All of these thoughts have circulated in my mind. It is November and the end of the semester is right around the corner. I HAVE to have someplace to work and live when I leave here. Where will I be at this time next year?
The Career Services Office at HGSE is really good about supporting students during our time here. Currently, fall PERC (Period of Employers Recruiting on Campus) is taking place. During this time employers come to HGSE, host information sessions, and conduct interviews for their open positions. It is a great time to learn about different companies and learn about positions within the different sectors of education.
Attending office hours with the Career Services Office is very valuable as well. I have received great advice from the Associate Director of Career Services, Mary Frazier-Davis, to help me prepare for my transition to working again. The advice that I have received is so helpful and I feel like it is worth sharing!
- Find someone to be your professional mentor. This person can give you a wealth of knowledge within the field. You want to find someone that you trust and who has your best interest in mind. This is an invaluable resource that can further put you in touch with other professionals in your field. Imagine how great it would be to easily contact someone and receive any advice that you need for your career.
- Find people who are doing your ideal job. Reach out to them and conduct informal interviews. This is a great way to learn about a position and to see if it is a good fit for you. But don’t just find one person, find 10 people. This will give you a broader range of perspectives and will help you create a better picture of what it actually looks and feels like to have the job.
- If there is a company that you are interested in working with, reach out! You never know when they may be hiring. Even if your desired position is not available, another similar position may be presented simply because you reached out. By staying silent, you prevent yourself from unexpected and unforeseeable opportunities.
- Jobs aren’t always going to come to you. Sometimes you have to go to them. This doesn’t mean be aggressive, but it does mean that you have to actually put in the work to job search, network, and make yourself professionally available.
- Explore the network that you already have. Don’t forget about the people that you already know. Normally I like to keep things to myself but since I have been here, I recognize how valuable it is to collaborate with my peers. Because people come from various locations, we all know different people and have different networks. All it takes is a conversation to connect our networks and help each other land a job in our desired location with a company that is already approved by our peers.
- Don’t forget, many people get their current jobs because they knew someone at the company. This speaks for itself! Network. It is one of the best ways to find a job. It’s not what you know, but who you know. Cliche, yes. But rather accurate. Usually.
- Use LinkedIn wisely and to your advantage to connect with people. I used to shy away from LinkedIn. I have never been the best with social media. But now, I run towards LinkedIn! I think it is such a great resource for establishing and maintaining a professional network. It is also an easy way to see who in your network may know someone else that works with a company that you are interested in and may help you with your next job. I love how you can see who else from your alma mater works with a company. That is a great way to get your foot in the door.
- Be open. You may like a position at a company that you have never thought of before. As long as you are able to combine your passions into your job, it is ok! Many people have the false belief that working in education means you work at a school. There are other ways to be an educator. You can work at a nonprofit, a community center, within policy or the government, etc. You never know where you may end up. Just keep an open mind and make sure you are doing something that you are passionate about and enjoy.
In my A333Y School Instructional Leadership:Seminar and Practicum for School Developers class, taught by Dr. Irvin Scott (a professor who would be a phenomenal mentor), students from BINcA, a fully bilingual school in Boston Public Schools, spoke to my class about their school and how they are preparing to think about what they want to do with their future. These young students were completely open and stated that they are not sure what they want to do when they grow up. I made sure to inform them that discovering what you want to do is an ongoing process that I am always clarifying, changing, and refining even as an adult. Having great mentors make navigating your career more bearable. So lean in to receive help and assistance. You weren’t meant to figure life out all on your own!
Rashaida Melvin is a Master’s of Education candidate in the School Leadership Program. She has taught for three years and is excited about moving from the classroom into leadership. Rashaida is looking forward to serving both teachers and students in the future.