Industry Spotlight: Higher Education

Afternoon in the University

“I want to work in student affairs,” said no freshman ever. As students begin their college journey, they are often asked: “What are you majoring in?” or “What do you want to do?”  While working in higher education is not a likely response, student affairs departments across the country are fully staffed with energetic, student-centered staffs, many of whom started their college journey with aspirations of being a doctor, financial advisor, or engineer. What happened? Where did a career in higher education, specifically student affairs, enter the picture?

Depending on who you ask you will get a different answer. Many had a memorable or impactful experience as an undergrad, while others had the opposite and want the opportunity to change that experience for future students. Regardless of the trigger or motivation, working in higher education rocks! Don’t believe me? Here are five awesome things about a (non-academic) career in higher education:

  1. Lifelong Learning

What better way to constantly learn new things than being surrounded by highly-trained educators! Regardless of the size or stature of the institution, working in higher education provides employees with countless opportunities to gain new knowledge or skills, engage in stimulating discussions, and participate in seminars, workshops, and events. Not to mention the ability to formally enroll in classes (more about that in #5).

  1. Work with ‘Independent’ Students

You may be wondering about the ‘air’ quotes around ‘independent’ so let me clear that up. College students, unlike K-12 students, come to college by choice (no truant officers here!) and will face many choices for the first time; choices they need to make on their own (parents aren’t around to set a curfew or demand study time at the library). Freedom! Independence! These terms may excite some students and terrify others. Working in student affairs provides the opportunity to help students navigate these choices, identify and strengthen their support systems, and challenge students to question the world around them. How cool is that! You’ll get to work with students at a pivotal point in their young adult life.

college advisor.jpg

  1. Any major will do

My focus has been on a career in student affairs; however, there are SO many different areas to work in at a college/university. Just because many institutions are non-profit does not mean they are not run like a business. Colleges have accounting departments, public relations, custodial services, and basically any other position or department you’d find at a large corporation.

  1. Job Mobility (if you want it)

While you may not see an accountant move into a position as a residence hall director, the opportunity to move into related positions is often available. Additionally, getting an advanced degree can aid in that mobility; or perhaps you want to relocate because you have always wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest (or sunny Florida). Take your higher education experience with you as you transition to another institution.

  1. Benefits, Benefits, Benefits

When you visited your career center during college I am sure they told you that there is more to a job that the salary. So true! The benefits packages at a college/university can be comprehensive and often include tuition remission (for you and family members), matching retirement contributions, a healthy amount of time off (three+ weeks, loads of holiday-related time off, and summer Fridays), and health insurance costs that won’t break the bank.

I Keep Getting Rejected!

Looking for a job can be a full-time job in and of itself.  You spend a great deal of time on the search process, applying, and interviewing.

Glassdoor produced a guide that looked at 50 HR and Recruiting Stats that detailed what drives job seekers and employers during the application and offer process, and how difficult it can be to find that perfect match.

10-secrets-to-recruiting-the-brightest-grads-millennials-14-638

According to their research, there is about a 2% chance one will get a call to interview for a corporate job opening.

It’s hard enough to get an interview sometimes, let alone an offer.  What do you do if you keep coming up short and are unable to land interviews or get offers for your dream job?

Get Feedback

It’s important to learn from each interview and experience.  In some cases, you may already know what the problem was if you had a bad interview, if you were nervous, or if you stumbled on a few questions.

feedback-1291746__480

If you don’t know what the issue is, you can follow-up and ask the interviewer for feedback.  The feedback (positive and negative) can be helpful in your preparation for the next opportunity.  The interviewer may be able to provide feedback on your answers to their questions, if you have the right experience for the positions you’re applying for, or if you lack some form of technical skills.  Whatever the reason is, if you know what the issue is, there is an opportunity to adjust and prepare for the next interview.

Keep Calm & Network

The job market is often a numbers game when it comes to applying and getting interviews.  You may have years of experience along with a great education, but the phone isn’t ringing.  Most employers and recruiters are reviewing dozens of resumes on a daily basis.

hiring-1977803__340

 

In order to separate yourself from the pack, take advantage of opportunities to put yourself face–to-face with people in the industry.   Attend industry networking functions where you can meet prospective employers or professionals who can put you in contact with hiring managers.

Uncubed holds career events that emphasize building a community for people to learn, interact, and exchange ideas.

Networking doesn’t end once you leave an event.  It continues with the sharing of ideas and information with other job seekers, fellow classmates, and other professionals you may meet.  By expanding your network, you can increase your job opportunities.

Improve Your Skills

Technical skills can be a deciding factor when it comes to the job search process.  Some employers may not have the time or resources to train new hires on different programming languages or software that is necessary for them to do their job.

Whether you have experience with different applications and software or just want to improve your proficiency, it would be beneficial to take a class as you’re waiting for that interview or job offer.

The Muse compiled an extensive list of free classes to help boost your skills ranging from SEO training to getting a quick review of Google Docs.  This list of free online classes can be found here.

Take a Break!

You’ve applied to jobs every day.  You’ve gone on several interviews.  You’ve earned the right to take a break and recharge.  It can get pretty stagnant as you go through your daily routine of searching jobs on LinkedIn and other job boards, applying, and hearing nothing back in return.

