Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Finding your First Gen Career Zen

Six years ago, I was staring at my computer, ridden with fear. In front of me was the Common App, but behind me there was no one. No one who could help guide me through the process of applying to college. I was the first in my family to even consider incorporating college into my long-term plan. Although I knew I had incredible amounts of support from both my parents and the rest of my relatives, I knew I had the burden of figuring out how to get where I wanted to be all on my own. Knowing that, combined with the high expectations that my family had for me, the pressure was on. 

My freshmen year at Hofstra was definitely a culture shock. Being on a college campus seemed like being on another planet, filled with aliens that were accustomed to life on Mars. Although my new normal was nothing shy of exciting, there was a slight feeling of insecurity, as if I did not belong here. I kept this feeling to myself, both because I did not want to hurt my parents’ feelings and I knew they could not relate. 

 Looking back, I was lucky enough to find my niche at Hofstra, specifically in career services. I started working in the Career Center as an undergraduate assistant and opted to make a career out of it. Although I attribute my success to both my Hofstra journey and my support system, there are some things that I would’ve done differently. I can now clearly see the advantages that I have in the workforce as a first-generation student. I had to go the extra mile to get where I want to be, which goes hand-in-hand with the work ethic that I learned as the daughter of parents who had to compensate for their lack of degrees. The transferable skills that I have acquired as a result of my upbringing will carry me through all future endeavors. I encourage all first-generation students to approach their college experience with this attitude and find ways to connect with other first-generation students that share your thoughts and feelings. This is an aspect of myself that I am more than proud of and you should be too!

Sabrina Iaria
Graduate Assistant of External Relations

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Semester, New opportunities to say YES!

Syllabus week is over, events on campus are picking up again, you’re looking at the weather report wondering about the next chance for a snow day… yup, we’re back in the swing of the Spring Semester! Coming back after the Winter Break gives us a chance to hit the reset button, too. Fall Semester can be hectic, and taking a few weeks to recharge is key in approaching the new semester (and the new year) with a different perspective and open mind. This also may leave you thinking about opportunities in front of you that, for whatever reason, you didn’t take advantage of. Why was that? What were the things that stopped you? Now that you get to reflect, were there things you would have done differently? Would you have said YES, rather than no?

This is something that I was thinking about quite a bit over the break, myself; I was reading an article about what we can learn from saying YES to these chances, even if we are unsure, scared, or afraid of failure. When we say YES, we are opening ourselves up to the possibility of learning more, growing more, and finding new things that we’d never thought possible. In a time where our attention is drawn in multiple directions to all the different priorities we have, it may seem like saying YES is something that punches you a one-way ticket to being overwhelmed. But what if that thing you say YES to leads you to discover something else, and gives you the key to opening another door? If you say no, you’ll never know.

Here at the Career Center, we’ve been doing just that. Towards the end of the Fall Semester, we were approached by students in Theta Tau, Hofstra’s Engineering fraternity, who asked us to work with them to create an event connecting students interested in positions in Engineering and Computer Science with employers in those fields. We, of course, said YES – and that led to our first-ever Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair, which will be held on Wednesday, February 21st from 11-1 in Hofstra USA! We have over 30 employers registered as of today, seeking students for internship, co-op, part-time, and full-time positions (If you’re interested in seeing the companies that will be attending, check out the fair on Handshake!)

What will YOU say YES to in Spring 2018? It might be joining a new club, taking on a new role, changing your major, or pursuing an opportunity that looks great for you – the possibilities are endless! And, of course, if we at the Career Center can help you, let us know.

Happy YES-ing!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Spring into Success!

Happy Start to Spring 2018!
Whether this is your first semester or your 8th (or more) semester, the Career Center welcomes you to Spring 2018! We hope that you had a great holiday season and winter break.

If you are like me, you might approach the winter months as a sort of hibernation – a time to relax and also prepare for the upcoming year.

Although I do not get as much rest as I would like to during the winter, I do give myself permission to spend the month of January to set my intentions for the year and develop a loose action plan to follow. It’s not too late to start this process; I still haven’t finished my 2018 goals to be completely honest. Below are some tips that I have found beneficial over the years that have helped me set and achieve my goals.

