Career Development Tips from the API Community
We thought it would be most useful to share the stories of colleagues, lessons learned, and valuable insight.
"Communicating Your Uniqueness" from Dr. Doris ChingI believe a job interview, at times, is like a media interview in the sense that one is putting his or her best image forward. In that light, the following suggestion by a marketing consultant may be helpful: Identify 2 or 3 of your "must airs;" that is, the 2 or 3 things you feel are very important for the interviewer to know about you, and find ways to incorporate them into your responses to the interviewer's questions. Needless to say, they should be incorporated in as natural and relevant a manner as possible to the question. Many interviewers, near the end of the interview, ask if the candidate wishes to add anything or ask any question. However, some don't, so it's safer not to assume that such an opportunity will be presented at the end, and find ways to include those "must airs" in your responses to the interviewers' questions.
"Career Tips" from Dr. Tae-Sun Kim
I obsessed over the cover letter more so than the CV because I knew it was in the cover letter that the readers would sense my passion, personality, and potential. I highlighted key words, phrases, mission statements, goals and key indicators of the type of person or outcomes these posts were looking for and I integrated them into the letter. I checked out the larger division and campus website to get clues about the direction or values of the department I would be working for and again, talked about those items in my letter. The cover letter writing process also helped me decide whether or not this particular institution or city/town was a place I wanted to live and work.
Consider packing for your on-campus interview using a carry-on bag. The last thing you want is for the airline to lose your luggage not have appropriate interview attire.
When asked the dreaded, “What are your weaknesses?” question, I reframed it to, “One of the things that I am challenged with, but am working to correct is...” I wanted the group to know that I am a learner and I evolve; I am not threatened by change or the need to develop new competencies.
"Interview Tips" from Dr. Lori Ideta
Never go to the interview empty handed. Go with something in your hands: a briefcase, a portfolio, a pen, a tablet, something! You should have a copy of your application and resume, the job ad, print outs of the institution's mission statement, etc. This demonstrates your preparedness and interest in the job.
At the end of any interview, the interviewers will give you an opportunity to ask questions. Always ask something! In our cultural contexts, we are trained to not ask questions lest we appear too confident. Well, in an interview setting in higher education, if you do not ask any questions, it appears that you are not really interested in the position. Here are some sample questions you can use at the end of any interview:
- What qualities are you seeking in an ideal candidate?
- What is a typical day like for the position?
- Tell me why you love working at this institution/office/department.
- What are the next steps in this search process?”
Write down your questions ahead of time, so when it is your turn to ask them, you can easily refer to them
"An Interview Story" from Karlen Suga
The biggest thing that stands out in my mind about interviewing and job searching with regard to culture is the subject of humility. During an open forum interview for a job here, I was asked the question, "Why do you think you are the best person for this job?" For my entire life, I was taught by my parents and grandparents to always remain humble… My response to that question mirrored this value of humility, and I basically said, “Truthfully, I don't know that I am the best person for the job” because in my head, I had no idea what other qualifications other candidates brought to the table and I didn't want to make the assumption that I was the best. I knew I had a lot to offer the position and office, but didn't want it to seem as if I was bragging because of my need to demonstrate humility. Unfortunately, my answer was taken and interpreted that I was not confident in my own abilities. I did not get the job. Based on that experience, by biggest piece of advice to APA folks that may be interviewing is to be aware that this question may come up. If you value humility the way I do, find a way to answer the question in a way that still communicates that you are confident about yourself and your abilities. My advisor suggested that the next time I encounter that question, I say something to the effect of, "Well culturally, this is a difficult question for me because I have been taught to remain humble. However, I do believe that I bring (insert qualities) to the position and that is why I would make a great fit."
"Lessons Learned from APPEX" from Henry Gee, Rebecca Nelson, and Dr. LuoLuo Hong (as noted by Dr. Evette Castillo Clark)
- Vertical mobility is not necessarily the way to ‘lead’; we lead best by being comfortable in our current roles and finding that place where we have voice.
- “Don’t mistake activity for accomplishment.”
- “Don’t spend time with people who don’t care about you.”
- “See the invisible; Hear the unspoken.”
- “Know what is value-critical for you, like a division knows what is mission-critical.”
- “Work smarter, not harder.”
- “There are bridges that can be burned that are irrevocable.”
- “Your lateral relationships are safe spaces.”
- “Find the context where you’re comfortable to be political.”
- “You must accept politics to be a political actor.”
- “You will find that successfully navigating the political landscape is less about what you do, it’s more about your relationships with others and how you treat people.”
- “…that it is just as important, if not more, to take time to sit and reflect about the people, structures, systems, styles, cultures, values, relationships, and mission that make up your campus community as it is to produce results and do the work that you were hired to do.”
