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my career exploration 3

When I started to delve deeper in the higher education area, I realized a big question: where to find more information about it? In other words, who else can I do the informational interviews with? I did not know anyone else working in the non-academic position at the university. I couldn’t just walk into the office and ask “Hey, how did you get a job here”. I finally managed to solve it. I found a schedule of workshops held by Career Center posted on the website. I was thinking if I participated in these workshops (no matter they are interesting or not), I would be able to get touch with instructors who are working in non-academic positions like Liz.

It proved that this is indeed a great idea. For the next few weeks, I attended almost all the workshops held by Career Centre, from resume and cover letter writing to job searching seminars. Every time after the seminar, I would stay as the last one to leave and talk with the instructors in person. Then I would ask if he/she would like to do an informational interview with me. Just as my expectation, every instructor said yes to my request and was quite willing to help. In this way, I met all six educators in Career Centre of the university. And as I wished, I got many important tips and almost all possible sources for me to get a job in the university.

One of the most important things I got from these interviews is that you have to find a job on-campus first. It may sound a little bit ridiculous, or even like nonsense, but it is the first step, a necessary step, for students like me who wants to get into higher education immediately after graduation. “Get a job on-campus, even if just working in the bookstore. The point is you have to get involved in the system”. This is an advice given by all instructors in the interview. In UT, as long as you get a job on-campus, you will get a staff number of the university, which means you are involved in the system. The ownership of this number means more opportunities and higher possibilities to get the job you want in the future, for you will be qualified to apply for jobs only available for internal staffs. These positions will be put into “external job” category only when no internal staff apply for, or are not qualified for them. For students, the easiest ways to get jobs on campus is to apply for the work-study program, which opens on September and April each year. Besides, CLN website provides jobs for students around the year. However, there are not a lot of on-campus there because most part-time positions are taken by students applying for the work-study program. Another way is U-Temp. It provides jobs to others (both students and staffs) when there are staffs who need to leave the position temporarily because of sickness and pregnancy etc. It works like a talent database: after you upload your own profile, you are a candidate for temporary jobs on-campus. Then the university will contact and book an appointment for interview with you if they think you are the qualified one to fill the position. As for graduate students, TA or RA is another common way to go. However, I was quite frustrated when informed that TA is not designed for M. Ed. students, but for MA students.

After so much information interviews, I think higher education is a great direction for me, because I find that in this way, I do not necessarily have to teach a class in a traditional way; at the same time, I am able to work in the education industry as I wished. Also, after so many interviews, I have gradually become confident. Now, I can walk into any office on-campus and ask questions like “…You know, I also want to start my career in the university. So how did you get a job here? ” To my surprise, many staff were very happy to share their career stories with me. These interesting little stories enlightened me in my own exploration and broadened my minds in career choices later.
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