Friday, June 10, 2011

I Interrupt The Aforementioned Scheduled Post...

... For an announcement.

I had my first post-grad interview and I GOT A JOB!!!

Worry Person Holding My Work Worries and Working Some Art Therapy Magic!

Not only did I get a job, but I got a full-time Monday-Friday job with a salary (above my expectations) and benefits in a beautiful space with a committed staff. I will be working with adolescent boys who have developmental delays and sexual-reactive behaviors in residential care. This was not my first choice of population, but it's not an unfamiliar one and I feel stoked to take on the challenge, which I think will help me grow into one hardcore bad-ass therapist. Not only that, but they're rewriting the curriculum and wanted an expressive therapist to help with alternative interventions and finding new methods. And they're taking interns for the first time in the fall and they want a couple from my program. It sounds like an exciting time to be coming in.

Not to jinx anything, but I consider myself lucky in many areas of my life and one of them is job-getting. So, now that I scored one, here's what works for me:

First, social psychology has taught us that once a person thinks something, they will look for evidence of what they already believe. People like to be right. So, I take my resume and cover letters pretty seriously, because if I can impress someone before I am interviewed, they will look for ways to remain impressed during the interview and possibly ignore any anxiety or stupidness I might accidentally express. I rewrite portions of every cover letter for every place I send it, noting something about the position and hospital/company/residence and why I would do well there. I also adjust my resume if necessary, stressing some experience more and downplaying other as feels appropriate.

Once I have a call for interview, I research the place I am going and the available position. I brainstorm relevant questions. For this interview, I also read up on working with the population and prepared to respond to questions about how I would work with them.

When I go to my interview, I bring a bag of tricks. I have extra copies of my resume, reference letters, etc. in case the interviewer doesn't have a copy. For this interview, I also brought copies of a group curriculum I wrote for teens at my first internship and small samples of simple/neutral art therapy interventions that I made, just in case there were questions about what art therapy is. However, I am not a salesperson pushing my wares, so these are only backup should questions arise. In this interview, my props stayed in my bag. Just knowing I had them, probably helped me feel more confident though, and that's never a bad thing.


  1. congrats!
    maybe you have advice for someone who has been looking for work for over 6 months??? [it's been all resume's and cover letters, followed by rejections. sigh.]

  2. I'm sorry to hear that Violet. What's your interpretation? I sent out a lot of resumes and only got one call (so far). My interpretation is that there are a lot of people looking for jobs and openings might be getting bombarded. A friend told me an opening I applied to at a hospital where I wanted to work got 350 resumes in one weekend! At my first internship a position opened that would have been perfect for a newbie AT and previous directors of other programs and PhDs were applying. It was really intimidating.

    Another thing that could have been helpful for me is I've been pretty active since I graduated. I went to a laughter yoga leader training and it was full of therapist types, one of whom gave me a card and dropped a name for applying to work with her. People I trade artist cards with told me about jobs (unexpected). I was invited to go hangout and do art with some amazing artists who happen to be nurses and they informed me of a position at their hospital I hadn't found online. I didn't get this job through networking, but I think that could have been helpful.

    So, my advice would be to get out as much as possible and attend stuff other therapists might attend: yoga classes, a suicide prevention walk, art openings and smile until your cheeks ache.

    Hang in there! The right job will happen!

  3. i am an artist, not an art therapist!
    but i have started to do more and more networking.
    i have been looking for creative jobs including teaching art and interior design gigs to name just two.
    i know that the right thing will open up, and have been taking this time to make lots of great art, photograph it and get my etsy account up and running. all is not in vain...
    and thanks!

  4. Oh! I just visited your blog and I love your work. The right job will swipe you up any day now.