In the last few weeks, I have been holding interviews for a few positions within our grant. I also participate in our local counseling program's mock interviews for their graduate students. Being on the other side of the table isn't something elementary counselors often experience because we can be the only counselor in our building. I have learned so much in these interviews and here's my Top Five Tips:
Please, please, please don't wear a black business suit. Wear something that stands out a bit but still looks professional. Sometimes when interviewing several people in a row, I remember something about their appearance to help me separate candidates in my mind. I might say "the woman with the blue shirt," or "the guy with the striped tie." If you look exactly the same as every other candidate, you don't stand out. That said, don't go crazytown either. You can check out my pinterest board for interview outfits (guys too!).
Make a statement when you walk in the room. Greet each person and shake their hand. I was once interviewed by a panel of 10 people around a giant table and shaking hands would have been awkward but as the principal introduced each person, I smiled and said a hello to each one. I always bring copies of my resume just in case anyone needs one. I know exactly what it feels like to race into a meeting and realize you forgot the materials you need in your classroom.
When asked a question, answer specifically. Include details from your previous experience but always relate back to the job you are seeking. This is especially important if you are changing careers or even counseling levels. It's great that you worked with first generation college bound students but if you are applying for an elementary position, that won't be very relevant. However, collaborating with community resources to meet the needs of students and parents is. Also research the school where you will be working so that you can include that knowledge in your answers.
Not everyone will agree with me here but I say bring a portfolio. The best candidates have something to relate back to what they are speaking about. They can show you specific data from the academic intervention that they implemented, they can share pictures from the career day they planned, or they can show you student work that resulted from a student group on organization. In your portfolio: print in color, keep it short (15 pages max), and use examples that don't require close reading.
Send an email to each person in your interview. Share an example of the connection you made with them. It can be short but make it specific. If you have a website, include it in your signature line to make it easy for them to click and find out more about you. Every person in your interview is significant so email each one.
Job hunts are hard- hang in there! Need more tips - check out my best resume tips!
In honor of my new job, I have a guest from Robert Parmer, a student at Boise State University and a freelance writer. He's here today to discuss the different paths possible in a counseling career and choosing the right one for you.
I’m very excited to do a guest post for Counselor Up, and to go over the great career choices in counseling that are out there. Looking for a job you’ll love to be invested in? Look no further. The world of counseling is a rewarding career choice that can take many directions. Regardless of the exact path you take, one thing is for sure: you’ll be helping make a difference in people’s lives on the daily.
Mental Health Counseling helps those with a wide scope of mental illnesses ranging from depression to anxiety to schizophrenia. They help treat people with any degree of mental illness and set goals to help achieve stability and recovery. Mental health counselors often work in conjunction with psychiatrists and psychologists. Substance abuse, anger management, and relationship counseling can often tie into mental health counseling.
School/Educational Counseling encompasses everything from elementary to high school students and beyond. Students are developing mentally and emotionally at a high right during their first decade of education and school counselors are able to offer support and advice along the way. Counselors can profoundly impact a student’s life by improving their overall outlook on life. School counselors are visionary in order to always be on top of ever-changing social behaviors of students. A great example of this is how adjustments have been made as recent rise and issue of cyber bullying.
Marriage/Family Counseling is important in recognizing and mending issues related to couples and family structures. Marriage counselors help to assess and sort out problems within relationships. These types of counselors take dysfunctional behaviors and correct them, which helps get people back on the right track. Marriage and family counseling rebuilds relationships that may have never repaired themselves without this aid.
Substance Abuse Counselors are responsible for restoring people’s lives. Addiction affects millions of people all over the world, so the need to provide help is real. Treatment helps addicts start from scratch and make progress towards a better life. Substance abuse counselors help people struggling with alcohol and drug problems, as well as gambling and all other forms of addiction. Addiction can be a lifelong struggle so these types of counselors can have long term patients and are very influential to their success.
Career Counselors stimulate and inspires individuals and help them discover what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Everyone is striving to land the job that truly makes them happy and proud to enter the workplace every day. When a person is searching for the career they’ll love, career counselors can help pave the way. They offer foundational support and help people feel empowered and motivated.
One very common question associated with career choices is what the day-to-day job duties look like. The following infographic highlights some main responsibilities different types of counselors encounter on the daily.
Where did January go? I can't believe that next week is February! Know what that means? School Counselor Week is next week. What?! If you're like me, February always jumps up and surprises you just as you're getting back into the swing of things after the holidays. Today I have 2 simple ideas to celebrate school counseling week at your school.
