Wednesday, May 15, 2019

First Job, Not Your Dream Job

With graduation upon us, many students will be walking across the stage and then walking right into their first full-time job. For some that will be in their dream position or in their preferred industry; however, most accounting students won’t be starting positions at KPMG and not all computer science graduates will be writing code at Google…and that’s OKAY! Keep in mind, your first job is rarely your dream job.

You are fresh out of Hofstra, full of energy and new ideas so don’t let what you perceive as an imperfect job search get you down. Always strive to move towards your dream job, but be sure to expand your search outside of what you may consider “ideal.” Maybe that means traveling a bit farther than you had hoped, or taking a lower salary than you expected. The experience you gain and the people you meet will be invaluable, no matter what your first job may look like.

In this Forbes article the author states, “the key is to develop a foundation of knowledge, wisdom, and a network of professional contacts to make a successful hop to the next lily pad”. Keep in mind there may be 3-4 lily pads in between your first job and your dream job. Be sure to seize every opportunity to meet new people, learn new things and have new experiences. From post-work happy hours to networking events in your desired industry, stay connected and stay relevant.

Congrats to all graduates! The Career Center wishes you all the best as you embark on your next chapter. Remember that you can continue to utilize our services as an alumni, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help with a job application or to practice for an upcoming interview. Cheers to the class of 2019!

Liz Sposato
Senior Associate Director of Career Development and Assessment

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What Time Is it? SUMMER TIME! (Almost)

The semester is almost over! The textbooks will soon be closed (and sold back to the bookstore), your Hofstra ID will be tucked away in a drawer, and you won't have to set your alarm clock.

So then what??

Maybe you have plans for the summer, which can include trips, a class or two, a part-time job or an internship. Whatever your plans, there are many ways that you can jump-start your career or job search during the summer, and some take very little time! See how many of these you can check-off this list by the end of the summer:

  • Update your LinkedIn profile. It’s never too early (or too late) to do this. Complete your profile by adding special school projects, skills and honors. Search for LinkedIn groups in your field of interest and join them. Connect with your professors, anyone at your part-time job and people who you see are involved in your career field.
  • Talk to people who are in your target job or career field. Where do you find these people? Ask around, you never know who will know someone.
  • Write a draft of a resume. The career center is open all summer to help you create a resume, or fine-tune one you already have. A good place to start is our Career Guide, which can be found at
  • Volunteer! Even if it’s just a few hours over the summer, volunteering in a field of interest can give you an inside-look at that career and also provide valuable networking connections.
  • Read articles and blogs about certain careers. Start to learn as much as possible about any field you are considering.

The Career Center wishes you a wonderful summer! ☀

Darlene Johnson
Director of External Relations

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Consider the Big Picture with Graphic Resumes

Spring semester is coming to an end, however job and internship interviews are still in the horizon! One trend I noticed as I was looking at the resumes coming into the office or circulating around the fairs was an increase in the number of graphic resumes, that incorporate some creative design or layout into the document. This doesn’t seem to be a trend specific to our world at Hofstra, either; I was talking with a close friend about his resume, and the updated version he sent me was a graphic one, a complete departure from the previous, more conservative layout.

So, should you take the plunge and create a graphic resume? Consider these points:

Be mindful of your industry. If you’re in a design field, using a platform like InDesign, Photoshop, Publisher, or Canva to create an eye-catching resume can show your expertise using that particular platform. In more traditional fields such as finance or law, where the chronological format and tried-and-true layouts reign supreme, a graphic resume may stand out – for the wrong reasons.

Don’t compromise your content. Resumes should always be as clear, concise, and consistent as possible – the 3 C’s we talk about here at the Career Center! Graphic resumes often end up having a nice, clean layout; take care to make sure that you aren’t sacrificing valuable accomplishments that the employer should know just to get a certain look. The last thing you want to do is under-sell your great experience!

Too much of a good thing? You may be thinking of adopting a graphic resume at some point, but not just yet. Color can help bring a fresh feel to the resume, and can make headings (or your name) pop. But, it’s definitely possible to go overboard and have it detract from the overall “first-glance” impact you’re going for. Try not to use more than one color, and always print your resume in black-and-white first before sending it out to see how the color turns out in grayscale, especially if applying online where you don’t know if or how the employer will print your resume.

Like most changes to the resume, the decision to use a graphic resume is a personal one. Think about your industry, the position and company to which you’re applying, and your own personality to determine what works best for you! And, of course, let us know how we can help.

Happy Designing!

Amy K. Smith 
Associate Director of External Relations 
The Career Center at Hofstra University 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Does Your Path Spark Joy?

Last week, Sabeen talked about how she changed her major multiple times only to end up on the path she felt was right for her. It all worked out for Sabeen and hopefully it will work out for me as well! 

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. 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! 

As Marie Kondo would say, do what sparks joy for you! 

Kari Schaefer
Graduate Marketing Assistant

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Journey to Your Passion May Never Be a Straight Path!

Not Sure What You Want Your Career To Be?

I am the quintessential model of when you want to do everything, you end helping others find their passions. Let me take a minute and explain this to you. I switched my major exactly 5 times between 2 undergraduate colleges. Hmm let me list them to you: architecture, biomedical engineering, biology, secondary education, pre-med, and finally landed on psychology with a pre-med concentration; and I’m also certain at some point I
wanted to go into corporate America.  My parents thought it was because I was indecisive, but I just wanted to do everything, and I still do!
Therefore, when I found my niche- higher education and career counseling, it spoke to me, I am able to work with students that want to do all different types of careers. In a way getting a feel for all the careers I wanted and have a hand in the various industries.
What do I want to impart on you all is that, when you love what you do, there’s something pleasant every day.

