Thursday, May 11, 2017

When dreams do (or don’t) come true, what will you do?

Each year, the days and weeks surrounding graduation serve as a time to reflect.  For our Hofstra seniors, you may be thinking about who you were when you began your studies at Hofstra and comparing those feelings and goals to the ones you have now.  Some of you may be right on the same trajectory, whilst others’ journeys took some turns along the way to get to where you are.  We know that not everyone ends up pursuing the career path they always dreamed they would; a couple weeks ago, I read this article where a photography student in India captured beautifully the contrast between people’s dream jobs and the occupations they now hold.  When shift happens, as it often does, how do we look back on those dreams and try to keep them alive?

When we work with students here at the Career Center, oftentimes a question we ask is “if there were no barriers, what would be your dream career?”  The answers we hear vary, as you may expect, but it’s in those answers where we can start to talk about what you would truly value in a career, even if it’s not what you thought it was. Think about what you thought you wanted to be; how close is it to what you’re currently or thinking of pursuing? If your answer is “No,” are there elements of that dream that are evident in what you’re doing now either professionally or personally? We find that the answer moves a lot closer to the “Yes” column; even though we may not achieve that goal professionally in the way we thought, we still retain some aspect in our lives because it brings us fulfillment.

I’ll play; when I was younger, I wanted to be a baseball player – more specifically the first baseman (basewoman?) for the New York Yankees.  That didn’t happen for me (though I’d love for you to picture me writing this blog from the clubhouse), but baseball is still a huge part of my life.  In fact, if I weren’t in the role I have now, I would probably be trying to work in baseball in some capacity in scouting, recruitment, or statistics.  The elements of teamwork, leadership, and determination that are prevalent in a career in professional sports are the same characteristics that help me succeed in my role here at Hofstra – I encourage you to think of what those traits are for you!

No matter how closely related (or not) they are, if you’d like to talk about how your dream can be part of your reality, come visit us. This is true even if you’re graduating come the 21st; you will still have access to Career Center services for a year post-graduation.

Dream on,

Amy Smith, Associate Director of External Relations

Friday, May 5, 2017

Why it’s a good thing to do the coffee run at your internship

So you landed the internship, congratulations!  You are super excited to arrive on your first day, and do all the cool things you’ve dreamed of and learn the tools of the trade so you can hopefully be hired upon graduation. You assume you will be trained in various systems and be able to make a creative contribution and impact from day one. Sure, you may have to shadow or learn for a week or two - but then you’ll be assigned the big account, the major project, invited to have a seat at the executive table, right? Well, you may want to manage your expectations.

And while each company is different, and internship programs have really evolved in recent years to include things like pay, travel stipends, set hours and more formal learning outcomes, some of the basics still remain true. An intern will need to start at the bottom and prove their value, by completing such tasks as making copies, answering phones, doing data entry, and, doing coffee runs from time to time.

It’s all about perspective: when you are the coffee person, you get to leave the office for a few minutes, get a change of scenery, check your phone and grab some fresh air, if the coffee place is outside of the building. And guess who you are: the intern that members of the team look forward to seeing every day, the intern who gets to actually speak with those staffers who they have retrieved coffee for, and, the person who got recognized by senior staff in the kitchen or elevator. They may just ask you one day what it is that YOU want to do - and offer their advice and assistance - since they know you are a nice, enthusiastic, team player who has earned a place at their (or a different) organization.

A student I know who interns at a well known media company on a TV show has had the opportunity to hang out with the writers when delivering their coffee, thus gaining valuable insights and face time with those sitting at the table where she wants to sit, one day.

A coffee run is an opportunity to demonstrate that you’re not above any task, to build relationships, and earn trust. Often what’s been stereotyped as a demeaning intern task is an exercise in patience, flexibility, and, depending on the complexity of the coffee order, attention to detail. Be the person who gets coffee AND thrives in their role, with a great attitude to boot.