For the Love of Stickers
What is it about stickers? Even (dorky) neon folder labels that say "I HEART my School Counselor" are so super, exciting to all my students. One year, I had this great idea to buy the (much cuter) stickers from ASCA but didn't order them in time. Instead, I printed these on neon folder labels. I gave them out to every kid that I interacted with. It was so much fun to see the school swimming in neon stickers. What a great way to show the counselor's impact! By Wednesday, I had kids coming to my office because they wanted "one of those stickers." I even had one teacher invite me in for a mini-lesson because her students were just dying to have a sticker. It's fun to be loved. Especially when you bribe them with stickers...
For the Love of Teachers
I know that School Counselor Week is supposed to be about celebrating the counseling profession. I would be the first to admit that it sometimes irks me that Teacher Appreciation Week means catered lunches and gifts and counselor week means we do things for others. But really, amazing teachers make my life easier everyday by supporting me and supporting their students. In that vein, I use "You Make a Difference" business cards and write a little note to teachers that I see making a difference. To be honest, I don't really know where I got these cards but they would be easy to make or have printed at a place like vistaprint.com (love that place). I sometimes will put a little treat with the card in a teacher's box.
See? Easy peasy and you're done! Celebrate school counseling week without breaking the bank or spending hours making goody bags for your 110 staff members. Pinterest, I love you but I hate ya.
For the Love of Counselors
Just in case your school, your husband, your wife, your students, your district forget to tell you - THANK YOU for all you do. You work tirelessly for students and they wouldn't be the same without you. You are amazing and I appreciate you.
I can *finally* announce that I have accepted a new position and will be leaving my current role as an Elementary School Counselor. I will be moving to a nearby district to begin working as a Counselor Coordinator for the ESSCP Grant. I am so excited to be able to work with 9 counselors at 4 different schools. The role is still being defined, but I am thinking that my role will be similar to a literacy coach.
I will work with my schools to make sure that they are fulfilling grant requirements, help to gather and interpret data, collect materials and resources for the counselors and generally try to support their role and take the load off a bit. This will be a fun new adventure for me!
Never fear, I will still be updating the blog and my Teachers Pay Teachers store with all of the wonderful things that we are learning and discovering in the process!
In the meantime, I have begun the difficult task of wrapping up my role here at my school and saying goodbye to the kiddos. I know I'm not the only person in the world to get a new job so I thought it would be helpful to share the process here.
Of course, the very first thing I did was to let my principal know that I had a job opportunity and when I got the job (yay!). We made a plan for transition and notifying the staff. My principal made an announcement at a staff meeting. I made sure to pull a few people aside and tell them before hand so that they wouldn't be caught off guard.
In my state, we are required to give one month's notice. Because of winter break, I will have known I had the new job for 7 weeks before I leave but only 5 weeks of active school time. Even though it has seemed to stretch and stretch, there's been a lot to do!
Saying Goodbye to the Kids
To say goodbye to the kids, I created a class lesson schedule so I could get into all classrooms one last time before I left. My intern and I taught all the lessons together so we could both say goodbye. In K-2, we taught a lesson using the book Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem and created confidence flowers with all the kids. In 3-5 we read the book "When I Grow Up" by Al Yankovich and did a Myers-Briggs type quiz to match personalities to job interests. I left about 5 minutes to let students know that I had a new job and answer any questions that they might have. The first few lessons, the kids were shocked but word spread fast!
In addition to the farewell tour of classes, I allowed students to sign up to have lunch with me. I put sign up sheets outside my door and picked up 5 kids per day to have lunch. It was nice to get to see kids in a smaller group and just chat and have fun. Saying goodbye is important!
Saying Goodbye to the Staff
If you're lucky, your staff has become a group of friends that you appreciate and admire and whom you will miss! This is certainly true for me, I have been making sure to stop by rooms and chat with my fellow staff members. On my last day, a friend is planning a dinner at a nearby pizza place. The counselors from my district have gotten together to say goodbye. I have also taken the time to send emails and notes to teachers and counselors letting them know how much I have appreciate their time while I've been here.
Preparing for the Transition
If you've been visiting for a while, you know that I am a little compulsive (obsessive) about organization. To help prepare for the next counselor, I have made a notebook with valuable information and a spreadsheet with all of my job opportunities. Even though my last day in two weeks, we don't know if there will be a gap between me and the next person. I have farmed all of my "fair share" responsibilities to others in the school and many of these will transfer back to the person after me. I'm trying to keep as much continuity as possible!
Leaving in the middle of the year is hard, but sometimes new opportunities don't follow the academic calendar. The best thing I can do for me and my students is to honor the difficulty of change and prepare the school for the transition. Have you ever changed schools/jobs in the middle of the year? What was your game plan?
Welcome to my blog where I talk about all things school counselor and encourage others to Counselor Up!
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies
Links may be affiliate links. If you link and purchase, I may receive compensation at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support of Counselor Up.