Look at me in that suit!
A few weeks ago I interviewed for the position Associate Director of Creative Writing for the English Department. There was steep competition, but I got the job!! For the past two years, along with my other work for the college, I have been Nicole Wilson’s (the current Associate Director) Poetry Programs Assistant. The two year of experience really helped me talk about the possible position, and really helped me during the interview. I’m so lucky to have this job and very excited to be able to stay at Columbia College Chicago, working with the Creative Writing programs and the English Department. Let’s just say my wife and I are relieved. This job also allows me the opportunity to teach creative writing workshops during the year–huge advantage!
Applying for the job was stressful enough–making sure you’re saying everything right, and getting the right elements into your cover letter–and the waiting makes it even more stressful. But, if you have a good cover letter and application materials, then you should feel good. It doesn’t always work out, but at least you know you put forth the best. I always tell people, when talking about cover letters, to really make sure the hiring committee sees how you’ve researched the position as wells as selling yourself as the right candidate for the job. That’s the hard part, figuring out how to sell yourself without sounding like a bragger or someone assuming something about a position. In this case, I had an advantage, as I had worked with Nicole for two years. But, when I wrote other cover letters for other jobs, I had to really read, not only about the college I was applying to (mission statements, history, etc), but also about the department, programs, and faculty, and of course the students. I don’t know how successful my cover letters were because I didn’t get any interviews for teaching positions, but they felt right. At the end of the day, you just have to proofread it and let it out into the world. Don’t think about it and DON’T read it after you send your stuff out.
Before the interview I was a wreck, but Em, Elliot, and I went out and I bought a suit, and I went through my old files and notes from the job and really tried to get a handle on the kind of work I would be doing if I got the job. That morning, I got to school early, worked on some teaching stuff, and printed out my CV and cover letter for the interview (ALWAYS bring extra materials to your interviews, just in case…it makes you look prepared and organized). Then I ran into people I knew. Talking to people about other things, like Mad Men, or Game of Thrones, or teaching, or the weather, or whatever, really helped me calm myself.
My goal for the interview was to just talk about my experiences in other jobs and how that suited their needs, really try to answer to questions, and be really honest–if I didn’t know, I said so. I also wanted that interview to not feel like an interview and more like people talking about a job. It felt very welcoming and I was able to just be myself. I think that helped.
So, anyway. Here I am. I got myself a grownup job! And I’m working for programs that I really love. So lucky!