As a second-year PASA student in the midst of the job search, sometimes it seems as if the job search process is creating more questions than answers. Some topics, such as negotiating a salary, seem too taboo while others, such as the application process for community colleges, appear shrouded in mystery. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to take part in the 2016 NASPA Region VI Drive In Conference, which provided me with tips and tricks to navigate the job search process.
The conference provided a space where I was finally getting answers to my questions. Presenters didn’t shy away from taboo topics, but instead were open about how to know your value as a professional and negotiate your salary accordingly. As someone who is very aware of the expenses I will have once I graduate, I appreciated getting an understanding of how to calculate a minimum salary needed, as well as negotiate with grace. This workshop also came with a realistic discussion about how to cope with disappointment during the job search process. This perspective helped balance my idealism with realistic expectations.
In another workshop Dyrell Foster, Vice President of Student Services at Moreno Valley College, provided an insider perspective to the job search process at community colleges. He walked us through screening process to the final interview, providing tips on how to stand out from the crowd. Because employment at community colleges is so competitive, it was invaluable to have a guide to help de-mystify the process.
As I face applications and interviews in the coming months, I feel much more confident about the job search process and excited about the future that lies ahead. The candid presentations from experienced student affairs professionals, as well as the opportunity to network and participate in a mock interview experience have given me the knowledge and skills to pursue a career I am passionate about. To all my fellow Trojans and soon to be PASA graduates, good luck in the application process and fight on!