  • Visualize
Something that I started doing this year was creating a vision board; I have one that I keep in my office and one that I keep at home. The image of my vision board is also the screen lock picture on my phone so that I have a constant reminder of what it is that I would like to see happen this year. Even if vision boards aren’t your thing, I would encourage you to think about how you would like your life to look over a certain stretch of time. Call it faith, the universe, or the power of The Secret/Law of Attraction, but I am a firm believer that whatever you put into the universe is what you will attract. Time to put the great vibes out there and see what happens over time!

  • Create an Action Plan
It’s not enough to visualize alone, you have to come up with a plan in order to help make your good vibes come into fruition. One framework, see below, is the SMART goals framework, so that you can get specific with what it is you hope to achieve and by what time line. If this is a new process for you, try starting with one goal that you would like to accomplish this month and then apply the framework to other timelines as you become more comfortable. It also might be beneficial to only focus on a maximum of 3 goals at a time during any period so that you don’t find yourself spread thin and unable to complete the tasks.
  • Execute
Once you have your game plan and good vibes, it’s time to execute. Work the plan and make adjustments along the way. The beauty of this part of the process is that you can always course correct. The deadlines are used to guide you, but there will be times when you have to adjust your timelines, and that is okay.

  • Repeat
Once you have accomplished your first set of goals, it is time to reflect and then start the process over. My process is a bit intense for some, but I do quarterly check-ins with myself to see how I am progressing and then each year I start the visualization and goal-setting process over again.

Hope you found this helpful! Have a great Spring semester and we look forward to helping you achieve all of your successes!
Ava Danville, MBA
Assistant Director
The Career Center, Hofstra University

Thursday, December 14, 2017

SnowManaging Your Time Over Winter Break

At this point in the semester, there are so many emotions ruling your days. There is anticipation for the end of all the exams, papers, and presentations; nervousness about how all the grades are going to turn out; sadness (or joy) about not seeing your professors, classmates, and friends on a regular basis; and eagerness for all the treats that are likely coming your way with the holidays just around the corner. No matter the combination of emotions that you feel, managing your time now, as well as throughout the break, can be what sets you apart from your peers come January.

To better understand how to utilize time off to help with professional and personal development, we asked the Career Center’s Student Advisory Board to weigh in with their suggestions.  The Student Advisory Board is a group of students from all class levels who meet monthly to provide feedback on Career Center Services. Their input is valuable to The Career Center and, hopefully, will be to you too!

“Shadow someone in your industry to gain experience and insight into what the field is like.”
- Alli, Sophomore, Public Relations
Reach out to family, friends, neighbors, LinkedIn contacts, etc. to see if they are willing to allow you to spend the day with them and learn about the day-to-day of their job. By doing so, you will learn if that particular field would be a good fit for you! Who knows? You could also make some great connections for your future job search.
“Use your down time to perfect your LinkedIn and resume. Also, practice writing sample cover letters.”
- Sabrina, Graduate Student, Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies
In between eating cookies and watching movies, break out the old resume and take a look at what you can do to make it better. Keep in mind that in the Career Hub portal, there is a Career Guide that takes you through the step-by-step process of making your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn better. Each component speaks to who you are as a person and an employee, so dust off the Microsoft Word file and get to improving!
“Contact the Career Center to do a phone appointment or document review.”
- Ryan, Junior, Journalism
The Career Center is OPEN in January and this is a perfect time to stop in and get your materials reviewed, practice interview skills, or explore career options. If you are not around, give us a call to set up a virtual or phone experience; Counselors are available and eager to help you in any way possible. You can also email the Career Center (careercenter@hofstra.edu) to have them review your documents!
“Take advantage of your part-time job to build upon pre-existing connections.”
- Imani, Senior, Accounting
If you are working a part-time job over the break, chances are this is a bit of a down time in the year. If that is the case for you, this is the perfect time to talk to people in your office about your career aspirations. By developing these connections, these co-workers will be more likely to write you positive letters of recommendation and potentially help you find opportunities in your field.
“Cold connect to potential resources on LinkedIn.”
- Kristi, Graduate Student, Mental Health Counseling
Reach out to recruiters or other individuals in fields you are interested in on LinkedIn and ask for an informational interview. The worst thing that could happen is they ignore you and that’s on them! By putting yourself out there, you are opening the door to investigate career opportunities, widen your network, and potentially create a valuable connection.
"Start looking for internships, leadership programs, and shadowing opportunities for the Spring and Summer semesters.”
- Simone, Junior, Community Health
It is never too early to start exploring how you will spend the warmer months of the year. Utilize resources such as Handshake and UCAN available on your Hofstra Career Hub to begin the internship and job search. Also, be on the lookout for other programs available such as PRIDE Shadowing and STRIVE for PRIDE which take place in the spring and are great opportunities to enhance your skills and explore various career avenues.
 “Follow the Career Center on social media!”
- Maggie, Graduate Student, Forensic Linguistics
Stay up to date with all the latest happenings with the Career Center. We can be found on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook so if you do anything over the break, take two seconds and check out our social media pages. These are a fantastic resource to know what opportunities the Career Center has going on throughout the semester.
So take some time to snowmanage your time over the break so your spring semester is more chill than a January night. On behalf of The Career Center and Student Advisory Board, we hope you have a wonderful and safe winter break. Stay warm!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

