was talk about on-campus interviews about around this week, but the radio silence is telling me that it's going to be dead in the water. If that's the case, fine, but at least communicate with me! 

As a famous pop diva once said, "time goes by so slowly to those who wait, I'm tired of waiting on you". That's exactly how I feel about this job process, but no matter how I feel, I have to keep going, and going I shall! Happy hunting fellow job seekers!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #20

My Full Circle

I am happy to announce that I have accepted a job offer at a community college in the Northeast! I will be a staff assistant in the Admissions Office, and my primary task will be to manage the newly purchased texting & email marketing system. I’ll also continue to work with students in the dual enrollment program.

I remember sitting with the vice president after accepting the offer. I stared at her dumbly. “So I can tell people now?” I asked. She laughed and said yeah, I could tell people. It’s a sealed deal.

There are so many positive points that ultimately impacted my decision, like a state job, a diverse student population, an institution that’s open to new ideas and changes, professional development opportunities, and having the ability to learn something entirely new and implement change on huge level. My role is incredibly tecchy and not at all what I envisioned myself to be doing once I graduated. The opportunity, however, presented itself and I couldn’t say no.

I did understand that I would sacrifice the opportunity to work one-on-one with students. A large part of my experience as a graduate assistant (at a private institution) was supporting students individually by building rapport and teaching them how to academically succeed. I absolutely loved it, and I’m truly going to miss it. An advisor position opened at my assistantship around the time I was moving forward with the community college position, and it was suggested that I stay with the private institution. Ultimately though, I want grow, and I will have the opportunity to experience such growth with the position that I just accepted.

Looking back on my job search, it was bizarre. I applied to 25 jobs, and I was pretty much rejected by all of them. I had a phone interview with one institution that never called me. I nearly had a phone interview that never happened because I accidentally noted that I was bilingual on the application. I had one formal interview with a department that I interned for and wasn’t offered the job. I had a second informal interview for the same department and landed myself a job. Both offices that I interned for encouraged me to work for them. It’s weird, and I feel very lucky that this worked out the way it did.

I want to wish the best of luck to all my colleagues that are still navigating the job search. You will be ok. You are educated and you are qualified, and you got this.

All the best, -b

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #19

Witty Title

I apologize for my delayed update! I recently had a death in the family, and that coupled with last minute research papers and finals has led me to feel like I'm moving too fast to function. I can't believe that last weekend was my graduation. I can't believe that I'm finished. It has yet to sink in, I think.

I had an impromptu interview for the internal position that I applied to. I was happily sitting at my intern desk when I was suddenly informed that I would be interviewing at 1pm. A few hours later I found myself in a room interviewing with a group of people that I've interacted with over the past year. To be honest, I was really distracted by upcoming funeral arrangements, so I don't even remember what I said during the interview.

I must have pulled it together though, because the search committee asked how soon I would be able to work full-time. I guess things are finally moving forward.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #19

Yes, No, Maybe

Another week gone by, and I still am no closer with good news on the job front, surprise surprise.I did however receive the lovely news that I could potentially be unemployed by July, thanks to a revelation from HR. The sitch is that despite being hired for a 12-month graduate assistantship from August to August, since I am graduating they technically term my status at the end of June...awesome. I did have a reassuring conversation with my supervisor that she would look into it and find a way to keep me at least until August, but yeah, the frying pan is heating up. I'm trying to keep my cool as I have faith that everything will work out the way it is supposed to; however, my dwindling funds in my bank account will only last me so long, so something has to give, like yesterday.

I have lined up a couple new positions that I intend to apply for this week, one in study abroad and the other in alumni relations. The study abroad job sounds the most exciting; it's more of a coordinator position working remotely with resident directors at various study abroad sites and providing assistance with the logistical and programmatic needs. While it definitely seems interesting, something tells me that this position probably requires some late nights and early mornings with the time difference. I'll give it a shot anyhow and see what happens with it.

Lastly, the internal opportunity form my pro-bono work at my institution's career center is moving at a glacial pace, but movement nonetheless. The latest is that they are moving forward with posting a position that will backfill the responsibilities of the recently departed team member I mentioned back in post #14. Problem is that since it's a full-time position, they have to do a full out search, so that will delay things certainly be a while, and not to mention actually having to compete for the position. It's a headache, but will be worthwhile if I'm able to have the satisfaction of something full time in the end. Fingers crossed. Why can't it be just like in elementary school where if you liked someone, you wrote them a note with the boxes: yes, no, or maybe? Blargh.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #17/18

Alive and Kicking (and maybe screaming)

Hello world! I apologize for disappearing last week;  I was mired up to my neck with remnants responsibilities involved with the last few days of classes. On the upside, I can happily report that I am officially through with all grad school classes foreva eva foreva eva!!!! A.K.A. as in until I go back for my PhD in 5 years.

Anyhow, I am still on the job hunt :(. I just received word today that the Associate Director of Employer Relations position passed on me, but I am by no means disheartened by the news. As I mentioned prior, the management style of the Director really concerned me, and if they had made me the offer, I would have had a difficult time figuring out how I would have turned them down, now I don't have to. The only irksome detail was that instead of giving me the courteous to deliver the news in a meaningful way, I received a canned email from the institution's HR system. Really? I wash my hands of it. 

In more positive news, I happened to get a call to interview for a Career Counselor/Assistant Director position for a private liberal arts institution located about 2 hours south of me. I anticipated getting the call mainly because through my networking at ACPA, I happened to meet someone from this institution who told me about the potential opening, and they contacted me a few weeks ago to notify me that applications were being accepted. I applied, and lo and behold, I had a phone interview last Thursday. I had to interview with 5, count em 5 people! The five included the director, several staff, and a faculty member.

It was the first phone interview I have ever had with so many people, and I definitely had to pace myself to calm my nerves. Because of the number of people, I tried to make myself as conversational as possible, but alas the interviewers were pretty stone cold. Nonetheless, I feel as though it went over fairly well as the Director shared with me the next steps, which will involve a half-day visit and a presentation. Intuition tells me that if they weren't interested they wouldn't have told me the next steps. More to report on it shortly I hope, but to be truthful, I am on the fence on this one too because I really don't want to move to another city. I love where I am, but if I don't find something, my love for the city won't outweigh my bills. I have this sinking suspicion that I'm going to visit this campus and fall in love with it. Hmm.

