It’s a competitive job market out there. And all your graduating classmates are competing for the same job you’re looking for. How do you give yourself an edge? How can your actions and manner scream to the employment screeners, ‘HIRE ME”?
First of all, LPC Interns are in an awkward position. Do I find a work site first or a LPC Supervisor first? The safest thing you can do is find a supervisor. Explain your situation to them. Some institutions offer onsite supervision. Some do not and you will need to have a supervisor outside of the institution to meet board criteria for accruing hours toward your full LPC license.
Your interview with an outside supervisor (LPC-S) can assure the prospective employer that you have done your due diligence by lining up a supervisor and are ready to sign a Supervision Agreement Form as soon as you gain employment.
For more tips and information about supervision check out my website www.Dallas-LPC-Supervision.com and look for articles.
When you want to exude “HIRE ME” with an interviewer here are some tips:
First be your sincere self. It never works to present an image of what you think the employer wants to get and keep a long term job. That being said, some favorable traits for successful interns seeking a long-term placement are:
NEVER call yourself an “LPC-I.” It shows ignorance of the DSHS Board rules, LPC ethical guidelines, and may make your potential supervisor or employer think you are inclined to be deceptive. ALWAYS use ‘LPC-INTERN’ and if you already have a supervisor use ‘LPC-INTERN SUPERVISED BY J. DOE, LPC-S.” According to board rules you must use the same type font and type size for all of that.
Turn OFF your phone and all electronic devices. Take the earphones out of your ears or away from your neck. This shows you are fully attuned to the interaction in the interview. Don’t chew gum. Don’t use profanity.
You can research who works for your potential employer before you go on the interview by checking out LinkedIn profiles. You may already have a connection with folks who work there. Perhaps you can reach out to them about their experience there. Make your connection and communication with peers and interviewers polite, positive and respectful. Be respectful to every person you interact with when you arrive—definitely with the receptionist.
Your interviewer will assess whether or not your personal manner is compatible with others who work there. Let your best self shine through in the interview. Great characteristics to show are dichotomous. You can be humble yet also interested, alert, and assertive. You can follow direction yet you are self-motivated and self-policing.
Use professional language and show an understanding of the basics of your profession—DSM diagnoses, ICD coding, and record keeping—but don’t use so much jargon you sound like a dictionary.
Be knowledgeable about the employer’s expectations for the job you are applying for. Good research materials are:
Global Criteria: The 12 Core Functions of the Substance Abuse Counselor (Herdman) This is good for anyone working in counseling or mental health institutions as well as rehabilitation institutions.
TAP 21: Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Aptitudes of Professional Practice (Online at SAMHSA.gov) Again these are basic competencies in the mental health field that you should be able to demonstrate commiserate with your level of experience. Fresh out of grad school you should know the basics even if you haven’t had the opportunity to practice the techniques.
The Texas State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors Code of Ethics. You can find this at
7. Don’t talk badly about past employers—ever. Be factual and fair.
8. Speak truthfully if you’ve been fired. Don’t use blame. Don’t go into too many details. Show you’ve learned from that setting and moved on a better self than before.
9. Good character traits for a favorable impression are:
Compassion—especially to mental health, substance abuse clients—but also with your associates and supervisors and administrators.
Openness—You are open to new experience, open to instruction, open to compliance with the institutions rule, yet also creative and able to think on your toes. This is one of the “Big-5” positive personality traits associated with the acronym OCEAN. The others are:
Conscientious—You are organized, systematic, punctual, reliable, achievement-oriented,
Extraverted—some people confuse this with being an entertainer or ‘class clown.’ That’s not what they mean. In clinical settings it means being outgoing toward others, enjoying social interaction with associates, and ability to both carry on important clinical information as well as light social interaction with your associates.
Agreeableness—Personal flexibility and agreeableness—this shows you can handle things with unusual events happen in your day.
Neurosis—they mean lack of neurosis. Overwhelming worry gets in the way of communication of concerns to other staff members and act accordingly. Problem solving is the life blood of well-functioning organizations.
Best wishes for great success in your new career!!