Wednesday, December 4, 2019

From Counting Cars to Creating Keywords

As graduation quickly approached I found myself scrambling to find a job. Much too late in my time at Boston University I visited my Career Center in April of my senior year…for the first time. Graduating with a marketing degree and very little marketing experience I, with the encouragement of my career advisor, decided to apply for both full-time jobs and internships. After going on a few interviews I secured an unpaid (yikes!) marketing
internship doing search engine marketing, a topic I knew little about and that was just starting to gain traction in the online advertising world. After about six weeks at the internship, the lack of financial support it provided meant I was on the job search again. This time I visited a staffing agency and landed a temp-to-perm placement as an administrative assistant at a company that built parking structures. Outside of answering phones and processing paperwork, my first week on the job included me standing on top of a two story parking garage for three hours counting the number of cars that drove in and out of the building. Not necessarily was I was expecting, nor a position that really interested me, but I had to pay the bills.

As yet another opportunity presented itself, in the form of moving across the county to San Francisco, I, once again, found myself on the job hunt. This time I was entering a job market full of rising start-ups in the early 2000’s so my unpaid internship in search engine marketing finally paid off – in the form of a paid full-time position! My weeks as an admin at the parking structure company weren’t a total loss. I was able to put aside some money for my move and by connecting with staffing agencies once I arrived in SF I worked a few temp positions before starting my full-time job. By counting cars I learned what I didn’t want to do and was able to turn my last-minute internship into a career that lasted seven years, before shifting gears into higher education. Even though I never had an internship while I was a student, I was able to get one post-graduation and turn that into a career where I enhanced my customer service skills by working with clients and became a pro at using Microsoft Excel – two skills that have helped me in all of my subsequent positions. My moral here is that it’s never too late to get an internship, even if that means hustling doing something you don’t love until that internship helps lead you into a full-time job.

Liz Sposato
Senior Associate Director of Career Development and Assessment

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

As a recent Hofstra graduate (2017), I remember my senior year constantly feeling the stress when I hear of all of my peers going on job interviews and signing their contracts, and I had NO clue where to start. I was soon going to be holding my BBA in Marketing and had no idea what I wanted to do with it. I went on a bunch of interviews and nothing felt right. 

I ended up landing a position at a small, family-run project management firm in NYC as the Executive Assistant to the CEO. It ended up being the most amazing first job I could have dreamed of. I loved working for a small company because while my title was Executive Assistant, I was handling all of their marketing, which I was able to brag about on my resume. Eventually I got brought into the swing of project management and got promoted to assist with client projects. 

I still felt something was missing. I would work 9-5 and go home and ask myself "now what?". I tried to volunteer locally, looked for local part-time jobs, I needed to fill my extra time because that's how I am! A year after graduating I decided to apply for graduate school, do a complete u-turn in my career path, and got into the Higher Education Leadership & Policy Program here at Hofstra. 

SURPRISE! I want to work in student affairs because of what Hofstra gave me during my undergraduate years. Hofstra gave me joy and inspiration and being here doesn't feel like a 9-5 to me. The best part about being able to change your career direction is that you can learn how to apply all the various skills you've acquired and apply them in anything you do. I've taken my marketing and customer service skills and applied that to my project management position. I then took my project management skills and applied it to running events throughout campus. All my skills and my passions are brought with me no matter what I do in the end. 

So what I hope you get out of my story is that it is OKAY to change your path and it doesn't matter WHEN you decide to change your path!

Kari Schaefer
Graduate Marketing Assistant
The Career Center

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

What Strikes a Chord with You?

When I think back to my “beginning,” I think of that quintessential question that we’ve been asked since we were old enough to formulate an answer… “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Me? An astronaut! Then a baseball player. Then a chef. What I never said, though, was “I want to work in External Relations in a university’s Career Center!” That wasn’t exactly top-of-mind for a 5 year old. Nor, was it, for an 18-year-old just starting college – no, at that point in my life, I wanted to be in the music business.

When I started classes, however, I quickly found that though I loved playing music, I didn’t
necessarily love studying it. I had never thought that there could have been a difference; it was always my understanding that if you love doing something, you should love learning about it! It wasn’t until I sat down with an advisor that I started to think less about focusing my studies on my interests and more about figuring out how my interests could complement my studies. When I started to look with this new lens, I saw that I was loving my first semester Psychology class, and I had joined an a cappella singing group to keep music in my life. Fast-forward to my last semester, and I was music director of that a cappella group, and a Psychology major finishing up my capstone research project on how certain genres of music can affect a jury’s evaluation of a case – the perfect meshing of my academic and extra-curricular interests! When I started graduate school here at Hofstra, and ultimately found myself working full-time in The Career Center, I kept arranging music to keep my skills sharp, finding a side-hustle along the way.