Lastly, there's no news about my internal pro-bono job at my institution either. They are and it's killing me. I have had several conversations with my "supervisor" and every time it's full of something and nothing at the same time. The latest is that there seems to be financial budget for the role that I would be considered for...however, there are four other positions that are technically ahead of this position. Therefore, there's no clear forecast on when things will move. The bureaucracy of being at large institution is rearing its ugly and unbecoming head at me, and I don't like it at all. I will try to hold out, but something has to give. I'm good for it, so c'mon hire me!

Anyhow, I appreciate the process and know that things will work themselves out. To a better tomorrow and hope for better news. Happy hunting!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #18

Ray of Sunshine

Prepare for the revelation of my super secret opportunity: An internal listing was recently posted for the office that I currently intern at. It's an entirely new position, and I've heard rumors regarding this position for months. The job would include a lot of the tasks that I already perform in addition to managing the new email communications management system. The listing will close May 16, so wish me luck!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #17

Forever Jinxed

Let's talk about how much I wanted to throttle every one of my family members on the morning of my phone interview. 

Just a little back story: After undergrad, I made the decision to move back in with my family to save money while pursuing my Master's degree. When accommodating their schedules, I planned my phone interview for a time when no one would be home. The interview was for 11am. 

Let's do a roll call:

- 9:12am My sister calls because she's sick at school and needs someone to pick her up. Upon arrival she is immediately sequestered in a room with threats of complete silence or else.

- 10:15am Unbeknownst to me, my brother has a doctor's appointment. He and my mother leave the house. I'm slightly annoyed because I had planned to do a little "out loud practicing" beforehand.

- 10:22am My other brother pulls into the driveway. I should mention that he drives a utility van that has an engine loud enough to warrant a noise ordinance. He sets the dogs off. He wants to take the dogs to the gas station. I chase him out of the house. I almost feel badly about it.

- 11:00am I sit and wait. I wait some more. At 11:45am I call it quits. I send an email (which was our initial point of contact) expressing my concern. Hours later I receive a reply. The contact person explains that she didn't receive my email response confirming the appointment, and she left for vacation the next day and only returned this morning. She apologizes and requests a time to reschedule the appointment.

To be perfectly honest, I was very upset. I’m not trying to discredit this college or anything like that, but I had taken time off of work, rearranged my appointments with students, and really prepared for an interview that never happened. It felt like a horrible waste of time. I know that things happen, but it was such an inconvenience! 

Now I must leave you all in suspense, because my response to this email was dictated by that super secret thing that I can’t quite talk about yet. 

But yeah, I’m 0-2 with this interview thing.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #16

Practice Makes Perfect

So...I HAVE AN ON-CAMPUS INTERVIEW!!!!! I received the call late last week that I was selected as a finalist for the Associate Director of Employer Relations position!  On Thursday I will head to campus to meet with the hiring manager, the staff, as well as students and alumni. I am super jazzed about it and look forward to having an honest assessment of whether the position will be a good fit for me and my career interests.

Luckily, I won't have to prepare anything in terms of a formal presentation, but I intend to ask the hiring manager ahead of the interview as to how I should prepare for the conversations. In the past, I was always hesitant to ask that question because I didn't want to appear like I was "brown nosing", but I've learned that it is better to ask more so because it shows a commitment to preparing for the interview AND it only helps me be more effective and focused during the interview. So here's hoping that it goes well!

My biggest concern at this point is what to do about my appearance. I am a male (if that wasn't already clear), and while I'm not claiming to have it worse than women as far as professional dress code standards, I have always had to fight against the "rule" about facial hair/piercings. If you're unfamiliar, the rule is: men should be clean shaven with nothing visible. It is particularly salient in the private sector corporate culture as a signifier of being well-groomed. Thus, for years during previous job hunts, I would go through painstaking lengths to get myself to a barber before an interview for fear of not appearing "professional".

As I am looking to get into the field of education, I don't know what's considered "appropriate" for the work place. My assumption is that it doesn't matter, but I am cautious enough that I would want to err on the side of caution. I'll be honest though, if I really lost out on a job because of my appearance, I would say "good riddance" anyway because that kind of snap judgment is just ridiculous and a load of BS. What's on my face isn't a representation of what's inside my head, so to that I say, get over it.  Anyhow, I will report back on what I decide to do as far as appearance next week!

I'll end this post with a great article that one of my cohort-mates shared with me about recognizing the signs for a bad boss. I will definitely keep these signs in mind and will share next week if I noticed any of these. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #16

Moving Forward

- I have a phone interview with a state school in New Hampshire for an academic advisor position. The interview is scheduled for next Friday, so I'll be sure to provide an update for next week's blog.

- Something else is happening that I'm not allowed to talk about because a "cone of silence" has descended upon this opportunity. I remember wondering why last year's grads were so secretive about the job process, and now I completely understand why. Hopefully I can talk more about this opportunity in the coming weeks. I'm probably pushing the "sworn to secrecy" bit by even alluding to it, but I want to provide a real representation of the job process, and secret stuff is part of it.

- There's an anticipated opening for an academic advisory position at one of the schools that I currently intern at. I'm in this weird situation where I want to voice interest in it (and the Dean is probably wondering why I haven't), but I have already committed to this super secret opportunity, and I don't want to voice interest for one position and then turn around and get hired for another. I think it's more complicated because I'm an employee and not a random person, so I'm a little more vested when I decide to throw my name into the gauntlet. I can't wait for the cone of silence to finally rise so I can have an honest conversation with the Dean regarding my silence about the anticipated opening.

I hope everyone is having luck with their job search! One of my cohort members just got hired for a residence director position, so things are truly happening.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #15

Great Expectations of a Job Interview

Well I'm still waiting to hear back on whether I will move to the next interview round for the Employer Relations job that I had a phone interview for last week. 

