Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

From the Other Side of the Table: What Employers Are Looking For

Magazine article National Association of School Psychologists. Communique

From the Other Side of the Table: What Employers Are Looking For

Article excerpt

Preparing yourself to meet future employers should not be a task that you fear. While it may feel intimidating to confront a team of interviewers, for the most part, interviewers are excited to meet determined people new to the profession-people who want to work with them to help children achieve their best.

On the other side of the table, employers are tasked with finding the best candidate for their needs. In this field, working as a practitioner can look vastly different from state to state, district to district, and even school to school within the same district. The goal for you is to show that you can add something special to the school's team of professionals, their administration, and their teachers. It is crucial for your professional portfolio to illustrate your abilities. After that, making sure you are prepared for an interview can really make you shine to those who want to hire you.

In the end, as a new professional, you should not be worried about being an early career candidate. Your newness to the field has little to do with your overall abilities. You may still be learning, but when it comes to getting a new j ob, everyone goes through a certain level of new learning to get acclimated to a new work environment. Highlightingyour strengths in a professional portfolio and demonstrating in your interview that you have the determination to overcome any weaknesses is vital to your success.

SETTING UP YOUR PORTFOLIO

Stepping into the workforce and heading to interviews maybe daunting. You may think that your work samples are not good enough. It is fine to have samples from courses, practicum, or internship. Interview teams will know that you are new to the field and are not going to hold it against you. Remember, they have already reviewed your application and have decided that you are worth interviewing. More important than your experience (when you are new) is your understanding of the processes required to be an effective school psychologist.

The NASP Professional Practice Model could be used as a map to help you in developing a well-rounded professional portfolio. The to domains of practice are key aspects of practice that every school psychologist strives to excel in. It is our guide to becoming the best advocate for the children we serve and to providing the best services required by our students, their families, the schools we serve, and the communities we are a part of. Having a portfolio set up with to dividers labeled with the to domains and including examples can be a good starting point in preparation for your interviews.

Data-based decision making and accountability. Interviewers want to know ifyou have experience in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of students. Providing an example of an intervention that you conducted illustrates your thought processes in evaluating models and methods. A functional behavioral assessment or a write-up of a behavioral intervention designed to get a student to remain in his or her seat longer or observation summaries that show your data can let interviewers see that you understand the basic steps toward identifying and developing effective services and programs.

Consultation and collaboration. Working with teachers, parents, and other psychologists is going to be a daily event in your career. Having a behavior support plan or notes from a time you sat down with a teacher or parent will allow others to see that you are able to communicate effectively with the other professionals working with children.

Interventions and instructional support to develop academic skills. Curriculumbased measurement data, a written description of how you provided a reading intervention to a student who may have comprehension concerns, and the data you took in monitoring the student's progress over time might be helpful to show. Having this kind of example in your portfolio can demonstrate your understanding of human learning and the challenges that come with it. …

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