You are worthy of that interview slot and position! 

Navigating your first job search as a student affairs educator takes up a lot of time and energy. Interview after interview, you will hear a variation of, “So tell us about yourself and why you applied to this position,” only to find the dreaded “We regret to inform you that…” email a few weeks later. Although my job search journey was long, I knew that what was meant for me would never pass me. Below, are five things I have learned going through my first job search in student affairs: 

Reflect prior to the interview: Why are you applying for this job and what characteristics do you have that will benefit the company or institution you wish to work at? In addition, think about what this position offers that can benefit you as a student affairs educator, and by potentially being in this position, what new opportunities can you also explore? 

Take up space: Being a first-generation Latiné womxn of color, I have been in a lot of spaces where I felt like my voice was not uplifted or acknowledged. Thinking about the job search, I tended to question my ability to perform the job responsibilities outlined in a posting, due to a feeling of being under-qualified and imposter syndrome. However, the reality is that I met 90% of the qualifications and should not have underestimated my worth and talent. I encourage you to do the same because if you are selected for an interview, then that means without a doubt that the hiring committee is interested in you! Let them know of all the amazing work you have done and pull the numbers. Claim and take ownership of the time and energy invested in projects you have done. It is okay to own the experience you bring to the table, don’t try to hide it! 

Ask the questions: You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you! This is your time to figure out what support looks like within your role, what your supervisor’s supervision style would be, and better understand the work culture. When I interviewed, one of my favorite questions to ask was “What brings you joy in your work?” because it allows the panel to reflect on where they are and shows you if their passion aligns with yours. 

Know your rights: Look into what your rights are as an interviewer within your state and the institution you are applying for. It is okay to ask for accommodations if you need them! Some accommodations include asking for questions ahead of time to process things better, asking employers to put the questions in the chat if interviewing online, or asking about physical accommodations for on-campus interviews. 

Community: Although this does not align directly with the job interview, it is just important. Find people in your corner that will uplift you during this job search process. Find supporters you can process your first, second, or third interview with to get an outside perspective. Having supporters who will be a sounding board for your thoughts and reflections about interviews or practice interview questions with you will only further enrich your experience! 

It took me nearly four months after receiving my Master’s degree to land a job in Student Affairs. Despite this, I leaned into my community and trusted my experiences. Now, I work in Basic Needs, which is a position that fills me with joy while also reflecting my values. Although this might not be your outcome, I want to remind you that you are good at what you do. The opportunities presented did not fall into your lap. You worked hard for them! You deserve a job that will meet your basic needs and something that can impact you as a student affairs practitioner!