Donut Know What To Do: Intern to Professional

Child life is a competitive field but guess what? You did it! You did the dang thing and are either in the middle of your internship or have just completed it. Congrats on getting this far!

Now the question remains – what do I do now? There’s no cookie-cutter, correct answer to this question…However, here are a few tips to set you up for success.

Apply for Jobs ASAP

If you’re at least halfway through your internship, now is a good time to start applying for jobs. Most jobs will likely be accepting applications for a few weeks. Then they’ll need to review the applications, contact candidates, set up interviews (sometimes several rounds), and finally, offer the job. By the time the hospital gets around to offering the position, you may be done with your internship! Perfect timing!

Just be honest and forthcoming with the fact that you’re currently in your internship (your resume and application should also make this obvious). Be confident and make them question whether you’re done with your internship or not based on how well you answer the interview questions!

Practice Makes Perfect

Some jobs may need someone hired ASAP and won’t be able to offer you the job since you are still completing your internship. That’s okay! Take it as an opportunity to polish your interview skills. Practice makes perfect and there’s no such thing as too much practice!

Be Realistic

Apply to places that you truly see yourself relocating to for the long-term. There’s nothing worse, as an interviewer, to offer someone the job and they come back saying “no” because of location. That never changed so don’t waste the team’s time OR yours for that matter!

You’re interviewing the hospital and team as much as they are interviewing you! Take notes, trust your gut, and don’t be afraid to decline if it’s not the right fit – we get that and that’s much different than the location being the problem. Some things you don’t know until you interview! Be honest.

Started from the Bottom, Now I’m Here

Because child life is so competitive, sometimes you have to start from the bottom.  Some places won’t look at you until you have “experience in the field”. How do you get that? With a PRN position or a tough schedule that no one else wants (weekends/evenings). Suck it up for a few months and get that experience! I’ve been a child life specialist for five years and I’m STILL lowest on the totem pole at my hospital working every Sunday. It’s a step “up” from working every other weekend. If you’re passionate about this job and truly want it – you’ll make it work.

Be Yourself

Just like during your internship, be sure you’re remaining true to yourself. Don’t exaggerate things about you that you don’t feel is consistent or true. Don’t say that you’re someone that jumps at the opportunity for overtime or extra responsibilities if you won’t actually carry that through once hired. Your interview and answers should help the hospital gauge how to best fit you into the team. In order to do that, they need a glimpse at the REAL you! You are worth knowing and working alongside so don’t hide your talents, skills, or traits that make you – YOU!

Now you DO know
what to do.

Leave the donuts
for eating!


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