So many speech-language pathologists enter the field because of the vast number of possibilities it has to offer. But when you’ve just graduated and started searching for your first job, those possibilities can feel limited. After all, landing an SLP position is no easy feat, much less landing your dream job right off the bat.
If there’s one thing to take away from our latest episode with Kristin Winter, it’s that, with the right amount of preparation, your dream job is within reach. You just need to do the work. So, what tips did Kristin — or the “Boss Lady,” as we like to call her — have for SLPs hoping to obtain a position they love? After 20 years in the field, here’s what she had to say.
Craft a Standout Resume and Cover Letter
It’s no secret that your resume and cover letter are what get you through the door when applying for a job. If these documents don’t pass muster, you’ll never even get the opportunity to make a good first impression on an interview. So, how can you ensure your resume and cover letter stand out against the rest?
To start, Kristin advises making sure you include all of your accomplishments on your resume — even the ones you may not consider all that extraordinary. Include courses you’ve taken and any internships you’ve done. These things highlight the fact that you’ve taken the initiative and are genuinely interested in advancing.
Speaking of being genuinely interested, your cover letter should also showcase your passion for speech pathology. It shouldn’t be a by-the-numbers template; instead, it should detail what you love about the field and what you hope to accomplish should you be offered the position.
You should also make a point of including certain high-impact words in your resume and cover letter. Not only will these help you stand out, but they’ll get your application through the scanning programs many interviewers use to narrow the pool of applicants.
Come to the Interview Focused and Prepared
Once you land an interview for your dream job, the real work begins. You’ll want to prepare for your meeting beforehand by doing some research about the company you’re applying to. It’s not enough to simply know that you’re interviewing for a position at a school or hospital. Learn what the organization specializes in and show that you understand what kind of role you’d be taking on.
On top of that, make sure you look put together when you show up for an interview — yes, even if it’s on Zoom! If it’s on Zoom, make sure your environment is appropriate for a professional interview. Limit noises and distractions, and tell the people you live with in advance so they don’t interrupt.
In line with showing that you’re knowledgeable about the company and position, prepare questions for the interviewer in advance. You can drop these throughout your conversation to show you’ve put thought into the decision, or you can wait until the end of the discussion. Typically, an interviewer will ask whether you have any further questions or comments when you’re wrapping things up. Rather than ask generic questions about hours or pay, come up with queries that make you stand out.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk Yourself Up
As Kristin said in the most recent episode, many people have a hard time talking themselves up. We’re often taught not to brag, but showing pride in your accomplishments is exactly what you should do during an interview! After all, those accomplishments are what make you qualified for the position you’re applying for.
Having confidence in yourself and your abilities will also make you appear more competent and knowledgeable to the person interviewing you. If you don’t have faith in yourself and your skills, how can a hiring manager? On the contrary, if you showcase how much you’ve learned and experienced already, you’re sure to leave them impressed. And that leaves you one step closer to landing the dream job you want!