Thursday, February 23, 2017

The first step to leading is… following?

We live in a society focused on leadership. If you’ve ever been to the Career Center, I bet that at some point in your meeting with us, the topic of leadership came up in some capacity. It makes sense; outside of work experience, opportunities to take on leadership roles have been rated by employers as one of the top characteristics they look for in candidates. Sometimes, when this topic comes up, students feel somewhat unqualified because they don’t have leadership experience. While it’s true that not everyone gets the chance to be a leader, does that mean that you don’t gain valuable skills that are applicable to your life and work? Absolutely not! Followership, and the skills you develop while being a follower are, in many cases, just as or even more important than leadership.

What are some of these skills? Critical thinking allows you to make sense of what is being asked of you and prioritize how it will get done. Communication, empathy, and respect are integral to building the relationships necessary to collaborate in a team setting. Your sense of commitment provides you with the motivation to achieve, and your competence in your role lets you actually get it done.

Think about it; not every follower becomes a leader, but every leader had to be a follower first. In fact, in cases where individuals are simply placed in positions of power without following first, they tend to fail as leaders. Why is this? Many of the characteristics touted as those of great leaders are skills that are honed whilst being a follower—you can make a case for each quality I listed in the last paragraph! Additionally, the experience of simply being a follower gives great perspective once one becomes a leader; you can better understand the feelings of your team if you have been there, too. Without the foundation built by followership, the ability to properly lead suffers.

So, the next time you’re thinking about your positions of leadership as they relate to your career, I encourage you to think of your positions of followership, too. What skills have you gained along that journey? Where do they come in handy for your career and your life?
Of course, if you’d like to talk it through with us, we’re always here to help.

In followership, Amy

 Amy Smith, Associate Director of External Relations

Thursday, February 16, 2017

LOVE what you DO

Let’s face it, life is short.  Each day that goes by we will never get back so we must make the most of the time that is given to us.  That is why choosing a career is so important!  If we are going to do something for the immediate future, it should be something we enjoy doing.

Money, unfortunately, does play a role in our decision making because we need money to survive and prosper.  Whether money is something you value also plays a role in what type of career you choose.  If you love money, you may settle for a position you do not care for because the money you receive will compensate for your overall unhappiness of the position.  If money is something you do not value, and you would rather spend your time doing something you love, you may decide on a career that fits your interests and values more accurately but may not have a large financial compensation.

The relationship between money and love of job is not so direct as the one I just illustrated for you.  I once had a friend who loved to draw and paint.  Most would think that a career in art would not offer a very high salary.  However, this man was in love with drawing and painting and wanted to make a career of it.  He ended up starting his own stamp business where he designed special stamps and made a ton of profit.  He had a passion for something as well as the innovation to find where his skillset could be used to make the most money in this society.  He chose stamps and never looked back.

Find what you love.  Do some soul searching.  Find out who you are and what makes you happy and pursue it.

DO what you LOVE.

Scott Davidson, Career Center Graduate Assistant 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New Year, New…. Major?

Welcome back to campus everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful break filled with Netflix and long overdue sleep. For this post, I have been thinking about the new year and what that means for different people. While some feel relief that the stress of holidays is over, others are dreading the return of classes and busy work schedules. Regardless of your feelings towards the new year, remember it is a source of renewal and desire for change. In other words, this is the perfect time to start something new. And what could be more new than switching your major? It can be scary to feel as if you are starting over, but the career center is here to help!

Here are 5 tips to switching your major:

1. Do your research!
If you want to switch majors, you need to learn as much as possible about the program. This means researching online and talking to people. Find other students in that major and they will give you honest answers about what’s it is like to be in their classes. Look up what people with that major typically do as professionals. Furthermore, find out the average salary of the field. If it is not something you will be happy with, then you need to think carefully before switching. In addition, see what certifications or licenses you may need. Is graduate school an option you want to consider? Most importantly, look at why you want to switch and evaluate your new major.

2. Talk to your academic advisor.
Your advisor is an essential resource to use. They can determine if any of your classes count towards your new major, or if you will need to spend extra semesters here. If you want additional advice, a career counselor will be happy to sit down with you, too! They can be especially helpful in suggesting career goals if you are struggling.

3. Consider adding an additional minor.
There is no denying that the more advanced you are in school, the harder it will be for you to switch. I suggest that keeping your major and adding a minor may be the best route for you. This can be ideal because it shows you to be well rounded to employers, and ultimately make you a more competitive candidate.

4. Fill out the proper forms.
If you have decided that switching your major is the right move for you, there are a couple of steps to complete. Hofstra requires that you submit a Change of Education form to the Office of Academic Records and Registrar. This is easily downloaded by googling “change major at Hofstra.” The office is located at 206 Memorial Hall on South Campus. To switch, the chair of your new department needs to sign the form. By doing so, they can make sure you are aware of the requirements of the new program. You do not need to get a signature from the department you are leaving. However, if you are making the switch this semester, be aware of deadlines! Friday, February 24th is the last day you can register or add new classes.

5. Remember your major does not define your career!
One of the hardest realizations of college is understanding that your major does not define your life. Students often stress that by choosing their major, they have sentenced themselves to a lifetime in a certain area. This could not be further from the truth! What employers care about are your life experiences, i.e. clubs, teams, organizations, and internships. Anything can give you experience and make you a valuable employee.

~Wishing you all the best of luck this semester~

Kristi Riecker 
Career Fellow 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What did you keep putting off during fall semester?

After the holidays and celebrations, you still have a few weeks before spring semester kicks off.  If you traveled to your hometown or simply drove down the road as usual, take the time to reflect on your time off and identify a couple of things you would like to accomplish.  

What did you keep putting off during fall semester?  What might you be able to accomplish now?  Connect with old friends, visit distant family, volunteer locally, or even take advantage of university resources.  

Believe it or not, most student services offices remain open during winter break, including The Career Center.  Did your family or friends ask about your post-graduation plans?  Did you think about perhaps securing a spring or summer internship?  Did you want to update your resume and meet with your career counselor?  

If so, feel free to schedule either an in-person or phone appointment by calling us at 516-463-6060 or using The Career Hub’s online scheduler.  Use the down time to prepare for spring semester and beyond!  Enjoy and see you soon.  

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The best way to spread good cheer, is to sing loud, and Volunteer

With the holidays upon us and the new year approaching it’s a great time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve learned, and what’s next. As we run around trying to wrap up end of the year responsibilities and secure some much needed rest and relaxation, I invite you to consider the idea of becoming involved in some volunteer activities in your community, for a local or national organization, or in your career/industry of choice.

What a great experience you will have to talk about at your next internship or job interview. What a cool subject you can discuss with your friends and family, and fellow students and professors. And future employers.

It's always a good idea to give back, to help out, to donate your time in exchange for some experience, knowledge and new contacts. Plus, it looks really good on a resume. And volunteers you meet may have a friend of a friend who is in need of someone with your skills, or have knowledge of internship or job opportunities. Perhaps a position at the organization at which you are volunteering may become available in the future (especially once they get to know how cool and indispensable you are). 

Here are just a few of the places you can find volunteer opportunities:

-       Hofstra University’s Center for Civic Engagement

So ask yourself, how will you contribute? How will you help? How will you give back?

Happy Holidays, happy volunteering and here’s to a very pleasant 2017,

Michele Roberts
Assistant Director at The Career Center

Hofstra University