In preparation for the interview, I was luckily able to connect to someone who worked in the position before. Unfortunately, this person trashed, and I mean TRASHED the hiring manager, and proceeded to tell me about how inflexible, demanding, and separatist the hiring manager was. It was a bit jarring to say the least, and while I appreciated the candor, it made me critical of this person's judgment and whether or not this might be the right position for me. None of these qualities in a supervisor were appealing and I'll admit, I was disheartened and worried.

Nonetheless, I still had the interview and it went well I think? I spoke with the hiring manager directly for about 50 minutes and it was definitely more of a conversational call than an interrogation, for which I was very grateful. The questions included a bunch of the standard stock about my knowledge about the school, what I could bring to the table, my goals, etc. I in turn asked some pointed questions about how the role came about, what the school's reputation is to employers, and why I would want to work there. 

I was not able to gather as much from the phone interview if there were any truths to the trash-talking former colleague, but here's hoping that I get moved onward in the process, and I can report back. I won't dive into it too much, but I find it so off-putting for anyone to be that candid about a job especially to a total stranger. 

There hasn't been movement otherwise in my search, and honestly, I am OK with that until I get through the next couple of weeks of school. I'm up to my eyeballs in work. Speaking of, my eyeballs need a rest, until next time job hunters!

The Beeline Broadcast, #15

My Almost-Interview

Last week I received a voicemail requesting an interview at a community college in northern Massachusetts. When I returned the call, the Dean of Admissions mentioned that she had a quick question for me. She said something like:

"The search committee noticed that you applied for two positions at our institution. Both positions are nearly identical, but one position requires that the candidate be bilingual. You had indicated that you were not bilingual for one position and bilingual for the other position. The search committee was curious about this discrepancy."

I'm not bilingual, so I immediately apologized for the mistake. The Dean was very gracious about it, and she even explained why the position required a bilingual candidate. She also said that the committee hadn't reviewed the applications for the other position, and if they believed I was a qualified candidate then they would call me for an interview.

Yeah, so that happened.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #14

Pregnant with job possibilities

OK, so I'm not actually pregnant; however, with this being the 14th week of blogging, I googled the term "14 weeks" and low and behold, pregnancy was the top hit. So apparently, week 14 begins the second trimester, wherein babies begin to have more differentiated abilities such as face movements, and I suppose, just like a baby, my job search finally has some movement!

I won't go too deep into the details, but I have two potential job possibilities! The first coming from my pro-bono work at my institution's career center (see post #7), and the second is for a position I applied for online for as an Associate Director of Employer Relations at a comprehensive private, coeducational research university in the mid-atlantic region.  The first one happened on Friday, and the second one came in today; as they say, when it rains, it pours.

The first opportunity came about because of a recent departure of a team member so there's a lot up in the air as far as the details, but I met with my "supervisor" on Friday to catch up, and that's when the mention of the job came up. The career center as a whole is going through some structural changes, which might impact the exact nature of the role will look like, but hopefully here in the next few weeks, I can divulge more details.

I applied for the second job through a job board back in early March - and yes, this is proof positive that job boards aren't always black holes - and lo and behold, I was contacted today about the position. The one thing that I will say about the role is that because it's heavily focused on employer relations, which obviously is in the title, but I am debating whether I want a role that is in support of students, but doesn't exactly work with students. I will update on my thoughts for the next blog, but for now, I can do a happy dance for job hunting progress. Woo to the hoo!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #14

Professional Organizations: My Wallet Isn't Fat Enough

I'm a little hesitant to say this, but here goes: I will not be attending any professional conferences this semester. I simply couldn't justify paying to attend a national conference (and additionally lose money by missing work hours). Girl's got bills to pay.

I definitely considered budgeting to attend TPE, but after realizing that the available positions in New England would center on residence life, I chose not to attend. I have much respect for residence life staff, but I just cannot fathom working in that area.

I don't know if this decision hurt my job search. I'd like to think that it didn't. It's not as though I've ignored my professional contacts. I have certainly reached out to others. I've met with a few previous supervisors. I can honestly say that I've networked with my contacts in the area!

There are those that swear by conference networking, and I'm not saying that conferences aren't a great place to meet new people and exchange ideas. It's just that at this stage in the game I feel like I'm helping my job search by reaching out to old contacts, kicking ass at my internships, and plugging away with job applications.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #13

ACPA Recap/Job Hunting Blues

This year was my 1st time attending ACPA and having only been to NASPA, I had always heard about how different the two are. NASPA is supposedly more "buttoned up" and formal whereas ACPA is more community-oriented and social. I'm not one for falling for stereotypes, but I definitely felt a huge difference at ACPA, especially when it came to job prospecting and networking. Just like NASPA, I also opted out of Career Central, but instead, I made a lot of great contacts, mostly peer-level or mid-level during socials and presentation sessions. All of whom were very intentional about trying to keep me in mind for jobs. There were several opportunities that were floated my way by my new contacts; however, all were in geographic locations outside of my preference like the Midwest. Oh well!

Anyhow, I realize that the past couple of posts have been a bit matter-of-fact and not telling of where I stand on my job search; however, the exciting news is…I still have nothing! I do think my efforts during conference season will push me one step closer, but how many more steps until I get the job is out of my hands. I have actually decided to focus my efforts specifically into landing a position in career services, which is largely because it is the only area I stand a chance of not getting relegated into the lowly ranks of the Student Affairs ladder. I also have been giving some of my non-existent free time to working at my university's career center and it's been awesome! 

My latest woes have been fussing over cover letters and my resume, which I plan on dedicated a blog to in the next couple of weeks. Anyhow, keep on trucking my fellow Student Affairs job hunters! With that being said, I've now applied to six jobs and counting, with a recent one completed yesterday for a career advisor position in the Baltimore area. Hopefully there might be some traction, but as I've recently been told, most jobs in career services especially don't come through until mid to late Summer. Thus I'm settling in for the worst and hoping for the best. Keep on trucking y'all!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #13

Moving Forward

So I did something bad. I started to compare my present position in the job search with my fellow cohort members' positions. I even went so far as to look at the 2013 Student Affairs Blog to see when last year's blogger got hired. Then I started to panic.

If I could offer any advice at this point in time, it would be: DO NOT DO THIS. Do not feel like something is horribly wrong if other people are scoring interviews (and jobs) and you aren’t. It will crush your confidence.

My cohort member posted this status on fbook earlier this week:

Her words really made me feel a lot better. You will get where you need to be, so trust in that.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #12

ACPA is in full swing this week, thus my networking hat is on tight and my blogging will take a hit for the next couple of days. Stay tuned for some delicious updates!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #12

Life Update: Spring Break

About a month ago my stress level reached its crescendo. My job search was putting stress on my relationship, I was frustrated by the lack of job postings, and I was feeling overwhelmed by the demands of my coursework as well as assistantship/internship demands. I am, after all, working at three different offices at two different institutions. At that point I decided I needed a vacation.

Because I'm a poor graduate student, I couldn't do anything remotely elaborate, like catch a plane to California or take a cruise to Aruba. Instead I decided to take a road trip up to Maine for a long weekend at the end of spring break. The idea was to completely remove myself from the multiple stressors in my life and have a little adventure. For the most part it worked, but the journey up the Mass Pike and onto 495 followed the path of at least six different schools that I submitted applications to.

I saw the mountains and I saw the ocean. I didn't think about job applications or rejection emails once.


The adventure was great, but now that I’m back I can already feel the stress starting to creep back in. I was hoping to have some sort of job squared away before I graduated, but I'm wondering if that was a realistic goal. I'm trying to grow comfortable with the idea that that may not happen. I have noticed that a slew of job listings have started to post in areas that I'm actually interested in (like academic advising, student support services, admissions and enrollment, etc.). I've received some rejection emails this week, but they were for positions that I knew were a stretch. I'm hoping that this new wave of applications will be a little more fruitful.

I think I need another vacation.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #11

Post-NASPA Hangover

Give me some aspirin and put me in a dark, silent room. I'm still, yes still, not from alcohol, but from overextending my energy into networking my face off at NASPA. Don't get me wrong; I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was a source of renewing commitment and passion for student affairs practice. I attended excellent presentations, keynote speakers, and even met up with the head honcho of to collaborate on an exciting project -more on that in the near future. 

But let me tell you something, I have never felt so overwhelmed than attending NASPA as an active job seeker. From day one, I was caught between trying to genuinely connect with other attendees and borderline stalking attendees around the conference center in order to peer at their name tags in desperation to discern who I should talk to. On top of it all, every grad student attendee seemed as though they went through TPE and when I introduced myself to others, the first question they asked, "so how was TPE?". I felt so underprepared, insecure, and like I was losing ground on the job hunt. 

I eventually forced myself to go outside where I had a come to Jesus moment with myself and I resolved that a) I need to forget about not attending TPE, b) be present with experience, and c) be OK with the efforts I did make no matter what. For the most part, I can say that I am happy I had that resolve and I think I made out alright. As you know, I posted my top 5 tips last week, so to close, I will recap on my successes and otherwise with them:

5) Use social media to connect with and compliment the speakers (via LinkedIN)
  • I found myself on Twitter a lot especially during some of the larger sessions like Wes Moore and Freeman Hrabowski. While I didn't necessarily receive any direct conversations back with the speakers, I found myself obsessively trying to capture inspiration statements, as well as engaging with other attendees who posted to the hashtag #NASPA14. Prior to NASPA, I was more of a social user, but now I'm hooked to use it for information sourcing and building connections. I plan to continue using it during ACPA next week to build more experience and report back.
  • I did not really use other social media except for LinkedIN to connect with contacts after the conference. 
4) Forget just giving out business cards - collect them (via LinkedIN)
  • Thankfully I was not a horder of sorts with my attempts to get cards, but because I sparingly focused on giving out mine, I was more engaged with those I spoke with and more apt to ask them for a card so I could personally follow up. 
3) Ask meaningful questions of the people you meet (via LinkedIN)
  • Being in the mid-atlantic region, the #1 question people ask after your name is "what do you do?". This question typically infuriates me beyond description because it's more often than not used to be reductive and condescending. Therefore, I found myself  inquiring about how those I chatted with found themselves getting into student affairs work and share my story with them. This was definitely helpful in many cases, one of my favorites of which was with a gentleman who works with second-year retention, so I got to wax philosophies with him for a while on the importance of retention. 
2) SMILE (via Bridgewater State University)
  • I'm a natural smiling person (at least that what I like to think), so whether or not this actually made a difference, who's to say?
1) Establish goals: pursue depth of knowledge, network, or learn something new (via Chronicle of Higher Education)
  • Obviously networking was my goal and while I didn't come away with any specific goals to brag about, I learned from this experience that you have to be prepared to talk about your own campus' current issues. I found myself talking to a Vice President for Student Affairs at a reception, and he shared with me about his challenges around creating diversity on a campus that isn't diverse. I then proceeded to mention that I recently worked on a project assessing my own institution's implementation of diversity, and he then said, "so tell me about your findings".  I nearly tripped up with my answer because it was a group project, and I could only remember certain details, but I faked it through semi-convincingly. However, I know that in the future, I will be more prepared!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #11

Cover Letter Coup

Someone once told me that writing covers letters is easy. You basically make a template and plug in all the necessary information. Somehow I missed the memo, because writing cover letters takes me an awfully long time.

I'm not sure why it takes me years to write them. Maybe it's because I'm acting like a typical Type A perfectionist, or perhaps it's because I'm applying to a variety of positions that require different skill sets, but writing the cover letter takes a really long time. It's kind of a pain.

Back in November I was really confused about how to even write a cover letter. I asked some of my Career Services friends for help, and they gave me a basic rundown. I like to look at examples though, so my law school friend recommended that I visit the Vermont Law School website for sample cover letters. In all honesty, their Career Services website has been incredibly helpful in crafting my cover letters.

There are so many samples to look at. Some of the examples are geared toward internship applications, but others are for job positions. Law writing is very concise, which is a great style to emulate for a cover letter. I've swiped things like transitional phrases and basic structure from the examples the website provides. Then I just adapt everything to my SA experience. The "company" I research is the college. My skills and research reflect my work in higher education.

I know it's a bit of an unorthodox approach, but it works. If anyone else has cover letter resources that you really like, please let me know!

I provided the link to the examples below. After clicking the "useful downloads" link, simply click "Cover Letter Preparation" for tips about cover letter structure and examples of cover letters. 


P.S. My post is a little early this week because I'm headed up to Portland (Maine) this weekend for my last moments of spring break. Woo hoo! But really, I love Maine.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #10

Tips on the Fly

After the hard drive crashed on the office computer during my first week as an intern, I was moved to a different computer closer to the hallway. This situation actually worked in my favor because I now see a lot of traffic throughout the day, such as the Director of Marketing. She's entered the habit of providing me with nuggets of advice as she rushes past my desk. Here are some of the highlights:

1) Always dress for your next position
2) Make sure your department needs you
3) Don't lose sight of your actual job duties*

*The idea is that once you start to get good at your job, other people will ask you to do things because you're known as the person that "gets stuff done." The problem arises when you start to lose sight of your original duties because you're too busy doing other things. Hence, don't lose sight of your actual job duties! She also has a tip about "cleaning your pigeon cage," but I'm going to need some more clarification about that one. To be continued!

P.S. I know this entry is short and sweet, but I've been feeling under the weather this past week (and am only now recovering). Best of luck to anyone that participated at TPE!

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #10

Top Five Job Hunting/Networking Tips at NASPA

This week's blog will be short as I'm currently on a train to Baltimore for NASPA.  As I mentally prepare myself for the overwhelming maniacal whirlwind that is to come, I want to share a top five tips list that I've put together culling from a variety of websites. I hope to knock off as many of these as I can during NASPA and I will expand on them/share my success and failure for next week's blog. So here we go:

5) Use social media to connect with and compliment the speakers (via LinkedIN)
4) Forget just giving out business cards - collect them (via LinkedIN)
3) Ask meaningful questions of the people you meet (via LinkedIN)
2) SMILE (via Bridgewater State University)
1) Establish goals: pursue depth of knowledge, network, or learn something new (via Chronicle of Higher Education)

Here we go!

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #9

TPE: Job Hunting Gone Wrong

Conference season commences this week,  beginning with NASPA and the "necessary" evil that is TPE. Several of my cohortmates have undergone a process of self-induced panic and anxiety in preparation for TPE: filling out applications, contacting employers, and creating a laundry list of potential interview questions. Where as I? I am doing none of the sort as I have adamantly rejected any persuasion of attending TPE.

Reason being is that I remain a skeptic about the realistic effectiveness of such a chaotic process. The job hunt is competitive as it is, now you want to put me in a room with other candidates and interview competitively like I'm in the Hunger Games? No thanks. My biggest gripe with TPE is that candidates are asked to pay on average about $100ish (depending on if you were on your game and registered early) to participate. I'm sorry, but nothing sounds more ridiculous than asking someone to pay money to find a job. 

Yes pragmatists, I understands that there are costs associated with putting on such an event, but why push the cost on the candidates? We grad students are cash-strapped as it is! If anything, it should really be a cost fronted completely by the employers; what a difference that might make in the experience. 

My recruiting experience taught me that paying to find a job creates unrealistic expectations and demands from the consumer. You want to get what you pay for, and in this world of employment wheel of fortune, there are no guarantee that you will get a job through TPE. But you're paying for the interview experience...cut the crap, as a grad student you can get that experience for free by visiting your campus career center. 

Listen, I am not a complete hater. I think that for some, the experience will pay off. I extend sincere congratulate to them for having the odds be in their favor. For the rest of the poor souls, they are S.O.L. I can think of many more meaningful ways to spend that money instead of paying for interviews, like my rent. 

So what's the game plan for me then you ask? I will use my time wisely during the actual NASPA conference to network and connect with professionals, attend receptions, and sit in on business meetings. There's zero certainty that this strategy will be fruitful, but at least I still have $100 in my pocket.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #9

Interview Tips From a High School Principal

One of my courses is "Counseling the College Bound Adult," which is helpful in my work with high school students participating in a dual enrollment program at a community college. Most of the students in my class are in the School of Counseling program, so when the principal of a local high school spoke to our class regarding the interview process, much of his advice was geared toward future guidance counselors.

Despite the fact that I'm interested in a different field, I really liked his tips and found them to be pretty universal in application. Here are some of his finer points:

Do Your Research
Make sure you read up on the school. Know the school's mission. Demonstrate your knowledge by incorporating your research into your cover letter. This will make you stand out from other candidates. You want to prove why you are a good fit.

Have Questions Ready
If you don't have any questions, you may as well walk out of the interview. Make sure you have good questions too. You don't want to ask for a factoid that you can easily find through a quick Google search.

You Better Be a Reader
Don’t stop reading! During interviews the principal asks each candidate what he or she is currently reading. Once he had an otherwise great candidate who really stumbled on this question. Finally she asked if the Bible counted. Of course it counts! He wants to know that you're interested in learning and continuing to learn. Reading is important.

Use a Binder
It's great to bring a binder with supplemental material, but don't pass the binder around the room. The search committee will glance over the pages and not truly absorb the information. Instead use the material in your binder as a reference point. For instance, if the committee asks how you would construct a lesson plan, say, great, let me show you a lesson plan I created...

It's Okay to Have Talking Points
If you're nervous and need talking points to keep you focused, it's okay to have those written down in your binder. It's also okay to have questions written down beforehand. (I always assumed it reflected badly on your preparatory skills if you couldn't memorize your questions or talking points beforehand. Guess I was wrong!)

Know Your Core Values
Know your core values, and don't apologize for it. The principal cited his own interview for a vice principal position at a high school in California. Someone from the search committee demanded to know what he wanted to be when he grew up. The now-principal stood up and said, "I want to run a school in an urban district and implement policies and practices that will help underrepresented populations pursue higher education." BAM. He was hired for the position. The point is that you want to find the right fit, so don't be shy about voicing your values.

When scheduling the interview, ask who you are interviewing with. This will prepare you for what to expect during the interview. At the principal's high school, candidates will interview with the search committee, students, and parents. One candidate cried during an interview because he was entirely unaware that he was interviewing students and parents too. (Back when I interviewed for a position in December, I really wished I had asked who I was interviewing with. This would have helped immensely when I wrote my thank-you letters. I had to do some serious investigating to remember who was on the search committee.)

Visit the School
Ask for a visit before the interview. This will give you the opportunity to get a sense of the school's culture and student body. (For us higher ed people, I've always been encouraged to visit the campus before the interview. It's a great time to talk to students about current issues on campus, and then you can later incorporate these conversations during the interview.) 

Hope these tips helped! :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #8

Resume Miranda Rights: Anything (no really, anything) you say can and will be used against you in a job search

For this week's blog post, as I'm still no further with the job hunt, I was thinking about writing a semi-reflectively post about a great InsideHigherEd article I read about treating students as customers. BUT, I just had a major question come up while working on my resume just now that warrants some thought: to what extend could an employer discriminate against me based on what I put on my resume? 

A little back story: All throughout my resume, it is evident that I have a lot of experience interacting with the deaf community*. From ASL classes to my thesis topic/an upcoming conference presentation (which studies the college experiences of students who are deaf), it's hard to miss that I have some relationship to the communityTherefore, there is a likelihood than an employer could very well assume that I'm deaf, and just maybe decide to discard me from the pile because of it.

This is controversial to even think, much less say, and I hate to believe this might be the case. Realistically speaking from my previous experience though, I know how much time and energy hiring takes, and I have also witnessed how employers make snap judgments when picking candidates to ensure a hassle-free interview process. Thus, depending on the subjective nature of the employer, including words or phrases in a resume that disclose certain identities might cause them to reconsider a candidate due to bias or prejudice. 

Such thoughts give way to a slippery slope known as the political game of social identity. Race, class, gender, sexual orientation, disability, you name it, these identities still suffer at the hand of those who are in positions of power and privilege. Those who are not interested in adjusting their work environment to accommodate individuals who are not like them. While we as practitioners fight the good social justice, fight, we cannot ignore that not all of peers in the field are willing to die on the hill for equity and equality for causes they don't believe in. I recognize such beliefs stemming from the socially constructed perspective of perceived threat and survival - that goes beyond simple explanation here.  

So, while I have no answers for how we overcome those people, I just continue to hope that institutional/organizational push for exposure to and appreciation for difference and diversity remains a priority.

I close really by arguing that words matter on the resume that go beyond grammar and syntax (which are important too!), and I wonder what is the right path to take in such a situation when we, plebeians of the student affairs world, are at the mercy of the gatekeepers known as the hiring manager or HR? I suppose that if this reality exists during my interview process, then I'm better off being turned down for jobs, instead of hiding pieces of me that are genuinely important. I embrace my identities, so my employer had better embrace them too.

Perhaps I'm over thinking all of this, but if such thoughts have crossed your mind, please share your story with me!

*My interest started when I moved to northeast 5 years ago, and I noticed people signing everywhere. My interest turned into a hobby and a hobby into a passion, and I have dedicated myself as an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing community ever since.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #8

Motivation for the Melancholy

I feel like I’m in limbo. This week I didn't find any job listings that fit my criteria, and I haven't heard back from any of the positions I previously applied for. Actually, I did hear back about one job posting. They didn’t select my application for further review. I'm not really surprised because I was a little underqualified. it was a position for a Writing Center Director, and based on the job description the search committee was looking for candidates with a serious background in rhetoric and composition theory. I figured I'd try to swing it anyway, since rhet/comp is something I have studied before and would like to study in the future. Although I'm not exactly surprised that the search committee didn’t select my application, the rejection is still a little disappointing.

I’m also in stasis because there are possible job openings at the institutions I'm currently interning at. The departments are definitely aware that I'm interested, but there's nothing I can do to take more action. I have to wait for search committees to convene, job positions to post online, and so on and so forth. It’s hard to sit back and wait!

I keep reminding myself that the hiring cycle for higher ed doesn't really happen until the summer. Also, I should relax. Also, I need to stop being such a whiner.

Here's an inspirational quote, courtesy of my bffl Pinterest, that's encouraging me to keep plugging away:


Monday, February 24, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #7

Pro bono is the new black

So I've convinced myself that the best way to hunt for jobs in function areas that I don't have experience is to mosey into departments around my institution and volunteer. In particular, I have had my sights on the university's career center, which has been widely known for having vacancies since last semester. Secretly, I'm holding out that they might have a position for me, so about a month ago, I greased the wheels by soliciting an informational meeting with the center's director. 

In the meeting, I told the director that I was interested in trying to support them in their time of need, and of course, that I was happy to help in whatever capacity (aka hire me). I am lucky to have somewhat of an open schedule this last semester, so I offered about 15 hours of time, which I honestly don't really have to spare, but I'm willing to make it work. Since then, I've volunteered for a career fair, and I working towards getting the chance to put on presentations and giving career critiques - in  hopes that I can genuinely show them that I should be a permanent fixture in their office. 

Now don't get me wrong, this all sounds rather self-serving, but I am truly interested in career services work itself. The fair I helped out with a few weeks ago was a lot of fun. I was tasked with trying to get students connected with employers and vice versa, and I thoroughly enjoyed putting nervous students and overzealous employers at ease. It was as if I were participating in a professional version of OKcupid. 

Nonetheless, my recruiter intuition says that even if it doesn't lead to an offer, it's still additional fillers to the resume. Not to mention, the appreciation that I can offer to the staff by taking some things off their plates is priceless. I excel at putting my skills to use for the benefit of students, so I can hold out a little longer. At the very least, I will get a flavor for the career services work in a non-committal way. I prefer monogamy, but I'll take what I can get for now. At the very least, it gives me something to pour my energy into while waiting in vain for the job fairy to grant my wish of a super awesome job landing in my lap. Tick tock job fairy, time is ever constantly running away from me. 

Curious to hear from anyone out there who might also be trying/tried this tactic and if it is paying/paid off? Happy hunting!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #7

Student Debt Is Ruining My Job Search

I have a disgusting amount of student loan debt. It's a little stressful.

To some extent, this stress has colored my job search. All I can think is: STATE SCHOOL. State schools generally pay higher and offer better benefits. And oh yeah, there's that small matter of becoming eligible for a loan forgiveness program.

