Congratulations on getting to this point of your career! Whether you have graduated and are looking for work or you’ve reached your final year of study and are being proactive about your job search, congratulations! What you have achieved is a massive accomplishment and you should be so proud. Now comes the fun part!
Starting your job search is as daunting as it is exciting. It can be overwhelming to know what to look for and what will give you the best experience for your first role as a qualified therapist. Everyone will prioritise different things in a job, but this blog is going to give you a good idea of the non-negotiables you should be prioritising for your new graduate role.
First and foremost, you want to know that you are going to be supported. This can look a million different ways, but should always be the priority. For a new grad, the organisation you work for should outline a clear supervision structure before you start (so you know what to expect!). This might look like 1:1 weekly meetings with a supervisor, peer mentoring sessions, reflection meetings and more! Everyone will need different levels of support based on their previous placement experience and learning styles, so don’t be afraid to ask for more support if you need it!
In your new graduate role, it is important to have the opportunity to complete courses and webinars that will help to consolidate your university knowledge with your hands-on experience. However, courses cost money and take time away from working, so it is important your new graduate role has dedicated funding and leave available to support completion. Better yet, look into working rurally to have access to a huge bucket of funding for PD! Each state has a different requirement (location, hours worked) to determine eligibility, but it is worth looking into what is available in your state! By signing up to In Reach Co., you can explore current rural and remote work opportunities and easily see what companies can offer this awesome funding.
Transitioning from studying to working full time can be a huge adjustment, so your new graduate role should offer some form of flexibility to allow you to establish a healthy work life balance. Flexibility looks very different depending on the role you are in. It could be as simple as choosing your start and finish times, having autonomy over your calendar and scheduling, or allowing work from home (where appropriate). Alternatively, flexibility could also look like having choice over your main clinical treatment areas, to support and nurture your interest areas. Burnout is unfortunately extremely common in your new graduate year and having flexibility in your role will be one of the best ways to prevent this.
The final, and arguably most important thing to look for in your new graduate role, is ensuring you are given a gradual introduction into your clinical expectations. The expectation should be that you slowly increase your clinical demands, with plenty of shadowing, mentoring, reflection opportunities and clinical support. A supportive workplace will have a clear plan on how you will be eased in, and ensure your first few months are full of learning and development. With time and experience, your caseload will expand to its full time expectations. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are feeling overwhelmed with how fast you are transitioning!
In Reach Co. are proud to support the transition of New Graduates into the workforce. We encourage transparency and open communication between businesses and applicants as it is the easiest way to see if a role is going to be suited to you! Head to In Reach Co. to have a peruse through all the available opportunities and start chatting! Businesses have an option to choose whether or not their role is suited to a New Grad when they post their job advertisement, and they will all be more than happy to elaborate further on this with you.
Congratulations again for getting to this point of your career, you are going to be wonderful. Take your time in choosing the companies you apply for, and ensure you have some clear expectations in what you need in your new graduate role. In Reach Co. are very proud to have so many incredible job opportunities available to look through! If things don’t go to plan and your position isn’t as it was advertised, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your expectations. We are in a very privileged position as Allied Health Professionals at this current time, and there are too many incredible opportunities available to be spending our time in an unsupportive workplace (especially rurally). You’ve got this!
I would like to acknowledge the Yuwaalaaray People, who are the traditional owners of the land where this article was written.