College is absolutely a time to try new things, but it’s also a time to think about the ways in which your already established interests can serve you as you move through this important part of your life. You may stay on the same path, go in a completely different direction, or find some way to meld in the middle – what matters is that you took the time to try each path out, reflect on the experience, and decide whether that path suits you.

Amy Smith
Associate Director of External Relations

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

From College to the Real World

As the liaison to the Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, I come across so many amazing students that are doing incredible things. Their stories of where they started to where they are going inspire me every day, and this is why I wake up every morning happy to come to work. One of those students, Rebecca Lo Presti, a graduating senior this upcoming May, who is majoring in history and double minoring in drama and French, recently shared some insight on her career path. She started off as a drama major and now loves working with museums and art. She told me: “I spent the first 19 years of my life thinking that I would go into theater. I am now so far away from those goals that my past self is barely recognizable”.

Rebecca is currently interning with the Nassau Museum of Art and is a Center for Civic Engagement Fellow here at Hofstra. She considered going to graduate school right after her bachelor’s degree, because of the common misconception that if you major in the Liberal Arts you have to get a graduate degree. This is certainly not the case, you can with a liberal arts degree get a job with a bachelor’s degree. Employers seek out liberal arts students because they learn skills in their classrooms that other majors may not, like writing, in depth analysis, and more… It is more about your personal interests and where you want to go with your career, and if your current degree can get you there. Rebecca realized that she didn’t have to go straight into a graduate degree because of where she currently works and the people she has met in her internships. She reflected by saying: “… Over the summer, I interned at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut. This museum houses two of Monet’s haystacks in addition to many other pieces by world-famous artists. The Hill-Stead also hosts a poetry festival in the summer that has welcomed MacArthur Fellows and New York Times bestselling authors. Despite this prestige, my boss did not have anything beyond a bachelor’s degree. She was in charge of both marketing and communications for the Hill-Stead, and she did this all with a BA. Moreover, my current boss at the Nassau County Museum of Art only has her BA, too. Her knowledge about art and museum studies is unparalleled by anyone else that I know, and I value every minute I spend interning for her. Although I will eventually go to graduate school, my bosses at my internships demonstrated that success is not intrinsically tied to one’s level of education.”

Rebecca also reflected that you need to be sure of what you want to go to graduate for and have passion for that degree and field. For her, she knows what she loves and wants to enter the workforce to get a clearer vision of what her graduate degree will be in. She said “As of now, I would like to work with museums and art. This might change, though. I do a lot of community engagement and grassroots activism on campus. These interests could lead to different job opportunities and career paths that I am not even aware of right now. When I go to grad school, I want my degree to be a reflection of where my career is at the moment and where it will be in the future. I simply don’t know what I will do for work. But that’s okay. I am excited to start working. I am excited to see what will happen. I will get to grad school, but for now, I am more than happy to enter the real world.”

So in short, we all have a beginning, but the rest of our stories are in our hands, are we going to get an advance degree, are we going to be a impactful part of the workforce? For Rebecca, she is ok with not knowing, but her undergraduate degree in liberal arts has taught her that what ever will come her way she is prepared for.

Sabeen Sheikh
Assistant Director, Outreach and Special Programs

Rebecca Lo Presti
Senior, History Major

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

You Think THAT'S Scary??

As I was thinking back on the theme of “where it all began” I realized Halloween was just around the corner. So, I thought I’d share one of my early career horror stories – a tale of absolute terror from my first job.

To put this tale in perspective, I will never forget taking Public Speaking as a first-year student at the University of Scranton. I was terrified. I was so terrified that I would hide in the restroom on the third floor of the liberal arts building and cry before each speech. I never thought I’d make it out of that class alive. But after teaching my class how to tap dance, and convincing them to read the student newspaper, the class ended, and I’d survived – and I’d even managed to pass the course.


But then…only a few short years later, I was forced into an even scarier situation – I was in my first year working full time at the non-profit, when my boss looked at me during a staff meeting and said, “I’ll need you to present the information about this program to the Board of Directors next week.”

