Thursday, May 17, 2018

Searching for a Job, Finding Myself

For many of you, the door is closing on your semester, your college career, or your time on Long Island. In my case, all of the above are true; but, my adventure is just beginning. As a graduate student finishing up on my time here at Hofstra, I began my job search back in December. Being a student in a Liberal Arts program, I was fully aware that I was not going to be able to go into LinkedIn or Indeed and type in my major and jobs just appear (No lie - I did that and it said “no results”). Instead, I had to figure out which skills I wanted to carry with me into my career and find the best path for myself. However, this experience has been a roller coaster ride full of trial and error.

Back in February, I was selected to go through the interview process to be a Crime Analyst with a law enforcement agency. Since beginning at Hofstra, this is what I said I wanted to do and it seemed to be too good to be true when I got the email inviting me to come down to Virginia to participate in interviews.  Unfortunately, this was much easier said than done, but by way of planes, trains, and automobiles I worked my way down there to take a skills test and participate in a panel interview. I almost let my nerves get the best of me, but through talking to counselors at the Career Center, I felt confident in my preparation for both components of the process. After completing the interview, I walked out feeling a tremendous sense of relief. I felt the odds were against me (as they were interviewing 25 people for 2 spots) but was so proud that I made myself go through the experience and learn more about what the interview process for such a role looks like. 


Fast forward three weeks later and I received a call being offered one of the two spots, pending background investigation. I was over the moon and felt so accomplished in what I did. This was my dream! However, this job search did not end in a fairytale ending. The further along I got in the hiring process, the more quickly I realized this career with this organization was not an ideal fit for me. It was an agonizing realization after I had spent so much time, energy, and money to get to this point. Being able to take a step back and assess the situation for what it is and how it would help or hurt me in the long run was invaluable to my own personal growth. After consulting with my friends and family, I made the call to turn down the offer. I felt guilt about turning down an offer others in my program would have loved to have, panicked about if something else would come along, but also relief that I had made a decision for myself. I channeled the positive energy that I had and the life skills I had obtained from my Hofstra experience to propel me forward in my future endeavors.

And just like cosmic bliss, the next week I had two phone screens for two very different roles. One I have continued on with in the interview process and one that I have not heard back from at all. Being open and flexible to different opportunities is so important when beginning the job hunt, but at the same time, realizing what is important to you in a future employer should not be swept under the rug. When speaking to your interviewers, think about if you can see yourself working for or alongside this person every day. One aspect that was important to me was being around people who are creative or support creativity. Speaking with interviewers who I could get a sense by the questions I asked that this was not important or even a piece of what they do, made the decision to remove myself from the hiring process that much easier.

Think about it in terms of pursuing a new relationship. Whether it is a friend or romantic interest, it is important that you see eye to eye on some things and have similar values. We have all had that toxic friend who makes us the worst version of ourselves because we have a hard time distinguishing what makes that person good for our lives. So prioritize what is most important to you in an employer just as you would when deciding to let someone into your social circle. You want to be surrounded by people who appreciate who you are just as much as you appreciate them! And the best way to figure this out? Ask lots of questions! Discover what is valuable to you and the company and inquire about it. Even if it is an organization that you have not interviewed with for a position, if you believe it to be a place where you could see yourself working, cold connect on LinkedIn and inquire about what the culture of that organization is like.

So whether you are throwing a cap off into the air or throwing the last of your packed up boxes into the car, remember that you have a say in your future happiness. Do not settle for something you think is going to make you miserable, rise up and work tirelessly and confidently to make your dreams become a reality.  
Happy Graduation Day!    

Maggie Tardif
Graduate Marketing Assistant, Hofstra Career Center
Hofstra MALFL - Class of 2018

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Developing Your Circle of Influence – The Value of Varying Viewpoints

When you’ve spent most of your career giving people advice about their careers, folks often assume that you’ve got it all together yourself – and that you always have. But the truth is - through the years my career has taken several twists and turns, and there have been many times when I’ve felt lost, confused, and needed some help navigating decisions and challenging situations.  It’s normal to need to seek out help – so whether you call the people you connect with at these times your mentors, your tribe, your board of directors, or my personal favorite, your circle of influence, it’s important to seek out different perspectives. As a communications major in college, I originally wanted to have a career as a broadcast journalist.  So as a sophomore, I interned at a local station near my campus and had the opportunity to experience working on an assignment desk, covering local stories with reporters, and writing scripts for the evening news anchors.  It was a dream come true – but it also gave me a reality check about what life would really be like in this field.  

