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Practically Interviewing: Pounding the Pavement, SLP-CF Style

So I've been job searching/hunting/begging/pleading for a few months now since Graduate school and my leave replacement position ended. It's exhausting and frustrating but I haven't lost hope! I've had some great interviews, some not-so-great interviews, and I've gained a ton of knowledge along the way.  The job market in New York is tough, but I'm hoping I'm tougher!

As a CF (clinical fellow), you're automatically looked at as "green", a "newbie" if you will. You're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on the world with your knowledge! The sad reality is that many people are looking for experience, and so even though you may power through that interview, nail that question, or hit it off with an interviewer, your "green" is always showing. HOWEVER, you're great, you're well-trained, and you rock! So, you're getting a job, fellow-CF, have no fear!

Here's some knowledge that I've gained during this interviewing process. I've been lucky enough to have some great guidance along the way from some seriously talented educational professionals, and I'd like to share it with you. Here's a breakdown of some things you're going to want to know while you're pounding the pavement! The 4 A's, if you will!

Attire:
This may seem like an obvious one, but you should think about your interview attire. Many people opt for a suit, and that's great, but I'm not comfortable in one. I tried on about 20 different pants/skirt suits and every time I looked in the mirror I didn't look like "me". SO, I found that a nice pair of slacks, a pretty blouse, and a casual blazer is my go-to look for interviews. If it's a second interview, I'm pairing slacks with a fancy blouse and losing the blazer. I'm comfortable in this outfit, I can move around (and talk with my hands) and not worry about how I'm sitting or how I look. It helps!

Attitude:
I am the lunatic giving myself a pep-talk in the car before I go into an interview. It's the "I think I can, I think I can" attitude that helps you move along through and interview process. You know your stuff, so go in there and sit up straight and show 'em! I talk to myself until I reach the door. Whether it's in my head, or a slight whisper, I'm giving myself a pep-talk. You are your biggest fan!

Answering:
There are many different takes on this topic. Should you wait a beat before you answer? Should you answer right away? Should you ponder and look off into the distance? It's up to you, but I've found that when I take a breath and then answer I "perform" the best. Own your answer, deliver it with confidence, and give examples if you find yourself being unclear. Also, get excited!!! Show some enthusiasm if you're talking about something you're passionate about, or knowledgable on! You can't be SLP-robot in an interview, be you! You're a CF, put on your experienced face and make them forget that!

Advice:

  1. Write thank you notes, and HAND WRITE them! It shows you care about the position and appreciate the time that person took to spend with you.
  2. Make eye contact. You don't need to have a staring contest, but it helps to show your confident stance.
  3. ALWAYS bring your portfolio. Don't have one? Make it. It has impressed many interviewers and saved me a few times when I was trying to explain something that wasn't coming out "right".
  4. Leave them with something. It's the "George Castanza" rule, as my Dad says. Don't leave the room without leaving an impression. Maybe you have a one-liner summary you want to tell, or a paper you want to leave. Either way, its worth your time to come up with something.


I hope these little tidbits help, I'm in the same CF-boat and I think it's important to help each other out! Happy job-hunting!


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