Kelly Counselor's Conversations

A discussion about life and how school counseling fits into it all

The Journey During the Wait

on April 21, 2014

Last week, a school counseling student on our state’s Listserv asked for advice on how to best interview with schools; frustrated she had not yet landed a job.  Certainly in such a specialized field as school counseling is, I could certainly empathize with her dilemma.  But I also felt a deeper connection because I too, after six years, am back on the job hunt.  My husband earned a promotion with his company, requiring us to move an hour and a half away, and in a different time zone.  With our first child on the way this is definitely an exciting, yet stressful and sometimes downright scary time for us.

While responding to her post, I had a few revelations to use in my own current journey as well.  I believe many of these tips can be utilized in other professions:

  • Be willing to relocate, if possible.
  • Keep your options open- you may have your heart set on being a high school counselor, but can learn valuable skills and can even dispel many assumptions by taking a position at the elementary level, and vice-versa.
  • Take the time to research the schools you’re applying to- look at their website, state data, and even the town or city’s website if you’re unfamiliar with the location.  This is will help you be better prepared for the interview and lets the interviewer know you took the time to care about their specific culture.
  • Be authentic- don’t answer questions based on what you THINK the interviewer wants to hear; but answer honestly.  This is better for everyone in the long run; both you AND the school have to feel the “right match.”
  • Ask the interviewer(s) this question: “What is your biggest achievement gap and how can I help fix it?” This lets the school know you are driven right from the get-go.

Most importantly, begin important work BEFORE interviewing, especially if you’re having difficulty even getting the call to interview:

  • Join and volunteer for your professional organization, at the state and/or national level.  This gives you invaluable experience and knowledge, and bolsters your resume at the same time.
  • Substitute teach, and take any job you can- school counselors have to work with ALL school employees, and this experience is invaluable in being able to connect with your staff in the future.
  • Volunteer to serve youth in your community in any capacity.  In the counselor profession, the relationship is paramount.

Here are a few great books to read, in which some of my tips were adapted from:

“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg

“Linchpin” by Seth Godin

Finally, here’s a picture to brighten your day, drawn by one of my third graders:







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