Thursday, March 14, 2019

eNetworking - Effectively Building your Online Profile

Upwards of 70% of all open positions are filled through networking. If you are on the job hunt, tapping into your network of friends, family members, classmates, professors, and coworkers can be the shortest route to employment.  But what do you do when you’ve exhausted all of your resources, or when you don’t know anyone at that dream company?

Technology has revolutionized the way we approach the job hunt, from finding companies, too submitting applications.  It has also changed the way candidates can differentiate themselves and network.  Utilizing platforms like LinkedIn and Handshake can empower people looking for employment by allowing them to build a unique brand and connect with employees that can help them get their foot in the door.  In this two-part post, we’ll help you craft a meaningful digital brand and instruct you on how to professionally connect with new people on LinkedIn.

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell” - Seth Godin, Best Selling Author and Blogger

Sculpting your digital brand is as essential to e-networking as your handshake is to starting off an interview right.  Your online profiles, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, all curate a story about yourself.  This story informs your candidacy and influences how employers perceive you. Your story, your brand is meant to sell you. You are the product that your portfolio is trying to sell. When you tell employers this story, make sure it is unique to you. This will help you stand out as a candidate and allow other users to understand who you are, which will make them more inclined to talk to you.

Joining different communities online will allow you to naturally expand your network and develop a well-rounded profile.  Whether it is college alumni associations, sports team fan groups, or industry-specific organizations, becoming a part of groups that interest you will help you meet people online who may be able to share information about your desired industry and build a habit of engagement online.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Regular, meaningful engagement on your platforms is also an important aspect of building your online profile. This will allow you to spark conversation and engagement, which will help you connect with your network. Your posts can be questions to spark a conversation, relevant articles, and career updates. Whatever content you post, realize that it reflects on the type of candidate you are and the type of contacts you will reach.

Your online brand is like a hyper-relevant resume, it tells your story and must be updated as often as possible. Although this can be exhausting, it will make you stand out from other candidates.  Next time we will discuss how to professionally expand your network with meaningful and relevant connections.

Michael Goldin
External Relations Graduate Assistant

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What is a Career Fair?

What is a Career Fair and Why Should I Go?

Good question, and we know some of you are thinking it. While the words “career fair” are thrown around in our office with great frequency, we realize that students may not truly know what a career fair is. So, consider this Career Fair 101 regarding our Spring Career and Internship Fair, happening on Wednesday March 13th from 11-2 in the Mack Arena.

A career fair is a gathering of companies that are looking to hire students for full-time, part-time or internship positions. If a company is at the fair, chances are they are actively looking to fill these roles, although they may have varying timelines. For example, some hiring needs may be immediate, while some may be for the following academic year or summer. So, no matter when you graduate, chances are you will find employers who fit your time table.

Not looking for any position at the moment? Coming to a career fair is still a great idea so that you can walk around and know what to expect when you are ready to search for an internship or job. Walking into a room of over 130 employers can be intimidating, so doing a practice run is a great idea!

Here are some frequently asked questions about our career fairs:

What should I wear?
Wear your professional best! Come in business attire. If you are not sure what that means, we can help!

Is the fair only for business majors?
NOPE! Employers attending the fair will be representing a wide variety of industries, including engineering, education, health care, not-for-profit, and may others!

What employers are coming?
You can find the list on Handshake. Review this list prior to the fair, and identify your top preferences. Research those companies so that you know who they are and what they do. Don’t just look at the company name, but review the jobs that they are seeking to fill. If you are a marketing major, don’t necessarily skip over a non-profit organization, as the organization may be looking for interns to market their services to the community.

Should I bring resumes?
Yes, and plenty of them. It’s a good idea to have your resume looked over by The Career Center prior to the fair. Students can get a quick resume review during our Quick Question drop in hours, which are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 and Wednesdays from 11-1, no appointment necessary!

Should I bring cover letters?
Nope, not necessary.

