So you have minimal Child Life specific experience but you want to apply for a Child Life position? The trick is to explain your experience and how it applies to the Child Life field. If you are looking for more experience, check out my post about volunteer ideas. Many of these are not Child Life specific so make sure to point out to your interviewer how they relate to the position you are applying for.
There are three main themes that I believe can be found in many experiences and applied to Child Life. These are experience with kids, experience with people with special health concerns and experience with empathy (especially reflecting feelings and processing emotions). Child Life Specialists work with children with special health concerns and a large part of their role is helping children process their feelings. For example, I work on a hotline for survivors of sexual assault. Although a large part of my work is with adults, my focus on the hotline is helping visitors process their emotions. My reflecting and validating their feelings, I open the door for them to talk about their feelings. I believe that this experience is transferable to almost any job that involves working with people who have experienced trauma. The hospital setting is often considered traumatic for children and knowing how to reflect and validate feelings can help children explore their emotions.
So you’ve figured out how to explain your non child life experience, but how do you convince others? For my practicum application, I included a letter to my potential supervisors. In this letter, I explained what I did in my volunteer experience and mentioned how this would apply to Child Life. In the interview, make sure to mention the relationship between your experience and Child Life. Don’t just put it down on the resume, but explain scenarios from your volunteer experience here you demonstrated skills that are looked for in Child Life Specialists.