Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Top 5 Ways NOT To Find a Quality Supervisory Relationship

We recently discussed "7 Ways To Start The Search For The Perfect Clinical Supervisor." (Looking now? Email me about supervisors accepting applications in Richardson & Arlington, TX.) 

But finding names to call is only the start. After that, you have to contact them, follow up, hopefully gain an interview and then secure the job. These goals will be seriously compromised if you give this process anything less than your best. 

That's why we're taking today to talk about what not to do if you're hoping to find that awesome, positive, and professional successful partnership with a quality supervisor. 

I bring these up because unfortunately, I've seen people making these mistakes a time or two, and even done some of them myself. Some of the items on this list represent actual errors that cost a student counselor their opportunity to work with the supervisor they applied to. 

I don't want that to be you. So for each "do not" on the list, I've included a special simple solution - a quick and easy fix that anyone can use to overcome an accidental blunder like this.

Here's your list of what NOT to do if you want to find a quality supervisory relationship. 
  1. First, do not wait too long to contact a potential supervisor after you locate a likely prospect. Windows of opportunity open and close very quickly in this arena. An intern may be accepted in a matter of weeks and then the position's no longer available. Good news for that intern, not so great for you if you thought you had more time. Simple Solution: If you see someone who is advertising for an opening now, jump on it! 
  2. Second, do not NOT do your research. If a supervisor is stating they're only seeking play therapy trainees on their website and you don't do play therapy, you will only annoy them. And that reputation can get around. Simple Solution: Google, LinkedIn, Psychology Today and the supervisor's website. You can do a quick survey of all of those in 20 minutes or less and it will usually tell you all you need to know.
  3. Three, do not send a mass cover letter. People can always tell it's generic. Like those auto-LinkedIn or Twitter messages that go out when you connect or follow someone. I can tell in the first few words whether it's a real person writing to me or an auto response. Simple Solution: Create a few stock paragraphs that you can reuse, such as what kind of therapy you do and what makes you different. But tailor the opening and closing to the particular recipient. 
  4. Four, do not have spelling mistakes in your mass-covr leter. (That you shouldn't be sending anyway.) Sprvisors will notice this and it makes you look badlee. Simple Solution: Have 2-3 people read a letter and/or resume before you send it out.
  5. Five, do not make the mistake of thinking you have nothing to offer if you don't have counseling experience already. Potential supervisors can't see your value if you don't first know your value for yourself. Simple Solution: Make a list of transferrable skills and similar experiences you have, and practice talking about them. 
What do you think about these 5 do nots? If you are a supervisor, is there anything you'd add to this to help other student counselors have better success in securing the right supervisory relationship?