Even those days when you don’t want to get out of bed, you’ll have something to look forward to. I would even go as far as saying, it’ll make finishing your degree and going on internships fun. I’m also a nerd and decided to do my third degree in a field I love, but everyday is new and I never know what’s going to happen.
Here are some questions that we like to use in the career center that helps students think of their career path:
  1. WHAT problems do you want to solve?
  2. WHO do you want to help? Is anyone is already doing this type of work?
  3. HOW do you want to help solve the problem?
  4. WHERE do you want to help solve the problem?  (setting, location)
  5. WHEN do you want to begin to solve the problem? (after undergrad/grad school)
  6. WHY do you want to solve this particular problem? 

Sabeen Sheikh, MHC
Assistant Director
Outreach and Special Programs
Career Center | Hofstra University

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Countdown Is On!

Can you believe we’re almost halfway through April?! I feel like it was just yesterday that we were starting a brand new academic year… and now we’re just a few weeks away from graduation and summer break!

Time seems to speed up around this time of the year; when it does, it’s easy to find yourself focused on your end goal and how close it is—so easy, that we tend to forget that we should be enjoying the journey we take along the way.

So, for the remainder of this semester, I encourage you to go back to the basics and ask yourself the following:
Who’s in your corner? The people in your network are there to listen to, advocate for, and support you — they are a resource! You don’t have to (and in some cases, simply can’t!) do it alone.
What are your “sticking points”? Even the most proactive planners and do-ers among us have one thing in the back of our heads that just doesn’t get done. Challenge yourself to knock those little things out of the way, so you can focus on the big things to come.
Where do you see yourself this time next year, or in 5? Envisioning the future while reflecting on the recent past helps you make sure you’re grounded, rather than getting too caught up in what’s happening right now.
When are you taking time for you? Getting caught up in all of the things you need to do makes it easy to forget about the most important part of it -- YOU! Self-care, whether it’s taking time to step away from your screens for a walk, grabbing dinner with a friend, or just spending a few moments alone, will help keep the burnout at bay. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Why are you doing this? Revisiting your vision and the bigger picture of what your right-now tasks represent can solidify your drive and guide you through the busiest times. Finish the sentence “Imagine how I’ll feel when…” --- whatever comes after the “...” is your reason, and your motivation!
How can you get help? Think back to the first question; who’s in your corner? Is there anything you’re currently dealing with that can be made easier with their support? Are there offices on campus (*cough* like us! *cough*) who can give you advice or assistance? I know I said it before, but it’s worth repeating; you don’t have to go it alone!

Good luck -- You’ve got this!

Amy Smith
Associate Director of External Relations

Thursday, April 4, 2019

eNetworking - Expanding Your Online Network

Welcome to the second and final installment of eNetworking! In this post, we will discuss how to professionally and effectively reach out to people on LinkedIn to set up informational interviews.

Now that your digital profile, your brand, it's as sharp as a tack, it is time to start making new connections! You will foster and grow these connections through informational interviews. An informational interview is an opportunity in which a potential job seeker seeks advice on their career, the industry, and the corporate culture of a potential future workplace from a current employee
of a company. At one point or another, everyone has needed help with their career, so people are happy and willing to help those who ask for it by talking about their workplace or career path. The following steps will guide you through the process of making connections and handling these interviews.

STEP 1 - Reaching out
A. Target and research a company you are interested in and scroll through their employee list on LinkedIn. If a position or profile interests you, take a look!
B. Once you've found your employee of interest, click Connect and send InMail.
     a. Always send a message explaining why you’d like to connect and your background.

STEP 2 - Receiving a connection
A. Once the user has accepted your request, respond in a professional and timely manner asking to set up a phone call where you can learn from their experience and insights into the company.
     a. Phone calls are the most convenient way to connect with busy professionals.

STEP 3 - Nailing the informational interview
A. Always confirm your call the day before because people can forget and conflicts do come up.
B. Treat this phone call like an informal interview by following these tips.
     a. Prepare questions ahead of time
     b. Have a pen and pad to take notes
     c. Make sure your phone is charged and you will maintain cellular service
C. Communicating with professionals oftentimes strikes a balance between informal conversation and polite respect. Don’t be afraid to stray from ridged professional topics and conversational structure if you discover you both have something in common. A good rule of thumb is to mirror the demeanor of the person you’re speaking with.

STEP 4 - Follow up
A. Make sure to email them that night thanking them for their time and insight.
     a. Reference things from your conversation to show that you were listening and valued what they           said.
B. If you have already applied for a position at their company, mention it in your email. Companies have internal referral programs that often benefit employees who refer potential hires.
C. Now that this new connection is a part of your network, make sure to keep in touch! Reach out to your network every 3-4 months to keep them updated on your career, personal life, and ever-changing goals. This will help you strengthen your network so that you can support each other for years to come. By following these steps, you can develop a robust online network that will help you throughout your career! You may even have the chance to help others and support someone who is also trying to get their start.

If you have any questions about this article or need help phrasing any of your outreach; please contact Michael Goldin at

Michael Goldin
Graduate External Relations Assistant