You’ve finished your role as student in the academic world and are feeling amazing. You’re officially done with grad student life and are ready to practice your counseling skills en vivo. No more reading about it, but actually doing it! Not for a grade, but for actual pay! So exciting!

But as you begin to search in the community for an employment site to gather those direct hours, you’re running into a brick wall. Where is the promised land of direct hours and therapy?

First of all, congratulations for getting to this stage of your career. Second of all, the work has only just begun so buck up buttercup.

If you’re one of the lucky few who already had employment that allows direct hour accrual, go forth! For everyone else who falls into the majority, your hunt for an employment site is on.

If you’re like everyone else, you’re probably looking on or every day and submitting application after application only to hear nothing in response. You’re finding that companies are either not hiring or only hiring fully licensed clinicians. So where does that leave you? Without a site.

You may be wondering where all the job opportunities are. The thing is, they are out there. However, If you come from a large city like San Antonio, your graduating program was likely one of about five completing this semester. What does that mean? Well for example, let’s just say five classes recently graduated. Combine the number of students in each of those classes which we’ll say is about 200. That means over 200 individuals are going out for the same exact position, in the exact same way, at the exact same time as you are. And that’s only this semester! What about next semester and summer semester? Not a pleasant thought is it?

So what do you do about it? For starters, think about your network. Who are the people you have met throughout the course of your academic studies? Professors, practicum and internship supervisors, doctorate supervisors, colleagues. Reach out to these people directly. See how they are, check in with how they’ve been. Then let them know your situation and that you’re looking. Networking is a great way to go around the major marketing systems to direct referral sources.

Another option is to simply secure a site, paid or not. Believe it or not locations that offer supportive services like churches and nonprofits are always needing volunteers. This could be a great way for you to solidify a site to then gain a supervisor. 

Another way to secure a site is to think about the type of company or organization you would like to work for. Start searching in the community and visit those websites directly. Many times there are career opportunities that aren’t publicized for one reason or another. Reach out to these people directly, as there is often a general inquiry form or way to reach out to the hiring person. Don’t assume that if an organization doesn’t have any hiring ads they must not be hiring.

And lastly, get connected with some type of colleague/peer related forum. One thing I’ve noticed is we are a very generous community of professionals. Ask others where they are working and if their site is hiring. Many employees often have leads as to when a hiring opportunity will come up in the future. This can give you the advantage of reaching out swiftly as well as to keep an eye out when these jobs are posted.

Hope this helps! Stay encouraged, you’ve already made it this far.