If you're a recent graduate or about to complete your final semester or quarter before graduation, have you sought out a career services representative at your school to discuss career path options and embark upon a job search? Have you given serious thought about where you would like to work and for whom? If the answer to these questions is, "No, not yet," you are not alone.
It is not uncommon for new graduates to procrastinate when it comes to searching for employment in their new career field. Rather than discuss the reasons or excuses why a new massage therapy graduate could justify in putting off their job search, let's consider the reasons why proactively seeking out job placement assistance from your campus career services representative is the ideal step to take before and after you graduate from school.
Career services exist within the massage therapy program at your school to provide students, graduates and alumni with resources and support to help prepare and facilitate a successful transition from school to work. Many new students typically become entrenched with their new curriculum studies, adapting to the educational challenges while striving to find balance with their personal lives and responsibilities. It's no wonder scheduling time with career services can take a back seat in the minds of new or current students.
However, students should realize career services representatives are available for guidance throughout their education, from start to completion and beyond. Who are your career services representatives? Some may be licensed massage therapists, while others may have years of human resources recruiting experience. Many career services representatives make introductory presentations to new students and encourage them to schedule appointments with a career services representative to help them better identify where they see themselves working within the field of massage therapy.
Aside from providing students with the ability to partake in valuable workshops on specific career-related functions (i.e., resume/cover letter preparation, interviewing skills, job search strategies, credentialing/licensing processes), career services representatives can often enlighten students about practice areas they may not have previously been aware of, as well as external resources to access to help pave the foundation for their new career path. They can also help students identify potential employers. Knowing who you are interested in working for will make your employment search and application processes that much easier to complete when the time comes.
Your career services representative is also your on-ramp to an expressway of prospective employers and job opportunities. It is this person's responsibility to foster new and lasting partnerships with massage therapist employers in order to provide a bridge for the student and employer to come together. Aside from offering students or graduates with a means for learning about and applying to current job opportunities (typically through an online job posting/applicant system), career services representatives schedule, coordinate and manage annual job fairs, employment recruitment activities and alumni events, where graduates can network with peers and professionals in the field of practice. These events strictly service current students, new graduates and alumni in the field of massage therapy by providing them with opportunities to gather information and conduct a preliminary interview with a prospective employer. Remember, job fairs and career events present an ideal opportunity for new graduates to become more familiar with a prospective employer and determine whether or not there is a good fit. Networking with employers as a student and upon graduation will aid in your confidence later during formal interview sessions.
Despite the national recession and current unemployment rate in the U.S., there has not been a shortage of employment opportunities for massage therapists. In fact, the outlook for new, practicing massage therapists couldn't be brighter. Part-time, contract or full-time opportunities for the massage therapist exist across a multitude of settings and locations, spanning from massage franchises, private or mobile offices, health-care clinics, health clubs, spas and salons. And according to recent data from the American Massage Therapy Association, more than two-thirds of practicing massage therapists run either their own business or are self-employed contractors, whereas the other third are an employee within a business entity.