You made it through grad school and now are looking for that first job. So exciting! Here is what I wish I could have told my CF self or advice I would give to you:
- You probably won’t get your dream job right after grad school. Sure, it can happen, but don’t count on it. Instead, i recommend making a list of what are your non-negotiables. For example, you want to work with adults only, so you may not take that job at the clinic where they treat all ages. Or, perhaps you prefer to work 5 days a week but will consider four 10 hour days. You may not find a job that meets all of your preferences, but you should be able to find one that meets your most important ones.
- Don’t get so excited you are getting a job offer that you make sacrifices you know won’t work. For example, maybe you need to pick up kids at 4:00 but you sacrifice and take a job that runs past 4:00 frequently. Chances are, you won’t like the job and won’t stay there for too long.
- Make sure you have a supervisor that is available. All supervisors still have their own work to do, but make sure that you have someone that is able to help you when you need it and is able to move their schedule around at times to observe and teach. Your CF is the last opportunity you may have to directly learn from another SLP before you are on your own in a building, so make sure that you get all of the mentorship you need.
- Professionalism is extremely important. You should have learned this during your externships, but you are now a professional and need to make sure you act like it. That means don’t be late. Don’t be on your phone when you shouldn’t be. Make sure you are prepared for each day. These things can make a big difference in someone’s opinion of you and your work.
- Take your lunch. Let me say that again, take your lunch!! Don’t fall into the trap of working on documentation or whatever else during your lunch break. Just don’t do it! You need that time to relax and refresh for the rest of the day. Don’t skip it!!!
Good luck to all the new CF’s out there! You’ll be great!