10 Ways to ~Work It~ in the Workplace

You went through the interview process and have now landed your dream job. You want to make a good impression, but there are just some things that are total no-no’s when it comes to the workplace. Although there are many, there are a few I have found to be crucial to success, no matter what the atmosphere you work in. Keep reading to get the 10 best ways to ~work it~ in the workplace and get you on your way to your best professional life:

#1: DON’T dress inappropriately! You need to dress appropriately. Although different industries call for different attire, you need to make sure even if it is just business casual that you don’t take the casual part too far. My advice to you, if you have to second guess yourself when you look in the mirror right before leaving for work, you should probably change whatever outfit you have on. What do I mean by this? Maybe for women it is that your dress or skirt is too short or that your shirt is cut a little too low. For men, it could be as simple as using a belt so that your pants are not hanging down.

#2: DON’T talk too much about your personal life in the office.
It is nice to have friends at work, but when others hear what you are talking about, it may be deemed “TMI.” Don’t bring your personal life to the office. The two need to be separated. So, my suggestion, if you do have that close friend at work you would like to talk to about personal issues, go out to lunch to discuss them!

#3 DO be open-minded. Understand that not everyone is going to share the same ideas or opinions. In order to work in a collaborative office, this is essential.

#4 DO arrive early. People notice when you are in early and ready to start the day before everyone else. Not only does this apply to the workday, but meetings as well. Do not set up a meeting with someone and then forget. Not only is this rude but it looks like you don’t care.

#5 DO offer to work on a new project or complete a task you haven’t before. This will showcase your confidence in the task as well as showing that you are a team player. Everyone LOVES a team player!

#6 DON’T gossip.
Gossiping is NEVER a good look, especially if you are the new kid on the block. The only person you are hurting in this situation is yourself. You will create a hurdle for yourself to jump over in the future when you need to work with that individual on a project.

#7 DON’T “reply all” on every email. Understand when and when not to hit reply all on an email. Sometimes is it necessary, other times not so much and it can get annoying being on the receiving end of pointless emails.
#8 DO bring in treats for your co-workers. Try to see if anyone is allergic to anything first. People always appreciate a little something to snack on while at work.

#9 DON’T ignore advice from your boss or supervisor.
These individuals have been in the game a lot longer than you have and know a thing or two about the company, position, or simple tasks you complete on a day to day basis. Chances are, they were in your position at one point and know the ins and the outs. They would not be giving you advice if they did not think you were capable of the job- they want to help you out and watch you succeed!

#10 DO smile and say hello. Everyone always remembers the person that smiled and said hello to them in the lobby or in the parking lot. Even if you do not work with them directly at the moment, you could be introduced to them in the future. MAYBE even apply for a position that reports to them, and that impression that have of you already will put you in a promising position. Your smile will always brighten someone’s day no matter what, even if it is just one person.

