Tips for new interpreters: the job search

William Woods ASL

 job job finding tips for ASL interpreters

With spring break in the rear-view mirror, ASL Interpreting seniors make their final move toward employment as full-time interpreters.

It is always a good idea for beginning interpreters to ask themselves a few questions before they even begin their job search process:

  • “What kind of hours do I want to work?”
  • “What are my long-term career goals, and how can my first interpreting job help me on that path?”
  • “What kind of connections do I want to make, and what organizations exist that could help me make them?”
  • “What are the values that I want represented at the organizations where I want to work?”

William Woods University ASL Interpreting alumnus Harrison Jones says this last question is among the most important.

“Find and only work for agencies that share your ethics and values, and those that won’t ask you to compromise them. Not all agencies are equal. Be sure to protect yourself by making sure you only work for upstanding agencies,” he said.

Jones also points out the importance of learning your own limits, and making sure not to push them too far.

“Expanding your limits is possible through experience and mentoring, but knowing them and following them is important to your health. Don’t be afraid to say no and turn down assignments past your limits,” Jones said. “Say no now and again. You have to put your health, welfare and longevity of career over the prospect of immediate earnings.”

A few other tips Jones mentions:

  • Get involved in the Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HH) and Interpreting communities now and stay involved. Your professional relationships are important.
  •  Be prepared for the first few years after graduation to be tough. Don’t give up and keep striving to do and be your best.
  • Find a strong group of friends and mentors who can support you through the tough times. That support system is paramount to a good life.
  • Take time to have fun and enjoy. If you spend every minute focused on work, money and other less important things, you will be miserable.
  • Find people and activities you enjoy and have fun!