Remember that it’s not (just) about you anymore.
Undergraduate and graduate school were focused on your learning and development, but being an employee in higher education is different from being a student in higher education. It’s your job to make sure that others are learning and developing. Think more about the macro while still focusing on the micro.
Build confidence while remaining humble:
Remember when you were interviewing for your position and you questioned whether or not you were good enough for the position? Guess what… YOU GOT THE JOB! You were hired because of the skills you possess, the qualities you bring to the department, and maybe how well you dressed. Don’t second-guess your place in the department. Have confidence in your abilities and contributions.
Walk in the office each day with your head held high and remember that your hard work got you there but always remain humble. It’s a highly desirable trait and will always win over arrogance. A confident new professional who maintains an air of humility will go far in our great profession.
Develop Your Board of Directors:
Recognize the naturally occurring renewable resources of professionals in your offices, institutions, and networks. One of the best ways to grow as a professional is to learn from the teachings of others who have gone through the same doors you wish to open. Create a board of advisors for which you’ll connect with to learn, gather advice, and potentially use as references one day.
Don’t simply look for individuals that are copies of yourself. The most successful companies compose their boards from individuals with diverse backgrounds, interests, and commonalities (as it relates to the success of the company). The more diverse your board, the more opportunities you have to learn in many different ways. Remember that as you mature in the profession your board will grow with you. Mentors may come and go, just remember to appreciate them and DON’T forget that you’re never to old to grow and develop professionally and personally.
Never Stop Learning:
Since graduation you’ve slowly begun to realize that the world does not revolve around you anymore. It’s easy to lose the passion for continued growth and development academically now that classes are over and you’re not being graded. Stop! Don’t lose the fire inside of you that drove you to learn. You were hired because of the skills and qualities you bring to the department but you shouldn’t stop learning.
Remember that you can always grow professionally if you enter new and old situations in the role of a learner. Ask questions and set learning benchmarks. The field of higher education is ever changing so make every experience a learning opportunity. Don’t forget that everyone can serve in the pedagogical role so take value in your students, colleagues, and administrators.
Take time and welcome space:
There are infinite things that can make your job the best on the planet and on the flip side there are equally as many that can make you miserable. Remember that not everyday can be the greatest. If you feel absolutely miserable in your position, step back and take some time to truly decipher what things are making you unhappy. After you determine those points, think of how you can change the things under your control and how you can lead conversations with your supervisor about those you can’t change.
It’s natural to experience some feelings of discourse in your first year but success has proven that when you keep your position in perspective you fare well. Remember to use your “Board of Directors” and mentors to keep you grounded and sane.
Campus Interview Tips
As many of our graduates and professionals prepare for on campus interviews in the coming weeks I thought it would be beneficial to provide you all with a few tips to remember during your various campus interviews.
The most common tips:
- Conduct research on the institution and the people who will be interviewing you. It’s always a good sign when you can reference current events or are aware of the campus climate.
- Practice your interview skills and conduct mock interviews in front of a variety of audiences. This is where your Board of Directors comes handy (i.e. mentors).
- Get the schedule for your campus visit in advance and find out with whom you will be meeting, so you’ll know what to expect. If you unsure what offices do, speak to the equivalent individual(s) on your campus.
- Bring extra copies of your resume, cover letter, and the job description. Be sure to carry them with you on the plane in case your baggage is lost.
- If you don’t know something, admit it and don’t beat yourself up.
◦ No one expects you to be the holder of all knowledge and not knowing presents a greater opportunity to learn.
- Smile and be yourself, but remember to act and dress appropriately throughout your entire visit.
◦ Remember that you are on an interview from the moment you meet with your host till you are back on your plane. You never know whom has connections with whom.
- Don’t get discouraged.
◦ You’ll have several interviews from first round to campus interviews and some may not yield a job offer but as one door closes another opens elsewhere.
Bring with you:
- Copies of your resume’, cover letter, job description
- References and letters of recommendations.
- Appropriate attire for interviews.
End of Year Advice:
Reevaluate, Adjust, Move Forward:
For many of you the first year of your professional career has just come to an end (this is when you pat yourself on the back). It was a roller coaster year full of ups and downs but in the end you made it and did it with style and poise but the work on your professional growth and development is not done yet!
This is the time for you to reflect on your year and analyze :
- What went well…
- What didn’t go so well…
- What skills you gained or improved…
- What skills you want to learn…
After you’ve conducted your analysis it doesn’t hurt to map out your goals for the next year. We all work because we have a passion for our profession and a drive to make a difference. Remember that your growth and development is just as important as the students we mentor and guide. They grow from your teachings and tutelage so remember to give yourself some attention.