The story of how I got my first OT job.
My first Level I clinical was in a SNF close to home, so I decided to knock out the 40 hours during my Spring Break. I remember it being a long and somewhat overwhelming week. Because the placement was setup with a therapy team employed by a larger rehab company, I received a packet full of helpful handouts and resources to enhance my clinical experience. Even after the clinical was completed, I still received frequent promotional emails from the company that endorsed their student programs.
The following fall semester, I received an email that listed current OT job positions within New England. The email read just like all the others, so I naturally assumed that it was a mass email.
It felt like a shot in the dark, but I decided to respond to the email. At this point I still had two full years of school left, not to mention the time required to study and pass the NBCOT Exam. So I was far from ‘hire-able’. But I wanted to reach out anyway to make sure that I would remain on this mass mailing list until I was ready to start applying.
To my complete shock, I got a response back. A sweet recruiter for the company responded within that day, sending me a personalized email to get to know more about me. She wanted to know all about my plans post-graduation, including whether or not I wanted to remain in New England or move across the country. We communicated back and forth a bit, and it ended with her assurance that my information would be filed under ‘2017 Grads’ and that someone would be in touch closer to graduation.
Fast forward almost two years. I was very close to the end of my last Level II. Only three months stood between me and graduation and the idea of applying for OT positions both excited and horrified me.
I had just pulled into the Sam’s Club parking lot when my phone starts blowing up with texts and then a phone call from my mom. Apparently a representative from a rehab company had called the landline at my parents’ house to let me know about an OT position within the area. The same rehab company that had sent me that email two years earlier. My mom texted me the call-back number and with shaking hands and an even shakier voice, I punched in the number and left my best attempt at a professional voicemail.
Two full weeks passed and I hadn’t heard anything. I assumed they had found someone else to fill the job. Graduation was pressing on my mind and I was working hard to pack up as much of my apartment as I could since I would be heading home for a few weeks before returning to campus for the pre-graduation coursework.
While packing up my junk on an ordinary weeknight, I received a text from a random number. It was a recruiter from that same rehab company. She texted me to let me know that my cell phone had somehow prevented her from leaving me a voicemail every time she called, but she was wanted to make sure she had a chance to connect with me about the position.
So the next morning she gave me a call and outlined all the details about the position. The placement was in a SNF roughly 15 minutes from my parents’ home. Which was perfect because it meant that if I got the job I would be able to move back home for a while and work my way out of the ‘broke college student phase’. The only problem was, I still had three months until graduation, plus another 2-3 months to take and pass my NBCOT exam. So if they were looking for someone to start ASAP, I was not their girl. But the recruiter still instructed me to come in for an onsite interview and a tour of the facility. So I emailed her my resume and we scheduled an interview.
As the date came closer, I tried not to get my hopes up. In my mind, there had to be plenty of other candidates who were more available and experienced than me. I just figured that this would be practice for the many interviews to come. So I would go in and just be myself, with the plan to learn from my mistakes to make the next interview better than the last.
The interview itself went fairly well. I met with both the head of the rehab department, and the facility’s only OT. We chatted for about 45 minutes and then I got a tour of the facility. But the whole thing felt very vague. The conversation felt good, but when I left there was no “We’ll be in touch” or anything like that. Just a simple “It was nice meeting you, thanks for coming in”.
So I didn’t have much of an answer for my mom when I got home. We chatted for a bit and then made plans for the rest of our day. It was at that point that I decided to look at my phone. It was still on ‘silent’ from my interview, so I didn’t notice that the recruiter I had been in contact with had tried to call me.
I called her back immediately, and all she said was “So how do you think it went?” Which was a little hard to answer because I could tell she knew something that I didn’t. So I said, “Well I thought it went pretty well, and I’m definitely excited to hear about all that the team has been doing in the facility”. It was then that she asked me if I was interested in the job. And I remember thinking to myself, “Well obviously I’m interested! I’m an almost-new-grad who needs/wants a job!” But all that came out of my mouth was, “I’m definitely interested”. Then I heard that wonderful phrase:
“Well the team was very impressed with the interview and would like to offer you the position.”
I didn’t hear anything else she said after that. But somehow I was able to jot down some notes on things like my benefits and rate of pay. The whole thing was a complete whirlwind. It almost felt wrong to say yes to the first job that came along. So I took the weekend to process the whole thing, and on Monday I called to accept the offer.
I LOVE to tell this story. As I look back on it and replay it through my mind, I can so clearly see God’s Hand at work. The ways in which He laid the groundwork to ensure that I could get in contact with the right people at the right time is so incredible! He has truly gifted me with this job and I am so grateful to be working with the team that I get to be a part of.
God truly works in mysterious ways. He loves to bless His children and He is so good at writing our story in such beautiful ways; ways that we could never imagine. So if you’re a student, a new grad, or someone who’s just in between jobs right now, don’t lose hope. Your Heavenly Father loves to care for you. You are designed to be cared for and loved by Him. All you have to do is surrender to His will for your life, and let Him author the rest.