The ABCs of the CFY

It’s that time of year again! SLP graduate students are looking forward to their spring and summer graduations, and with graduation comes job searches.

When should you start looking? Where do you apply? How do you prepare for interviews? A year ago, questions like these were swimming around in my head almost daily. I remember how overwhelming the whole process felt, especially with COVID-19. To help it feel a little more manageable, today let's break down the CFY application process so it’s as simple as ABC:

A: Application Timeline

One of the top questions I receive from incoming CFs is when to apply. My biggest advice is to apply when you’re ready, and that it’s never too early! If employers are not yet hiring for the time of your graduation, reaching out to them early will, at the very least, show them your initiative, passion, and put your name on their radar. Networking in our field can be so important, which brings us to our next tip:

B: Building Connections

Reach out to your professors, your supervisors, the SLPs that work at your externships, the new CFs that graduated from your program, and the current CFs that work with your potential employer. What did they look for in clinical fellowship positions, and what has their experience been like? Do they know anyone that is hiring?

C: Coming Prepared

Now that you’ve applied and connected with colleagues, the final step is coming prepared to your interview. Here are some quick tips:

  1. Be honest about your experience. Since we’re new graduates, it’s not possible to know everything about working with every population! It’s important to emphasize that qualities such as your work ethic, creativity, and focus on evidence-based practice will guide you to be successful in those new learning experiences.
  2. Have some questions to ask your employer! How have they supported their employees throughout COVID-19? How do they match their supervisors with CFs? What drives their company culture?
  3. Have a pen and paper ready. Write down evaluations and populations you have experience with ahead of time to take some pressure off yourself! You can also write down your potential employer’s responses to help you remember what was said.

Best of luck to all graduating students and future CFs--you will be amazing! Please reach out if you have any questions or want to learn more about Sidekick!

-Erika Baldwin, M.S., CF-SLP