Research on APIs in Higher Education
The following list of resources is a perpetual work in progress. If you know of additional resources (e.g., journal articles, monographs, books, videos, websites) relevant to API college student development or API professionals in higher education, please email Research & Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs.
The API Community Experience
- National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (2008). Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Facts, not fiction: Setting the record straight. New York: The College Board.
- Park, C., & Mei-Ying, M. (1999). Asian American education: Prospects and challenges. Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group.
- Perea, J. (2000).The Black/White binary paradigm of race. In R. Delgado & J. Stefancic (Eds.), Critical race theory: The cutting edge (pp. 344-353). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
- Sau-Fong, S. (1996). Questions and answers: What research says about the education of Chinese American children. Baltimore.
- Teranishi, R. (2003). Asian American Pacific Islanders and critical race theory: An examination of school racial climate. Equity and Excellence in Education, 35(2), 144–154.
- Teranishi, R. (2007). Race, ethnicity, and higher education policy: The use of critical quantitative research. New Directions for Institutional Research, 133, 37-49.
- Trueba, H.T. (1993). Myth or Reality: Adaptive Strategies of Asian Americans in California. Pennsylvania: Falmer Press, Taylor and Francis Inc.
THE ETHNIC COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE
- Chhuon, V., & Hudley, C. (2008). Factors supporting Cambodian American students’ successful adjustment into the university. Journal of College Student Development, 49, 15-30.
- Chhuon, V., Hudley, C., & Macia, R. (2006). Cambodian-American college students: Cultural values and multiple worlds. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA).
- Lee, S. J. (1997). The road to college: Hmong American women’s pursuit of higher education. Harvard Educational Review, 67, 803-827.
- Museus, S. D., & Maramba, D. C. (2011). The impact of culture on Filipino American students’ sense of belonging. The Review of Higher Education, 34(2), 231-258.
- Nguyen-Hong-Nhiem, L. & Halpern, J. M. (Eds.) (1989). The Far East comes near: Autobiographical accounts of Southeast Asian students in America. Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press.
- Su, J., Lee, R. M., & Vang, S. (2005). Intergenerational family conflict and coping among Hmong American college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 4, 482–489.
- Um, K. (2003). A dream denied: Educational experiences of Southeast Asian American youth, Issues and recommendations. Washington, D.C.: Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).
- Guiffrida, D. A., Kiyama, J. M., Waterman, S., & Museus, S. D. (2012). Moving from individual to collective cultures to serve students of color. In S. D. Museus & U. M. Jayakumar (Eds.). Creating campus cultures: Fostering success among racially diverse student populations. New York: Routledge.
- Hune, S. (2002). Demographics and diversity of Asian American college students. In M. K. McEwen, C. M. Kodama, A. N. Alvarez, S. Lee & C. T. H. Liang (Eds.), Working with Asian American college students (pp. 11-20). New Directions for Student Services, no. 97. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Hurtado, S., Milem, J., Clayton-Pederson, A., & Allen, W. (1999). Enacting diverse learning environments: Improving the climate for racial/ethnic diversity in higher education. ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report, Volume 26, No. 8. Washington D.C.: The George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development.
- Loo, C. M. & Rolison, G. (1986). Alienation of ethnic minority students at a predominatly White university. Journal of Higher Education, 57(1), 58-77.
- Museus, S. D., Lam, S., Huang, C., Kem, P., & Tan, K. (2012). Cultural integration in campus subcultures: Where the cultural, academic, and social spheres of college life collide. In S. D. Museus & U. M. Jayakumar (Eds.). Creating campus cultures: Fostering success among racially diverse student populations. New York: Routledge.
- National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education & The College Board. (2008). Asian American and Pacific Islanders: Fact, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straight. New York: Authors.
Amy Li Ph.D.Assistant Professor at University of Northern Colorado
Bach Mai Dolly Nguyen Ph.D.Assistant Professor at Lewis and Clark College
Corinne Kodama Ph.D.Research Specialist at University of Illinois, Chicago
Dina Maramba Ph.D.Associate Professor at Claremont Graduate University
Erica Yamamura Ph.D.Associate Professor at Seattle University
Erin Wright Ph.D.Assistant Professor at University of Hawaii at Manoa
Julia J. Park Ph.D.Associate Professor at University of Maryland, College Park
Liza Talusan Ph.D.Associate Lecturer Professor at University of Massachusetts, Boston
Mitchell Chang Ph.D.Professor at University of California, Los Angeles
OiYan Poon Ph.D.Associate Professor at Colorado State University
Rob Teranishi Ph.D.Professor at University of California, Los Angeles
Rosemary (Rosie) J. Perez Ph.D.Assistant Professor at Iowa State University
Samuel Museus Ph.D.Assistant Professor at Indiana University Bloomington
Thai- Huy Nguyen Ph.D.Assistant Professor at Seattle University
Varaxy Yi Borromeo Ph.D.Assistant Professor at California State University, Fresno