Like the majority of my graduating cohort, the job search is never far from my mind. The topic comes up at least three times each class session and is always a prime choice for conversation, especially with May 13, 2016 fast approaching. After attending the NASPA Rise Above: Navigating the Job Search Process Drive-In conference, I feel confident moving forward in my job search and know not only what to expect from the process, but what I should be striving for in my future positions. I left the conference with a better grasp on how to articulate my transferrable skills, solid answers to those challenging interview questions, and strategies for integrating my values and goals into each position.
As an introvert, networking has never exactly been a forte of mine, but the session Authentic Networking and Community Building for Success gave me a new perspective from which to approach this crucial component of the student affairs profession. Brianne encouraged us to venture out of our comfort zones and push our own boundaries. She also emphasized the importance of reflection and checking in with yourself every once in awhile, to understand the perceptions and impressions that others have about you. She incorporated identity into the discussion as well and helped us to understand the important role that our various identities play in developing a professional network.
Dr. Eanes’ keynote advice for setting professional goals, being coachable, and taking risks was emphasized in the session Moving from Graduate Student to (New) Professional to Mid Level Professional. Rocio and Leslie used their own varied experiences at different types of institutions to encourage us to use the resources we have to our advantage and to make every position a learning experience. They emphasized how important it is to have ambition and take initiative to go above and beyond the job description, and to ensure that your work is always a reflection of your professional self and work ethic.
Throughout all of the sessions, it was inspiring to hear about the presenters’ own journeys in student affairs and learn from their own job search experiences. From learning techniques on networking successfully and marketing yourself to the importance of knowing your values and what you want to gain out of each professional experience, the NASPA Rise Above conference gave me valuable tools to utilize not only in my current job search, but after finally receiving that coveted offer letter as well.