Twenty years later, I can pinpoint the exact conversation with a reporter that made me second guess my commitment to this field, and this lifestyle.  She made me think that this field was not what I had imagined for myself and did not align with my personal values.  I was angry, devastated and confused at the time.  I really felt that she had tried to discourage me from following my dream.  But that tough conversation really forced me to look at what was important to me, and what I wanted from my work and personal life.  At the time, I would not have considered that reporter to be a mentor – and she wasn’t in the traditional sense of the word.  But she certainly had a major influence on my career trajectory, and she asked the tough questions.  When I saw her on the news in the NYC market several years later, I smiled to myself knowing that she impacted my life in a truly positive way by forcing me to look at things from a different angle as she challenged my motivations.

Through additional career transitions, I’ve learned the value of seeking advice and insight from those who know me both personally and professionally, and balancing all of those viewpoints against each other to help guide my choices.  Your personal contacts may not necessarily know your field, but they know you and your values and your personality.  Current and former colleagues may be able to highlight strengths that you may not be able to see yourself, or as people who are knowledgeable about your field, they may be able to shed light on situations that you may not be able to see.
So, whether you are at the stage where you are choosing a major, interning, or starting your career after graduation, I urge you to be thoughtful about engaging multiple mentors, seeking out challenging conversations, and reflecting on the various viewpoints as your circle of influence guides you through your path.

Michelle Kyriakides
Executive Director, Hofstra Career Center

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Gradventures of Applying for Masters Degree Programs

Hi! My name is Maggie Addiego and I’m a senior Psychology major and Sociology/Music minor. I’ve been at Hofstra all four years of my college career and now it’s finally time to graduate! As a psychology student, I learned that there aren’t many job opportunities available in the psychology field that you can apply to with just a Bachelors.

I am the type of person that likes to have everything planned out ­— spontaneity isn’t necessarily my forte. This was the case when it came to determining how I wanted to proceed with my future career. I met with numerous psychology professors, a family friend who was a clinical therapist for over 30 years, and I even spoke to the director of Hofstra’s Mental Health Counseling program when I was a sophomore. I contemplated how I wanted to go about being a clinical therapist until I thought I had finally figured out my path: I was going to graduate, get my Masters in Mental Health Counseling, and get my PsyD as a Clinical Psychotherapist!

Working at the Career Center, I was surrounded by opinions from professionals on what possibilities I should be considering for my future. I (proudly) mentioned what the plan was to one of the counselors…to which she responded with an “what?!” facial expression. “Why would you spend 4 extra years of your life and $60,000 extra on something you can get for 2 years and less money?” she said. “Get your Masters and you’re good.” For what I wanted to do, I could get my Masters in Mental Health Counseling and have almost the same opportunities as I would with my PsyD; I’d be able to have my own practice and work with clients one-on-one. Knowing my path was just the first step, figuring out where I wanted to make my goals a reality was the next part of my plan.

Going through the process of picking out a graduate school is very similar to the process you went through picking out Hofstra as the place to spend your undergraduate career. The only difference is you have a better idea of what you want to be looking for when it comes to programs. So, I searched up the best MHC programs in the Long Island and New York City area, sent my application over, and waited. I applied to Hofstra, St. John’s University, and SUNY Baruch, heard back from them relatively quickly, and went in for interviews. On the spot, I had Hofstra and St. John’s tell me I was accepted into their program, but Baruch still hasn’t gotten back to me (my interview was March 26th). Hofstra had given me a deadline as to when I would be able to accept their offer, so I was quickly approaching the end of the tunnel.

As every college student knows, finances can be an issue. For me, this was no exception. Colleges and universities are extremely expensive, and graduate school programs are even more so. My family had gone through a traumatic event that left us with a little less money than expected. Keeping this in mind, I had to juggle between the financial aspect of this already-difficult decision and finding the best program for me and my future. With time (and a lot of playing with numbers and sending in Graduate Assistantship Applications), I finally made the decision.

I decided that for the next 2.5 years, I will be spending more time here at Hofstra getting my Masters in Mental Health Counseling! Coming to this conclusion was super exciting (and anxiety-relieving) and made me even more ready to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree. It was not easy and nobody expected it to be, but knowing that I will be coming out with a degree that I want and that can benefit society is something that I very much look forward to!

So if you are looking to apply to graduate school, I honestly recommend going with your gut. Take a look at your financial situations, figure out what is realistic for you, and realize that selecting a graduate school is instinctual. Do your research on the schools you are interested in and make sure their program is accredited and has a good reputation. Once that’s all settled, apply and wait. If you plan ahead and organize effectively, you will get your acceptance letters and then it’s all up to you! Good luck with all your future endeavors, graduate school or otherwise!