What? Me? My throat got dry, and my palms got sweaty, there was no way I could make it through that type of presentation without fainting. It was as if I could hear the dissonant music playing in the background…it was going to be the end of me – or at least the end of the strong reputation I’d been working on building since I’d started my job.
I tried hard to get out of it. I’d only been to one board meeting before, and it was intimidating. What could I possibly say to the media executives who were sitting around the room? I begged, I pleaded….and my boss just looked at me and said “Just get everything ready, prepare, and you’ll be fine. You know this program better than they do.”

I don’t think I slept the night before. I kept going over and over my main points in my head. I had to take an earlier train into the city that day, and kept thinking, maybe the LIRR will break down, maybe there will be signal problems?? But of course, that day all was running on time, and I got to the board meeting early. I reviewed my notes. My boss smiled at me and said, “remember what I told you.”

To be honest, I don’t remember much of what I said that day, but suddenly the meeting was over, and everyone was heading back to work. The world hadn’t ended, and I hadn’t ruined anything. In fact, some of the board members had promised to provide support for the program I was running.

Today, when I get nervous about public speaking – and I still do, sometimes – I remember the two pieces of advice my first boss had given me: 1. Always be prepared, and 2. You always know more about what you’re talking about than your audience does. Those two tips help to make presenting a little bit less scary.

Michelle Kyriakides, Ed.D.
Executive Director

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Googling My Way to a Job


Image result for googling careersLike any new Business Administration major with no idea what they want to do, I turned to Google and searched “entry level management jobs”. Somehow with the simple search I stumbled upon a rotational leadership development program. The program would give me the opportunity to rotate through different areas of an insurance company, all while slowly climbing the corporate ladder up to becoming a department director. I thought “Great! My life is set after graduation. I have a job. I have a purpose. I finally figured this adulting thing out.”  I quickly discovered that wasn’t the case…
In the leadership program I learned about the details of an insurance company, how a large call center runs, and how to effectively supervise people. I also learned that I didn’t want to one day be a director of an insurance call center.
However, all was not lost! I might not have found my life-long dream job, but I did discover some things I did like. I liked coaching people, I liked training people, and I liked learning about how to make people’s life at work better. Every company project or training opportunity that came my way I took, and I started to realize what areas of the job did interest me.  
All this time spent in my non-dream job lead me to a completely new Google search, “is there such a thing as work psychology?”. Here is where I found out about Industrial/Organizational Psychology and how it is a perfect combination of all the aspects I DID like in my current job. This is what lead me to the IO Psych Masters program at Hofstra where I get to focus on the science behind leadership, training, and work. This is an area I never would have thought about unless I spent time working in my non-dream job and learning hands-on what aspects of career I DO and DON’T like.  
So the point is, it’s okay when your first job doesn’t work out the way you thought it would.  Keep moving forward, keep learning, and keep thinking of every job (even your non-dream ones) as opportunities to explore your interests and get one step closer to finding a career you love! 

Kelsey Colberg
Graduate Assistant, The Career Center

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I'm Going to Go Get One of Those Job Things

“I’m going to go get one of those job things”- Rachel Green, Friends. 

But although we’d all like to think that it is as easy as saying that you’re going to go get a job and then one just appears for you that is exactly what you always imagined you would always be doing, that is not always the case.


Your major does not have to define your career, and it is always good to have experiential learning opportunities to decide if you really want to go into a field. Let me give you an example. As a physics and psychology major in my undergrad days, I first thought that I wanted to be a high school physics teacher. I loved my physics teacher in high school and really enjoyed the subject. Once I started doing some shadowing and field experience in high schools however, I realized that teaching was not for me. After that, I looked into some careers that I could have with a psychology (shameless plug for Onet!) and decided I wanted to work in human resources. I thought that would be so easy! I would talk to people all day, help them with problems, and get to interview some people. Sticking with that plan, I did an internship in HR my senior year of undergrad and discovered that it was not for me. Thank goodness for experiential learning helping me figure out what I did NOT want to do!


Fast forward to graduation from undergrad and going to graduate school at Hofstra for Higher Education, where more experiential learning opportunities presented arose to intern in Advising, and then be a Graduate Assistant in the Career Center. And I LOVED it! I found my passion for career advising and working in Higher Education, all because I was able to have experiences that taught me what I didn’t want to do.


Remember the importance of shadowing, interning and experiential learning in choosing a career. Knowing what you do not want to do will put you closer to what you do want to do!

Cheryl Posner
Career Advisor, Liaison to the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication