Introduction to My Job Searching Journey!

Hello Everyone! I first want to write a big “Thank You” to Jennielle Strother and Alex Williams for allowing me to be a contributor to the #EMchat blog. I have been participating in their weekly Thursday night Twitter chats for some time now and it feels great to be a part of the best team on twitter! My name is Lauren Kaplan and I graduated from the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida with my Masters in College Student Affairs in May, 2010. I came to USF as a transfer student from Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. My time as an undergraduate and graduate student has allowed me to work in a variety of student and academic affairs departments.

Since graduating with my Masters in May, 2010, I have worked part time as an assistant to an Area Coordinator for the Housing and Residence Life Department at the University of Central Florida and as an Admissions Clearance Assistant for the Office of Student Conduct at the University of Central Florida. Currently, I am a Student Development Advisor-Intern at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida.

Upon graduating from my master’s program in May 2010, I have been on a job searching journey.My job searching journey began during my last semester (Spring, 2010) of graduate school when I attended The NASPA Placement Exchange in Chicago, Illinois with my cohort.

For those of you not familiar with The NASPA Placement Exchange (TPE), it is a conference that takes place before the annual conference of NASPA begins. The Placement Exchange takes place over a period of four days where current graduate students from various graduate student affair programs or student affair professionals have the opportunity to interview with employers from different institutions from across the country. You can pre-schedule interviews before you arrive at The Placement Exchange or you can schedule while you’re in attendance. Just because you send your resume and cover letter to an institution before you arrive does not guarantee, though, that you will receive an offer to interview at placement. You can find the position postings by registering with The Placement Exchange website.

While attending NASPA TPE in spring of 2010, I kept an open mind and heart the entire time. Prior to attending the NASPA TPE in Chicago I pre-scheduled interviews with various schools across the country. The positions were mostly for residence life as that tends to be the main positions posted on the TPE job posting website. As a graduate student, I looked at TPE at the time as a great course on how to interview for higher education positions. As a result of those interviews, I did not receive any on campus interviews. However, I was okay with the outcome because I knew that my first TPE was an opportunity to learn how to interview.

Since TPE 2010, I have had eight on campus interviews and dozens of phone interviews. I am always the candidate never the hired. It’s very humbling to be called for an on campus or phone interviews. I truly consider it an honor to be picked out of the 1,000’s of resumes. It just would be nice to be able to call an institution my home of employment.

This past March 2012, I decided to attend TPE in Phoenix, Arizona. This time around I knew what to expect and how to navigate my way through the interview process. I made it a point to network and connect with student affair professionals. I decided to stay for the NASPA conference; this would be my first NASPA conference so I took this opportunity to further put myself out into the world of student affairs and attend sessions on topics I wanted to know more about. Both TPE and NASPA conferences were a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to attend the NASPA conference in 2013 in my hometown of Orlando, Florida.

As a result of this job searching journey or marathon for short, I would like to help other graduate students or current student affair job seekers along in this process. It’s important that we stick together! My former College Student Affairs Professor, with each step in this process has always told me “Maybe it’s your turn” and that phrase has not only kept me motivated, but when the timing is right, it will be. I will write next month on “Job Searching Strategies”