Should I follow-up with employers?
Yes, take a business card from the representatives and make notes on the back with anything relevant that they told you. Send them a thank-you email for taking their time to attend the fair, and attach your resume, even though you may have given them a hard copy at the fair. Don’t be disheartened if you do not receive a reply. Recruiters attend many fairs and meet many students, but taking the time to follow-up with them shows your interest.

Have any more questions? We are here to help! Give us a call at 516-463-6060 or email us at See you at the fair!

Darlene Johnson
Director of External Relations

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Digital Portfolios Help Students Build Credibility

Today’s hiring managers are looking for evidence of ability, passion, skills and knowledge.  It’s not enough to say you know how to do things – you need to prove it!   It’s important that students can demonstrate their skills in a way that’s meaningful and authentic to employers and optimize their academic experiences to obtain meaningful internships and jobs.

Digital portfolios provide a visual, tangible and compelling approach to showcasing work samples and achievements. They are a great way for any student to market themselves professionally and show what they know in a way that goes beyond a two-dimensional resume or transcript.   For example, while a traditional resume allows a film student to describe a film they directed and produced, a digital portfolio gives the student an opportunity to share the actual film /clip.

This presentation of concrete capabilities often increases interest and confidence in a candidate resulting in students getting more interviews and having more successful hiring outcomes.  In addition, more employers are requiring that ‘work samples” be submitted with job applications and a random collection of links and attachments just doesn’t cut in today’s sophisticated digital media environment.  

If you’re in a creative industry, you may already know that a portfolio is an effective way to prove your street cred.  But digital portfolios aren’t just for students in creative fields. Virtually all students with any major can use a digital portfolio to showcase their skills and talents as well.   No matter what your major is, digital portfolios should focus on accomplishments, applied practice and demonstration of skills. 
Here are some content ideas that all students can include in their digital portfolio:

  • Case studies, research reports, project overviews, and presentation that you participated in as a team member or worked on yourself. This is a great way to show your strategic and creative thinking skills, and how you conceptualized and executed a project.
  • An expanded bio that allows you to go into more detail about yourself than on the LinkedIn or resume (make sure it’s professional and relevant).
  • A statement about your personal brand – this might be part of your bio, or perhaps an additional overview of what’s really important to you as a professional, where your talents lie, or how your personal values have influenced your goals and career choices
  • A web-based version of your resume that you can link to.
  • A flattering photo of yourself
  • Links to all of your relevant social media profiles or other platforms. A portfolio site serves as a great central landing page where all of your networks come together under a cohesive brand.
  • Your contact information – which is surprisingly hard for recruiters to access on LinkedIn (not an advantage for job seekers who WANT to be found).

Choose a Platform:
Thanks to the growing popularity of content management systems like WordPress, Wix, and Weebly, you don’t need to know anything about web design or programming to create a digital portfolio or simple website. There are many free options (upgrades to the basic services usually require a fee but are not necessary). You just need a strategy around why you’re creating the site, who your target audience is, and the overall message that you want it to convey.   Even LinkedIn can be used as a platform by enhancing your basic profile with more advance portfolio display features: add links and upload files.

And regardless of the platform you’re using, or the strategy behind it, remember that portfolios are all about the work – the focus should be on showcasing quality content and relevant information, versus spending time on a flashy design or complicated functionality. And if you don’t know what to include, start with a couple of your best pieces/projects that show a range of your capabilities and build it from there.

Some basic tips to keep in mind:   Select your strongest samples. Think of this as a showcase that presents the best of your best work, whether from your courses, employment, volunteering, freelance, etc.  Add detailed caption information. Include a brief description of each item; explaining either why you selected it and how it is important to you and your career or main goal and challenges of the assignment.  Any positive results? Did your work help increase sales or boost online traffic? Did the project win any awards or was it presented at an industry conference?
And on a personal note, I wanted to share that I am leaving Hofstra, relocating to be closer to family and friends.  It has been a pleasure working with Hofstra students and I encourage you to seek out help and guidance from the fantastic professionals at the Career Center.

Best Wishes,

Lisa Kornberg, MBA

Career Advisor
The Career Center