For many of us grad students, this winter season has been consumed by a very important task: the job search. We’ve made it through coursework, projects, papers, and presentations. Data has been collected, analyzed, and shared, and a new academic language has been acquired. We can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and marvel at all we have accomplished to make it this far. We should feel relieved knowing that graduation is just around the corner, but we know that feeling is reserved for the day when we hear the words, “You’re hired!”
For three months I have been preparing to venture back into the world of international teaching. I dusted off and updated the old CV, sought advice from Education Career Services at the Faculty of Education, gathered the necessary documents, and brainstormed strategies for outshining the competition. The time came to switch hats from ‘grad student’ to ‘professional’ with no time for self-doubt.
The search to find my next international teaching position has been made easier simply by studying at Queen’s. Every year my faculty hosts the Teachers’ Overseas Recruiting Fair (TORF) when administrators and recruiters from all over the world gather in McArthur Hall and conduct numerous interviews with candidates over the course of two days. It is a highly intensive weekend full of a wide range of emotions and by Sunday many candidates come away with solid job offers from international schools around the globe.
The weekend has come and gone and after a whirlwind experience such as this I can’t help but reflect on what I’ve learned from it all. On Friday evening, I prepared for the interviews that were scheduled for Saturday, and as I sorted through my notes on my professional practice, I knew that I had to take some time to consider my approach and what I was looking for professionally and personally. With the global economy in the state that it is in, competition for employment seems tighter than ever. The pressure to secure a job can sometimes overshadow the signs indicating if a certain job/place/employer is the right “fit” for the self.
Sunday was Decision Day for many candidates. Jobs had been offered and in many cases recruiters needed a response within hours. The question, “What does your gut tell you?” was in constant use, but there were other essential questions that I found helpful in the process of sorting out my thoughts and goals for the next chapter.
Why me? Why there? Why now? Know who you are and what you believe in. Stay grounded in what matters to you professionally and on a personal level. While questioning if you are right for a job, also consider if the job is right for you. Does it align with your beliefs and values, and will it allow you to be your best professional self? Also, remind yourself of your goals for the future. Where do you see yourself in five years, or ten years? Will [insert job description and employer] help you get to where you want to go and help you to reach your professional goals? Do no ignore your personal goals either. Think about what you want for yourself and keep them in mind as you weigh pros and cons in relation to what is right for you right now.
These are my own thoughts and are not representative of all grad students. Many of you out there are going through your own process throughout this recruitment season and I welcome you to share your own insights and experiences. We could all use the help. Good luck everyone!
How much personality do you show during an interview? Do you think personality is important in a professional interview?
How do you know when a job is right for you?
How do you prepare for an interview?
If you are immersed in the job hunt, the School of Graduate Studies can help. There are many workshops designed to help you search and prepare for jobs and interviews. Follow the links below to register for an Expanding Horizons workshop in the upcoming months.