How to find your dream speech therapy job after graduation
Congratulations on your graduation! You’ve survived lectures, placements, essays, practicals and exams. And now you’re qualified. Well done, you!
Once the elation passes, it’s time to think about finding your dream speech therapy job. How exactly do you do that?
Well, we’ve hired many new graduates because we love helping new speechies to hone their skills in a supportive environment. Here are our top tips on how to find and make the most of speech therapy job openings.
1. Do your research
Speech pathology offers wonderfully varied career options. You could work in a hospital, a school, a community health centre, a residential aged care home, disability services, mental health centres, juvenile justice centers or in a private clinic like SpeechEase.
Your placements should have helped you judge which setting suits you best. Now, as you start applying for jobs, it’s time to research the pros and cons of each situation.
It’s also worth researching speech pathologist salaries. You can use websites like Glassdoor, Payscale or Indeed to gain an idea of the salary range for speech pathologists. These websites won’t always agree with one another but they’ll give you something to work from.
2. Get a good reference
Yes, your potential employer can search you up online and check your socials but that’s not the same as another speech therapist’s opinion of your clinical skills, character, reliability and potential.
A reference from someone who has worked with you tells a potential employer a great deal. It lets us know how you’ve performed in a real-life situation, whether you turn up on time, whether you work well as part of a team, how well you communicate and whether you seem to like the work of being a speechie or not.
It’s a good idea to nurture your referees so they’re prepped to give you a good reference when someone asks. Ask them if they’re happy to be a referee, let them know you’ve applied for a certain job, send them the job description so they can see which skills an employer is looking for and ensure you’ve got their best number for a potential employer to call on.
And if you do secure the job you want, call them to thank them for giving you a reference.
3. Create a good resume
You’ve learnt how to be a speech pathologist. Now you need to learn how to communicate your passion, skills, attitude and professionalism in your resume.
There’s a knack to this.
Firstly, read the job advert thoroughly. Then write your resume, ensuring you answer each point in the ad. Don’t send out a gazillion copies of the same generic resume. You need to tailor it to each job. Make it easy for an employer to line up their needs with your skills.
If you’re great at speech pathology but not great at resume writing, consider getting a careers consultant or professional resume writer to do it for you. Once you’ve got a template, you can tweak it for each new application.
4. Use your networks
Many of the best jobs aren’t advertised. Let people know you’re looking for a graduate job as a speech therapist. Let them know which setting appeals to you and ask them if they know of any openings that might suit you. Make contact with workplaces you’re keen to work with, even if they haven’t advertised anything publicly, they may still have something available. Use whatever networks you have.
5. Think about what your employer wants
In 1961, JFK famously said, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country’.
In job terms, ask not what your employer can do for you but what you can do for your employer. Too many people approach a job interview asking what’s in it for them. That’s really the wrong attitude. You first need to convince an employer that you’ll bring something to the organisation – that you’re capable, willing to learn, enthusiastic and hard-working.
6. Practise your interview skills
Interviews can be nerve-wracking. You want to make a good impression but all of a sudden you feel so tongue tied that you can barely say ‘Hello’.
Get your friends or family to interview you and practice your answers. Practice open body language, a relaxed demeanour and a clear, concise answer to the question that shows what you’ll bring to the organisation.
7. Follow up afterwards
What happens after the interview matters too. It’s always a good idea to send an email about 24 hours later, thanking the interviewers for their time and reaffirming your interest in the position.
If you don’t get the job, ask for feedback to help you do better in your next interview. You’ll look like someone keen to learn and improve. And who knows, if the first candidate falls through, the employer may just come back to you!
Is speech therapy a good career? Absolutely. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of helping someone express themselves. Hopefully, you can now score a great job as a graduate speechie.
And if you’d like to work at SpeechEase, please get in touch. We’re always on the lookout for new talent.
All information is general in nature.