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

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