Tips on How to Impress a Field Experience Site

Are you a psychology, social work, or counseling student seeking a Field Experience site?  Wondering how to stand out from other applicants? sunshadesMitra is a PhD in Psychology–Clinical Psychology student who landed a practicum site at a Catholic school in California.  She is now working under supervision with adolescent girls who experience behavioral and mental health challenges.

How did Mitra maximize her chances of landing an interview?

Mitra started gearing up for her practicum search in February of 2016.  She contacted Career Services and worked extensively to update her CV and cover letter.  During this process, Mitra learned how to accentuate her skills, identify her target site’s needs, and determine the precise qualities potential sites were looking for in an intern.  These insights helped her communicate relevant skills and knowledge areas to employers.

Mitra then contacted her Field Experience Coordinator for a list of sites where other Walden students had completed internships or practica.  She also researched her local area, used job search aggregates and niche job banks, and referred to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) website.  While visiting the California Psychological Association (CPA)’s job bank, she located lists of potential sites and shared leads with other Walden students living in California.  She found her current practicum through CPA and submitted an application.  After two months, she received a phone call inviting her to visit the site and complete additional paperwork.  Shortly after her visit, she was contacted for a face-to-face interview.

How did Mitra impress her practicum site?

Working with Career Services helped Mitra learn how to present herself with confidence during an interview, share stories of her accomplishments, and communicate the quality of her Walden education.  She impressed her interviewer by taking the time to research the site –its mission, client population, challenges, and employees.  She built a connection with her interviewer by focusing on a common interest – the prevention of human trafficking.  Since this site had not worked with Walden students before, Mitra shared talking points about Walden’s social change mission, global student population, academic residency requirements, projects and assignments, and the field experience process.  She made such a positive impression that her interviewer asked whether she could recommend other Walden students to their site!  Needless to say, her interviewer was very impressed with Mitra’s academic program, knowledge of psychology, and commitment to social change.  After Mitra returned home, she immediately followed up with a thank you letter and, shortly afterward, received an email hiring her for the position.  Mitra is looking forward to a challenging, yet rewarding, practicum experience.  We wish her luck on her journey!

Are you gearing up for a Field Experience search?  Visit Career Services’ Field Experience webinars page to gain insights for a productive search.

Seeking to build your Walden network?  Learn about upcoming Career Connections events.

 Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services