Friday, May 10, 2013

Tips for new school counselor graduates

May brings happy, celebratory times for school counseling graduates.  So now that you've passed your tests, completed your internship & written your last paper you may ask yourself "what's next?"  The next chapter in your career is just around the corner.  I know that many of you are anxiously searching the web for school counselor postings in school districts across the country (try for listings)  The search and wait game can be exciting, disappointing and frustrating.  Here are a few tips that I want to pass along as you enter the school counselor job market.

-Accurately update your resume:  include any school experience that you may have (including teaching).  List what responsibilities that you had as an intern.  Click here to see sample counselor resume templates.  If possible try to hand deliver a copy of your resume to the school that you're interested in working in.  That way the school can place a face & name with the resume. 

-Network: I can't say this enough!  In this day & age it's all about who you know.  I'll share my story with you.  Years ago when I wanted to teach (I was a teacher then with just 1 year of experience) in the district that I'm currently in (I was working in another district at the time).   I thought I was doing the correct thing by sending out my resume to schools that had positions posted, but I never heard anything back.  I just happened to run into a college friend who was in my same teacher education program and was teaching in the school district where I wanted to work.  I told her about my interest in moving into the area and getting a teaching job.  She then spoke to someone else hiring teachers in my subject area and I had an interview and a job by the end of that week!  I've been here ever since.  If you have friends working in the district that you're interested in talk with them, meet the counselor at their school and see if they know of any openings in the area.  Counselors retire, get married, move, have children and transfer to other places all the time, they may know of these things.  Attend counselor conferences/events (conferences are great places to network, rarely will you be able to interact with such a large group of school counselors in one place at the same time) and join the ASCA scene, they have job postings listed from time to time. 

-Research the schools that you're interested in:  Almost every school has a website where you can get a feel of the school vision, staff and students.  Some websites even provide links to find data on test scores, teacher turnover rates, student demographics, etc.

-Ask questions during your interview:  Find out what committees that the counselor chairs, what responsibilities you might have (such as testing coordinator, that's a BIG one to find out).

-Sell yourself: When you have an interview, use that time to sell yourself and your vision for your counseling program.  This is the time where you have the opportunity to show the school what a great asset you will be to their school.  Play up your BEST counselor skills, if you are great at planning school wide events, by all means share that!

-Relax:  Many schools do their hiring during the summer (July-August).  I got my very 1st teaching job 3 days before school started and my 1st counseling job a week before school started so don't worry too much about late hiring.  I've always seemed to be a late hire!

If you have more questions about your school counselor job search or are interested in working as a school counselor in the Raleigh, NC area please feel free to contact me.  Congratulations and good luck to you! Pin It


  1. Andrea, what a thoughtful post for new graduates! You are doing a great job with your new blog format!


  2. Annmarie, you always have such kind words. I too love this new format, it's so me!!! Thanks for reading.

  3. In order to relax for my interview I thought of it as dress rehearsal for future interviews. This mindset allowed me to get rid of the "oh my gosh I need this job" feeling"!