We picked the brains of our top team members to garner advice for new grads who are entering the therapy job market for the first time this spring. Here are six tips from folks who have learned from years of experience – and once were right there in your shoes:
Attendance and Punctuality are Essential
Consistent good attendance and punctuality are critical as you launch your career. In fact, they’re always essential, but start off on the right foot by maintaining a sterling record.
- Attendance is among the 10 work ethics most valued by employers, according to recent research. Although employers generally are willing to help employees develop job skills, most expect their new hires to already possess strong ethics – including teamwork, respect, attitude, productivity – and attendance.
No One Expects You to Know Everything in Your First Job
Learn by asking questions and get help when you need it.
- Find a mentor. A mentor – or two or three – can help you navigate life in your new job, as well as move up the career ladder. Seek out people in your field, who understand the challenges specific to your specialty area. They also will have professional connections that you may be able to call upon in the future.
Be Patient, Flexible and Open-Minded
Things will likely take longer than you think to learn and complete. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and be sure you take time off to balance work and your personal life.
- Be open to change. This is just the start of a lifelong learning experience. Even if your first job isn’t your dream job, you can take action steps to make it happen.
The First Year is Hard. Use Your Support Network
This isn’t college anymore. But you can use any and all contacts you made during your academic years to help get you started on the right professional track. Turn to professors, mentors, and others for guidance and advice. This is also a great time to join the local chapter of your professional organization if you haven’t done so already.
- Take it a step further: Don’t simply sign up. Get involved by joining a committee, task force or another team.
When Choosing a Staffing Company, Go With Your Gut
Working with the right staffing partner can make or break your career. Be sure you feel 100 percent comfortable with the company you choose when it comes to placement and support.
Don’t Put Off Your State Licensure
Begin ASAP to research and apply for your state license.
- You will not be able to practice in most states until you become licensed. Your license serves as evidence that you have met the minimum requirements to offer therapy services. Check with state licensing boards for details on educational prerequisites, as well as clinical hours, fees, and continuing education information.
As you launch your school-based therapy career, turn to the Cobb Pediatric team for a wealth of resources, contacts and professional development tools and tactics. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.