The Public Servant Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) is for people that work full-time at a public service job. I learned about the program from a law student friend of mine. He's hoping to get a job at the state or federal level in order to qualify for the program. When he first told me about it, I was annoyed. Shouldn't I be eligible for this program too? If I work at a state school, doesn’t that make me a public servant? During my hours of training at FinAid, I decided to investigate. It turns out that I am eligible!

The idea is that you pay a fixed monthly amount for ten years and then your remaining interest and principal are wiped clean. You have to use a certain repayment plan, one of which is income based repayment (IBR). IBR doesn’t really bother me. In fact, it works better in my favor because I won’t be making a lot of money. That’s why people that benefit most from this program are those with high debt and low income.

My lawyer friend told me not to get too excited because this program hasn't reached its first full cycle yet. He says it will ruin the economy, and there’s no guarantee that I’ll be grandfathered in once the plan gets nixed. It’s okay though; PSLF is my little ray of light in a dismal and debt-ridden future.

Now I feel like I should have some sort of disclaimer with this entry. I haven’t read all the fine print. There could be some clause in some paragraph that makes me ineligible for this program. Only certain loans qualify. I haven’t actually talked to a loan person to verify that all of this is true. It’s just something I plan to pursue. I think it’s worth pursuing because all preliminary signs indicate that this is an option.

Also, I'm told that it's really difficult to get hired at a state school because it's a competitive world. Everyone else wants great pay and benefits too. And while I’m not ruling out private schools at all, I’d like to take us back to what a wise blogger once said:

No matter how altruistic we think we are about sticking to our passion for education, in this day and age when Sallie Mae comes knocking (and she’s always knocking), nothing is sexy about being on a shoestring budget.

If interested, here are some PSLF sources you might like to check out:

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #6

Love don't live here anymore: A recap/lessons learned of the NYU student affairs conference

I greatly anticipated the arrival of the NYU Student Affairs Conference that occurred this past Friday. I attended last year for the first time, and I had a pretty amazing time networking with local contacts in the area and sitting in on some pretty meaningful presentations. I hoped for the same experience this time around and even had taken the time to coordinate my outfit to match with Valentine's day, a mix of red and black. Despite such hopes and preparation, a combination of yet another Mid-atlantic snow storm and an unexpected run in with my worst allergic enemy (a cat), the conference was unfortunately a bust.

I rolled up to the NYU Kimmel Center exceptionally drowsy from Benadryl, pants soaking wet from the slurpie-like snow, and no game face on. I managed to get upstairs just as the first sessions were just about to start, and thus began a blur of a day that made my head spin. I heard moderately empowering presentations such as one on pushing women students to lead -which was was more of a proposition of Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" philosophy than actual research - to highly dynamic presentations/speeches about the current state of Higher Ed policy and the importance of creating an economy of memorable student experiences. 

While my intellectual appetite mostly whetted, I had much less luck making meaningful small talk with any of the attendees. Practically every session I went into, colleagues chatted with one another, and even despite my gregarious attempts to break in, I was shut down faster than the government during sequestration.  By the end of the day, I had not handed out ONE SINGLE CARD! I gathered that that the snow storm must have deterred a lot of senior level administrators from attending because the majority of the people I encountered were graduate students (mainly of NYU) like me. 

Thus, it appeared that once they found out that I was a) not a contact with any job leads or b) local to NYC, they casually smiled, but did that glancing move where they are trying to look for someone better to come along. As I've mentioned before, I'm a southerner, so I am very adept at picking up quickly on those kind of disingenuous social cues easily, and I was not a fan of it. The post-conference social at a nearby bar put the nail in the coffin as I walked around in vain trying to insert myself into banal and in-group conversations, and ended up leaving after about half an hour. 

Putting my recruiter hat on, I learned a few things from the experience: 

  • No matter how great the intention, some experiences just aren't meant to be a dream come true, and that's OK! 
We all strive to put our best foot forward, and you may get handed a few curve balls that knock you off balance, but as long as you make the most of what you have, that's all you can ask for. While I felt like I had been sucker punched, I always look on the bright side and I do appreciate that I was able to learn from a few of the presentations, especially the one on policy trends, which will help me during interviews.

  • Competition will always be fierce
Not that I didn't already know this, but other grad students are on their hustle to make connections and lock up some job interviews. I can't blame them for wanting to connect with gatekeepers; most job interview these days are made possible through networking, not necessarily job boards.  Even though that is the case, my final tip for everyone out there is:

  • Never overestimate who you talk to
Those other grad students seemed to care less about me because they didn't perceive me to have much to offer based on the limited details they bothered to get to know about me. True. Right in that instant, maybe I didn't hold the golden ticket, but I tell you one thing, you never know who I might know or be willing to introduce to you. "Pay it forward" has always been my motto.

I know this job hunting business is cut throat, and trust me, I will take necessary means to make sure that I land a stellar job. But I'll tell you one thing, if any of you think for a minute that I forget the faces of the insincere, well bless your little heart. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #6

Making The Right Life Choice

Lately I’ve heard a whole lot of opinions about the job search. Normally I would find these perspectives really helpful. After all, it’s nice to have a bit of guidance with this thing I’ve never done before. I can use all the tips I can get! Then I started to realize that people were offering me conflicting insights, and suddenly I felt very confused.

My topic this week definitely overlaps with my fellow blogger's topic from last week. Should you love your first position? Or should you focus on practicalities like location and income? There are so many different views on the topic.

A) SUPERVISOR: "I would do anything to work at a state school. If an opportunity turns up, take it. Get your foot in the door. Don’t feel as though you have enough student contact? Adjunct. You can make the position, especially if it's an entirely new one." 

B) COHORT MEMBER: "If it's the right fit, I don't care about location." 

C) SIGNIFICANT OTHER: "You shouldn't settle for something you dislike. You shouldn't feel pressured into doing something that you really aren't interested in just for the sake of a job.”