Maggie Addiego
Student Assistant, Hofstra Career Center

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Land a Job During Your Last Semester of College

Graduation caps will be thrown into the air in less than a month and you’ll be stepping into the working world. Maybe you’ve heard friends talking about how they’ve secured jobs and are wondering what you can do to step up your job search efforts. Don’t panic! It’s not too late to land a job before graduation. Check out some tips to land your job:

- Network Stay in touch with people from your internships. These people know your work ethic, skills and accomplishments, and are good resources to open positions at the company as well as in the field. If you’re currently in an internship, exchange contact information with your supervisor and colleagues, and express your interest in securing a job. If your internship was during a previous semester, send that supervisor an email or call to let them know how much you enjoyed the internship, what you’ve learned, and how you hope to move forward with finding a job in the field. It’s ok to ask for help!

- Use LinkedInLinkedIn is the go-to social networking site for business professionals. For anyone looking for a job, having an updated profile is key to getting yourself connected. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a more elaborate version of your resume.

Start by telling your story in the Summary section. What type of skills do you have and why do those skills matter? How are those skills going to make a difference to the future people and company you work with? This is the first thing people read, so take time to put effort into telling your story and how it relates to your desired career path. 

Post a professional-looking profile picture. Dress as you would for a job interview and ask a friend to take a head-shot photo against a neutral background. No selfies! 

Fill out your profile completely with all internship, volunteer and job (summer, part-time, full-time, seasonal) experience. Include affiliations, campus involvement (clubs, activities, leadership roles), conferences attended, certificates and languages. 

Create a meaningful headline. Your headline does not need to be a job title. Instead, take the opportunity to tell the world a how you see your role and why you enjoy what you do. 

- Use the Career Center’s services – Hofstra’s Career Center is here to help! Make an appointment by calling 516-463-6060 or schedule online via The Career Hub, or come during Quick Questions (M-F 10am-11am, 2pm-4pm). The Career Center can help prepare you to tell your story on a job search (including interviewing, resume, cover letters, applications, and more).

Check out Handshake for more than 11,000 job postings and events such as informational sessions with employers, on-campus recruitment tabling and networking events.  Don’t give up—keep moving forward towards your dream job and know the Career Center is here to help.
Good luck!
Jennifer Fragleasso, External Relations Coordinator

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Graduation is Around the Corner: Now What?

Recently, I was introduced to a student who was now entering a new phase in her life. She is about to graduate from college and is currently doing research on what she should do following graduation. Should she go to graduate school and attain a graduate assistantship? What university should she attend? Should she take a gap year and do post-bach work to enter medical school? Should she apply for a full-time job and take a break from school? The questions may seem endless, and that is okay!

I distinctly remember my journey of graduating college and experiencing what seemed like the highest anxiety of my life. The anxiety came to a point where I was no longer able to make a clear decision, but going back and forth between one option to the next. Much to my parents’ chagrin, I walked across that stage, gathered my diploma, and was still unsure on where I should go from there. The summer seemed daunting with no prospects, but I decided to hold off on my decision for a little bit longer.

Now here is the part where I tell you the secret to how I finally made a decision, and knew it was the right one for me. Unfortunately, there is no secret or magic tip. In reality, deciding a career path is hard! It seems uncertain, and how will you know you made the right decision? Well the truth is, you need to do some research. It is okay to realize you do not want a career in your major! There are plenty of ways to market yourself correctly for the path you want, and the Career Center is here for it! I would say what really helped me was reaching out to people and asking a million questions. Informational interviews are the best way to find out the ins and outs of any opportunity.

The key to your path is understanding your values. For example, if you value diversity and inclusion, make sure to ask the organization what policies they have about that. If you value flexible time or a casual work attire, then look for companies in which this is an option. And know that it is okay to feel as if you made the wrong decision. Take a deep breath, decide where you want to go next, and take the necessary steps to make the change happen.

And in case you are still feeling suspense as to what I ended up deciding on, I decided to work the summer at a bank. I then decided that Fall to obtain my Master of Education in School Counseling from Hofstra and take a position as a Career Fellow. I have since then switched from School Counseling to the Mental Health Counseling program, and am now a current Graduate Assistant for the Career Development team. Not everything turns out the way we anticipated but that is what makes life exciting!

Kristi Riecker
Graduate Assistant, Career Development Team