Current Job – Medical Social Worker
Education – Bachelors: Central Connecticut State University, Psychology | Masters: University of Connecticut, MSW Social Work
Hometown – West Hartford, CT
Interests – “I love to travel and my favorite place that I have visited is Belize”
What resources did you use to guide and support your job search?
I utilized the resources that were provided at UConn to guide and facilitate my job search. The Center for Career Development had a Career Consultant that was able to review my résumé, and cover letter, and give me instructions on how to make a LinkedIn profile to help me network.
I joined the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) which had workshops and email alerts for upcoming jobs. LinkedIn helped me connect with other MSW students who were looking for jobs and this gave me a better understanding of what it was like finding a job in different states.
How soon before graduation did you start the process of searching and applying to jobs?
I started researching on-line for jobs about six months before graduation and began applying to jobs three months before graduation. I was able to focus my job search because I had two prior internships which were at inpatient and outpatient programs and I had four years of experience working as a Residential Counselor at a residential facility for adults with mental illness at the Institute of Living.
What is your new job and how did you find it?
My new job is with The Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, CT as a Medical Social Worker. I found this job through the Hartford Healthcare job postings.
How many places did you interview? Was there anything interesting or unique about a particular interview?
I was given the opportunity to have 16 unique interviews. Many of these places were hospitals and for a wide range of populations (children, adolescents and adults). The interviews consisted of individual, group, and phone and most entailed going to at most two interviews for each agency.
I found it very interesting when I went on an interview at the Corrigan Correctional Center in Uncasville, CT. They gave me a tour of the prison and even had rescued horses and dogs on the premises that inmates take care of in order to teach them how to maintain a job and be responsible while serving their time.
Another unique interview was with the Institute of Living’s Children and Adolescent Day Program where the interviewer asked me to reflect upon my interview and email her my thoughts about the interview process. This gave me a chance to process what had been said as well as the opportunity to address things with her that may not have been articulated during the interview.
What helped you decide which job offer to accept?
When it came down to making a decision, it was difficult because I had two great hospital offers. The deciding factor was the distance that I would have to drive and continuing my longevity with Hartford Hospital/ Hartford Healthcare was a priority for me. It is important to consider factors such as driving distance to and from your job, benefits, amount of time off and additional trainings that are provided by the organization.
What do you think was the most important thing to being prepared as a candidate?
As a candidate, the most important thing to being prepared was creating a robust résumé that accentuated my clinical skills in the hospital setting. When you think about how many résumés are being read for one position that needs to be filled, it is important to have a résumé that is structured, clear- cut and well rounded. By feeling well-prepared with the résumé that I wrote, it helped me to feel confident going into my interviews and speaking about my field placements and work experience.
What is something you learned during your job search that you had not thought of before starting that process?
During my job search, I remained open-minded to all job interviews that were offered to me. I was willing to drive up to two hours just to get the interview experience and it taught me a lot about myself and what I did and did not want in a job. By the end of my job search, I was able to know when I walked out of an interview if it would be a good fit for me or not. I think that it is imperative to distinguish what type of organization you want to work for, what their values are and if they coincide with yours, if the job aligns with your career goals, if you will be supported by your manager and if there is opportunity to grow and challenge yourself.
What advice do you have for current UConn students in terms of launching a job search, career preparation, cultivating a positive mindset, etc.?
My advice for current UConn students in terms of launching a job search is to not limit your options. During this process, I maintained a positive open-minded approach and was happy with the diverse job interviews that were offered to me. If you limit where you think that you may want to work, you may not have as much opportunity to learn about yourself from the job process. These are life changing decisions that you are making so take your time with what you pick.
I felt as though the job process seemed like a roller-coaster ride at times because I put so much effort into preparing for all of my interviews and sometimes I would not hear back from agencies. It helped me to have a mentor such as a person who had been through the job search process or a career development specialist who you could touch base with while you are going through it. It is important to remain optimistic through this process because there are times where it may feel discouraging, but know that a good- fit job will come and having patience is key.
Even if you do not hear back from an organization, it is a great idea to follow- up with them by sending them an email, a letter, or giving them a phone call and following up with them to let them know that you are still very much interested in their organization. Employers have told me that they get so many applicants and sometimes new positions open so they are more likely to respond to the people who make multiple attempts to reach out to them because it shows the applicant’s dedication to wanting the position.
What kind of experience were you able to put on your resume?
I gained experience at a residential facility (Todd Program at the Institute of Living), an outpatient behavioral health agency (Community Renewal Team), and an inpatient co-occurring unit (Saint Francis/ Mount Sinai Hospital) which gave me a well-rounded balance on my résumé. I knew that I really wanted to continue to work in a hospital setting and made sure that my résumé emphasized my skills in that environment.
What type of advice would you like to share with students about their first job?
One of my favorite professors at UConn was Walt Simpson and he said, “Keep calm, enjoy the opportunity and do not forget to have fun!” I am going to take this advice and hope that any student reading this will as well.