All that said, employers should recognize that interns don’t have to just be coffee runners, copy makers and spreadsheet fillers. If employers give interns an opportunity to take on more substantial projects, they will be able to get a better sense of the type of full-time employee they’ll actually be. Hiring and onboarding an intern who has a deep knowledge of the company, its employees and a proven willingness to learn and be a “go to” person saves both time and money. And that’s always a good thing.

Go get ‘em. Some coffee.
And good luck on your finals!

Michele Roberts, Assistant Director

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Last Events of the Year!

Pride Shadowing Program
The PRIDE Shadowing Program is an opportunity for students to explore possible career fields and gain exposure to the professional work environment. Participants will visit a host organization for one day and learn first hand how classroom learning can be linked to career choices and further educational goals. Shadowing can help students obtain knowledge that comes only from being in the job setting.

Department of Education (DOE) Information session
At this event student will be able to get assistance updating their online applications and ask questions about the Department of Education.
Student Center Greenhouse
Friday, May 5, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm 

May the 4th Be With You

May the 4th Be With You...

As an avid Star Wars fan, and it being the week of Star Wars Day, I think it is only appropriate to reference the epic space opera in relation to career development.

In case you have not watched Star Wars before, the film takes place in a galaxy far, far away where the force (a mysterious power) is in a constant state of imbalance between the light side (good) and the dark side (evil). Harnessing the power of the force can be done by releasing the anxiety, tension, and conflict within you and embracing the natural force to come into you. The force gives the wielder powers such as: lifting objects up without touching them and telepathically tricking people into thinking what you want them to think (Jedi mind tricks) in order to get what you want.

Unfortunately, the force does not exist in our universe. As nice as it would be to use Jedi mind tricks on an employer during an interview to get the position, it is not a reality. What is a reality, is if you make a great impression on the employer during an interview by exerting confidence, knowledge of the position, and reflecting on past experiences and how they are applicable to the position, there is a good chance the employer will consider you for the job (no Jedi mind tricks needed). But in order to get to that point, you must prepare thoroughly. Do your homework on the company. Make sure that you have a list of 10 characteristics or skills that you want the employer to know about you and have a personal anecdote in mind to represent each one. And lastly, carry yourself with confidence. Release the anxiety and tension inside you. The employer is already interested in you because of your resume and or cover letter, there is no need to feel under pressure. Be yourself and be confident. You worked hard to get to this point and now is your opportunity to speak openly about how you are the right person for the job.

Good luck, and may the force be with you.

Scott Davidson 
Career Center Graduate Assistant 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Don't miss the last events for the 2017 Spring Semester!

Pride Shadowing Program
The PRIDE Shadowing Program is an opportunity for students to explore possible career fields and gain exposure to the professional work environment. Participants will visit a host organization for one day and learn first hand how classroom learning can be linked to career choices and further educational goals. Shadowing can help students obtain knowledge that comes only from being in the job setting.

Seeking Purpose Series: Dr. Preeti Gupta
Come hear Dr. Preeti Gupta speak about her experiences as Director for Youth Learning and Research at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Preeti Gupta is responsible for strategic planning, program development and research and evaluation for out of school time youth initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History. Her portfolio also includes leading the summer museum residency components of the newly initiated Masters of Arts in Teaching program for Earth Science teachers. Her research interests are focused on the trajectories of youth’s experiences with science in and out of school settings, the role that museums play in motivation and deepening engagement with STEM and STEM careers, youth employment and workforce development and the factors that mediate how youth identify with the scientific enterprise.
Wednesday, April 26, 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
SC Plaza Rooms - Student Center

Job Search and Dating – A Parallel Universe

Often times when I meet with students, I use analogies to simplify concepts. This approach ensures that we are on the same page.  My favorite analogy is comparing dating and job searching... They are essentially the same.


What is your resume? A profile are putting your best foot forward and presenting the best PICTURE of yourself both on paper and in a photograph.