Clearly each person is coming from a very different place. I think, especially with the first job, I may be in for some sacrifices. I have to figure out my priorities, whether it’s location, wage, or job criterion. I have to ask myself questions like: Can I be happy doing the perfect job in a faraway place? Would I be happier settling for a job that I’m semi-interested in and is closer to my family? Should I seek a job in FinAid because it's better paying? I'm trying not to let the advice of others sway me too much. A lot of people want to help me answer these questions, but at the end of the day only I can truly answer them.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #5

No Credit Cards Required

Conference season is nearly upon us, and I have been looking forward to attending both NASPA - for the second time - and ACPA - for the first time. As a second year Masters student though, the obvious expectation that has been put forward by many a predecessor is that I should attend TPE, in part because NASPA is nearby in Bawlmer (Baltimore), but also because of the supposed wealth of job opportunities in one place. While I certainly am game to put myself in for any opportunity that could lead to job acquisition, there is one thing that turns me off about TPE: cost.

I cannot believe that anyone would even consider paying a dime for a job fair. Certainly as a former recruiter, I am no stranger to the notion of fee-based career placement firms, but I have NEVER believed in the value of paying someone else to find me a job. The supposition that doing so will yield "increased odds for employment" based on the sheer number of employers in physical proximity is not a compelling argument. Coupled with this, I know very well that TPE largely attracts employment opportunities in ResLife, which I've said before, I.AM.NOT.INTERESTED. 

I understand and empathize that job fairs are expensive endeavors to put on; however, I could barely get enough money together to get myself to NASPA in the first place, and now you want me to pay more money and get my hopes that I might get an interview for a job I probably don't want? Pass. I know there are many who will disagree with my interpretation, and granted, I have not been to TPE to understand exactly how it works, but want to know what I know from experience that does work? Networking. And where can I network without having to pay extra money? I don't think I even have to say it. 

I intend on writing a detailed blog leading up to conferences about my tactical networking strategies, but for now, I am going to keep my credit card tucked away and save it for more immediate purchases such as textbooks (groan). 

An exciting announcement: I will be in New York area on Friday for the NYU Student Affairs conference. I attended last year and found it to be fairly informative and a great collegial environment for networking. I will report my experiences for next week's blog. Otherwise, another week gone by, and all remains quiet and non-existent on the job front. Happy hunting my fellow SA-ers!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Beeline Broadcast, #5

February Job Search: Why It's Good to Be Type A

I'm the type of person that needs to feel organized. I deal with stress by making to-do lists and setting due dates for myself. I basically micromanage my life until I feel I have some sort of control.

I'm sure this sounds really unhealthy.

Anyway, here’s how I'm micromanaging my job search:


I had job applications floating everywhere. I had apps tossed on my desk, hidden in the file cabinet at my internship, sitting in the printer at my assistantship, stuck between pages of my textbooks, and so on. Now I just throw them in this handy file folder. When I’m feeling especially organized, the apps are ordered in the date that I applied for the job.


I’m sure there are better ways to build a directory, but I rely on an email draft with a list of websites that direct me to job listings. The directory is really nice when I have a spare minute at work and can quickly run through the list to view new postings.

One of my classmates asked which jobs I applied to, and then she quickly added, “only if you’re comfortable saying.” I am totally not like that, so if you’re searching in the Connecticut or Massachusetts region, may these links help you too!


I don't remember who told me this, but Excel is an excellent way to organize yourself during the job search. It's a helpful way to remember which positions you applied to and when the closing date was. It’s also nice to compare information (region, position, institution, pay grade, etc.).


Note: Based on my conversations with other members of my cohort (and their conversations with their mentors), it’s super early in the job search. I wouldn’t panic if you don’t have a carefully constructed Excel sheet tracking your every movement. Like the post states, I’m super Type A (and probably a maniac). These tips may be helpful for you in, oh, a month or two.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Other Side of the Desk: A former recruiter’s perspective #4

Love vs Money

Aside from the tempestuous changing weather in the mid-Atlantic region, I’d have to say last week was pretty decent.  I received an email from a fellow alumna of my undergrad institution, who is now running a division of HR for a large media company that I used to “work for” (used loosely as I was employed on two temporary contract jobs that suddenly ended despite being promised they would turn permanent, not bitter).  She asked me to give her a call to catch up, and while we chatted, she let me know that she had an opening in her department for a recruiter and asked if I was interested.

I was immediately torn on how to answer because from experience I know that recruiting is typically a pretty well-paying gig, and knowing what I’ve known about the media company, I would stand to do pretty well financially.  If I say yes, on the other hand, I would be jumping off the student affairs boat before it even sets sail, but as passionate as I am for it, let’s be real, student affairs does not pay.  How do you think I responded?

a)      Screw poverty, when do I start?!
b)      No way José, my allegiance to student affairs is unbreakable
Joking aside, my response was more of the middle; I told her I’d have to think on it because I had four months of school left and I wouldn’t be able to start until May.  Unfortunately she needed someone to start the job right away, so there’s nothing more to think about.  BUT this situation is bound to come up frequently throughout my career path, the choice between money over passion.  No matter how altruistic we think we are about sticking to our passion for education, in this day and age when Sallie Mae comes knocking (and she’s always knocking), nothing is sexy about being on a shoestring budget.

As “entry-level” Masters student affairs job seekers, we have been told that we can expect to make around $35-40K at best, and that if we ever hope to get around it, we can either marry rich or find another job outside the profession.  As tongue in cheek as that is, it bothers me that we have to even joke about it.  My bigger beef with this low salary business is that there’s a presumed rite of passage that our elders have put on us that we have to prove ourselves in order to advance. I completely agree to an extent – if I had never worked before, but I am closer to 30 years old, and I fear that my former work experience might not even matter.  If I will be knocked down on the totem pole all because I’m a “newbie” to student affairs with no consideration to my former work experience, the deck is stacked against me before I even start, and that is a game I refuse play.  Some might say that I’m over-entitled for feeling this way, but after I sacrificed two years to get a Masters, I don’t think it’s wrong that my career aspirations have a price tag greater than $35K/year.

OK, no more ranting. I found a slew of about 9 positions that I plan on applying for this week ranging in function areas of alumni services, admissions, career services, etc. all that are pretty doable locations around Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Northern New Jersey.  Here’s hoping something positive comes out of it!