I had the immense privilege to get a preview of this book while Patrick was writing it. I helped with some light editing, advice and encouragement. In the process, I fell in love with its approach to the subject matter. For a number of years now, I’ve taught practicum courses at Merrimack College and Boston College, and I’m constantly trying to find resources that speak to the unique aspects of job searching in student affairs. General advice, such as that you’d receive from a career services office still applies, but there are many aspects of job searching in this profession that make it unique. As a faculty member and experienced professional, this is the context I try to convey to my students. This book gets at that “unwritten advice.”
“The main targets for this book on the student affairs job search are master’s students and new professionals. They are the people I most desire to assist and it is their particular challenges I have worked hardest to understand. However, I like to think that even seasoned folks will find some of the perspectives and tips offered in these pages useful, if only to think about their own job searches differently.”
One aspect about the book the book that I appreciate is that it covers the job search process from beginning to end:
- Chapter One: The Student Affairs Job Search
- Chapter Two: Using Prioritization to Manage the Stress of Your First Job Search
- Chapter Three: Creating Extraordinary Content With Powerful Resume Verbs
- Chapter Four: Unconventional Resume Advice
- Chapter Five: References
- Chapter Six: Cover Letter Conundrum
- Chapter Seven: Interview Tips You Won’t Find Elsewhere
- Chapter Eight: The Hardcopy Portfolio
- Chapter Nine: Negotiating the Offer
- Chapter Ten: Year One and the Concept of Fit: Should I Stay of Should I Go?
Each chapter builds off the next and gives you advice that “you won’t find elsewhere.” A few of my particular favorites are “Interview Tips You Won’t Find Elsewhere” and “Creating Extraordinary Content With Powerful Resume Verbs.” These chapters include some of the biggest “mistakes” I try to address with my students.
As Patrick rightly points out, this book represents only one perspective on the job search, albeit a very informed one. When job searching in the field, many of us will often get conflicting advice. As with anything, it’s important to remember that each bit of advice you get represents one perspective. There is no “magic formula” to the search process. Everyone interprets it and conducts in differently… on both sides of the table.
“This book is about MY perspectives on the student affairs job search and the tips and advice that flow from those perspectives. This is not a general overview or synthesis of many different types of perspectives, nor does it include research that has been conducted on this process. You, the reader, need to be aware of this as you read this book. A lot of what I say and assert goes against conventional wisdom about such things as writing a resume, writing a cover letter, or negotiating an offer. Career advisors and search firms have disagreed with some of what I have to say. So, just as I would argue you should not take the advice of a career advisor or search professional at face value, neither should you take my advice at face value. Interrogate it. Understand it. Challenge it.
I believe that much of what Patrick has to say, however, is pretty spot on. (I disagree with him about physical portfolios… but that’s probably not a surprise to anyone that knows me well.) Patrick “gets it” and tries to pass it on to the reader. Regardless of the specific advice, which is excellent, the true value of this book lies in what it makes you think about. It’s candid and relevant.
So, if you’re a job searching graduate student or a new professional, I encourage you to check it out. I think you’ll find it worth it!