Why are you called for an interview? Based on the “picture” you sent and the content you provided... you were selected for “a date".

How should you dress?  Both for a date and interview.... you must look presentable base on location or industry.

What does a first date look like?  Maybe coffee or a quick bite at Starbucks... the 1st interview usually is a “screening”  and if you did well in either you will be called back.

Why didn’t you hear back from the date or the interviewer?  No chemistry or not a good fit....Have you ever gone out with someone and you just did no like them, for no reason at all? Same with an interview, sometimes they just liked someone better.  

Second interview to "meet the team”! This is the equivalent to taking the new partner to a family wedding or holiday dinner to meet DAD or THE BOSS....  You (1st interviewer) is  hoping the team/family like the pick as much as you do.  It’s your job in both cases to impress them (don’t be fake) with your charm.  Know your industry and stay away from hot topics like race, religion and politics in both cases.

Job offer aka the proposal – this is evaluation time! Are you ready to make this level of commitment? Is this a right fit for you?....  If the stars are not aligned, let the person know and this way they can find someone who wants to be that relationship or company.  Don’t make decisions based on not wanting to “be alone” or unemployed.  

So my words of advice in both scenarios Don’t be a desperate dater or job seeker.

Lorraine Massiah
Assistant Director, Career Center

Friday, April 14, 2017

“I went to the Spring Career Fair, now what?”

It was great seeing so many of you at the Spring 2017 Career Fair! This was our largest fair to date, with over 700 students attending, and we hope that you had a positive experience. For some of you, it might be clear what your next steps are, and not so much for others. Either way is completely okay! Hopefully these scenarios and suggestions can help.

* Met with great companies, but they don’t have positions of interest: In this scenario, you have the advantage of having connected with some recruiters, and this is the first step of the relationship building process. One suggestion is to message the recruiter periodically (maybe start with once a semester) and keep him or her informed with your updates and what you are interested in pursuing; the updates will help keep your name and story top of mind for when opportunities of interest do open up within the company. Another suggestion is to use the insights that you gathered from the conversations to help you gain more clarity around what attributes you are looking for in a company and then you can articulate that in conversations with other companies as part of your reason for why you want to work with them. 

* Met with great companies, and they have positions of interest, but you don’t qualify for them: In this scenario, you have connected with recruiters, which is important. The next step would be to do some introspective reflection and assess why you don’t qualify for the positions of interest. Is it because the position requires a certain class year? GPA? Other experience? Have no fear, you are not the first person to encounter these obstacles, nor will you be the last. If you weren’t able to address these perceived barriers in your initial conversation, we would encourage you to follow-up with the recruiter and share with them your value proposition for why you are a great candidate for the position, even if you don’t check off all the boxes they are looking for in an ideal candidate. This scenario is all about selling your story, hustling hard (see post "It's ALL about Hustle"), and applying anyway. Feel free to schedule an appointment with a Career Counselor to help you develop and sell your story.

* Didn’t see any companies of interest: We thank you for coming to the Career Fair anyway and hope that you were able to have some good conversations even if they didn’t pique your interest. Although this scenario can be frustrating, it can also help you gain some more clarity around what it is that you are looking for in a company; sometimes the best way to figure out what you want is by knowing what you don’t want. We recommend that you schedule an appointment with at Career Counselor to debrief on your Career Fair experience and what your strategy should be moving forward.

We at the Career Center are here to help you throughout your different scenarios, so don’t hesitate to come in for our drop-in hours (between 10-11am and 2-4pm every day the university is open) or schedule an appointment with a counselor. 

Happy Spring!

Ava Danville, MBA
Assistant Director
The Career Center, Hofstra University

P.s. As a reminder, if you have not yet sent follow-up thank you emails to any recruiters you spoke with, we recommend that you do that as soon as possible and include some information about your conversation to refresh their memory.