Good luck with finals and have a wonderful winter break!
Clare Dieumegard
External Relations Graduate Intern

Hofstra Career Center

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Career Readiness & Studying Abroad

This past week, I was fortunate enough to travel to Italy. It was a trip filled with joy and adventure; however, there was a fair share of stress that comes with traveling alone. Between the copious amounts of walking, gelato, and the occasional (read: every day) confusion, I was reminded of my study abroad experience in college. The summer of my Sophomore year, I was provided the opportunity to study in Salzburg, Austria. This experience solidified for me that while traveling is difficult, it is completely worth it. The mission of The Career Center at Hofstra University is to provide students with the resources to lead meaningful lives and careers. In cooperation with this mission, I urge students to take advantage of any opportunity to travel.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), studying abroad is considered one of the top 5 ways to gain experiential learning. Experiential learning is an essential component of a college education because it significantly increases a student’s career readiness. Career readiness, as defined by NACE, is the “attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition.” These competencies include critical thinking, communication skills, digital technology, collaboration, leadership, and global fluency. These capabilities can all be further developed within a study abroad experience.

Often employers will look upon an international experience with a positive attitude. This is supported by NACE’s research where “49% of the general population of recent graduates finds a job within 12 months of graduation, compared to 97% of study abroad alumni. In addition, IES Abroad conducted research on their graduates, and determined that of those who completed the program over 78% felt they increased their communication skills, self-confidence, adaptability, and cultural understanding.

I always encourage students to put their study abroad experience on their resumes because it demonstrates how they are able to work within a diverse population. In addition, it shows perseverance, and cultural acceptance. If you are unsure how to word your bullet points, think of the STAR method. STAR stands for Situation/ Task Action and Results. Think of your experience and what transferrable skills you were able to gain. For example:
  • Adapted to an unfamiliar environment and embraced cultural differences
  • Organized numerous educational opportunities for up to 10 students to increase knowledge of country’s history, including a trip to Pompeii, Athens, and Greece
  • Handled monetary transactions in numerous currencies for up to 10 students
If you have any questions or concerns about how to properly articulate your experience, please do not hesitate to visit the Career Center, where a counselor will be more than happy to assist.

~ Have a wonderful Fall Semester and Winter Break ~
Kristi Riecker
Graduate Assistant
Hofstra Career Center

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Your Relationships with Your Future Employers: How far is too far?

For many college students, entering the workforce is a new and unfamiliar experience. Consequentially, this opens the door to a new form of etiquette. From your first interaction with a company, to the way you conduct yourself once obtaining the position, maintaining a professional image can be challenging.

Recently, companies have elected to participate in college campus events as a means of connecting with new students. These employers have volunteered to hold ice cream socials, create workshops, speak in front of classes, and even assist in the move-in process. With these efforts, employers are creating a friendly rapport between themselves and the student in hopes of making the interview process a little less intimidating. Although these ideas have had some great success, there is a downside to this level of employer/student integration. Being that these activities are social, it makes it difficult to maintain a professional front.

As young professionals entering the workforce, it is important that you always maintain a certain level of professionalism, regardless of the situation. Regarding events that take place outside of the office, it is easy to become too comfortable. Although these events are created to make you feel at ease, be sure to conduct yourself in a way that would make the employer proud to have you on his/her staff.

Always be mindful of the way your language changes in different situations in order to make sure a professional tongue prevails in any setting. Although the concept of code switching does come as second nature, your ability to maintain appropriate conversation will set you apart from the rest! In terms of proper dress, many young professionals question their attire when interacting with employers in a casual setting. If you are unsure about what to wear, don’t be afraid to ask! It is always better to know than to show up in the wrong outfit. That being said, if the suggested dress is casual, be sure to maintain a certain level of appropriateness. Avoid any clothing that is too tight or see-through, as well as any graphics that could make your future employer uncomfortable.

As companies that continue to break down employer/student walls, it is easy to let proper etiquette slip through your fingers. However, with these tips, you will rule the boardroom AND the ice cream social!  

All the Best,
Sabrina Iaria
Career Center Graduate Assistant