200

Relax a bit and go see that movie that just came out or catch up with a friend over lunch.  Check out the free activities in your city and go to a museum or get out and exercise.

Whatever it is, once you take a few days off and recharge, you will feel better about continuing with the job search process.

Stay positive, move on, and keep trying.  The right opportunity is not far away.

 

 

 

 

 

Student Perspectives: Journey Since First Year by Hinali Shah

Student Perspectives provides an inside look to the career exploration and job search process from the student’s point of view.  This feature is written entirely by students who want to share their experiences to other students and industry professionals and provide feedback on our services and how we can assist them in their career planning.  

 

Journey Since First Year

IMG_2211

Architecture was an unfamiliar territory, even when I started architecture school.

Always having an interest in the arts, and having the ability to draw and paint, my parents suggested I consider the field of architecture as a possible career option. Being clueless about the real world, I took an architecture class during my senior year of high school, and I liked it. It didn’t teach me about the fundamentals,just how to use one of the popular programs. I liked designing my dream house as the final project, which made me decide to go for this career path.

My first semester at New York Institute of Technology was extremely difficult. I was thrown into a design class from day one, and realized that I didn’t truly have a basis of what architecture was. The knowledge I had from my high school class was not enough. I struggled that first semester, and during the winter break of 2014, I pushed myself to the extreme to understand and better my designing and model-making skills. I have continued to push myself for the past 4 years I have been in this school, which has helped me to love this field that I once found impossible. I’ve encountered some amazing mentors and have made steps to overcome my shy personality to ask for help and resources when needed.

When I started working as a student ambassador at Career Services in 2015, I met a lot of staff who encouraged me to participate in different activities on and off campus, which helped me develop leadership skills. Since I have been working there, I have helped organize many firm visits, curated an art show, and headed a voter registration contest. This responsibility also lead me to get more confident in the classroom. I was able to ask questions when I didn’t understand something and to take pride in my own work, which is a must in architecture. This past semester, I got an internship at a celebrated architecture magazine and during the spring break, I was able to travel to the Dominican Republic with 11 other students and help build a home for a woman in need. This happened because I made myself aware of what NYIT had to offer, whether it be academic, extracurricular, or experiential opportunities, and I was able to take action and participate.

For new students who are reading this, my advice to you is to join a club or get an on-campus job in your first year of school. It will help you get more connections and aid you in your transition from a high school to a college atmosphere. Also identify the areas in which you struggle, because there are tons of resources like peer tutoring, counselors in career services, volunteer organizations like the Community Service Center, financial aid office, etc., which can help you to break through your barriers or be there for you when needed.

 

 

Hinali Shah is a senior majoring in Bachelor of Architecture at New York Institute of Technology. She was born in India, but moved to the United States at the age of 13. Her passions include learning about cultural architecture, travelling, writing, and fashion styling. So far her favorite city apart from New York is Barcelona. 

Developing Your Career Plan

Finding employment in any industry at any time can be a daunting task.  In order to find a rewarding career that you are passionate about, you should devise a plan to help you map it out.

career-1015600__480

What is your career goal? 

The first and most important question that you must ask yourself, what do you want to do?  Whether it’s becoming an engineer, architect, a doctor, or a teacher, find something that inspires you.  Your family and friends may have their own opinions on the type of career you should have, but at the end of the day, you should choose a career that feels right for you.

Not sure about which career path to take? Think about the skills and interests you possess.  Are you good with numbers?  Do you have an interest in art?   If you have trouble figuring out your skills, try doing a self-assessment to evaluate your interests.

If you’re debating between a few different career options, opportunity is something to consider.  Choosing a career that has job growth could be a major factor in your decision.  You can research data collected on the job market and trends by The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

What type of training do you need for your career goal? 

Once you figure out what your career goal is, you will need to figure out the type of training you need to get there.  Can your current major provide you with the background and education necessary for this career?  Do you need additional schooling such as a graduate degree or technical training?  What type of internships or on-site training can you obtain that will prepare you for this career?

Develop your career plan

At NYIT, we help our students start thinking about what they will do after graduation during their first year.  Our Career Services office can help explore professional development resources and answer many of the questions listed in this post.  We created a career plan that guides you toward setting short-term goals while working toward your ideal career.

 

6 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Work / Life Balance

6 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Balancing the demands of your career can be a difficult task.  The best thing to do is prioritize and maintain a realistic mindset.  Here are 6 ways to maintaining a healthy work/life balance.

  1. Turn Off Your Phone

You’re constantly checking your phone for texts, emails from work, and looking at social media updates.  You reply, forward emails, comment on your friend’s Facebook page.  At some point, one swipe of the phone to check your inbox can turn into 20 minutes of browsing through Twitter and Instagram.

telephone-586268__340

One way to maintain balance is to unplug from this technology.  Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, it’ll give you some time to recharge and focus.  If you can do it for 10 minutes, try it for 20 minutes.

That text, email, or social media post can wait.

  1. Exercise

Some people find it difficult to fit exercising into their schedule (or they find an excuse not to).  However, the overwhelming evidence on the health benefits of exercise makes it an essential activity to fit into your schedule.  Here are some ways you can get out and get moving if you’re searching for ideas:

  • Join a gym. Some companies have gyms onsite or have arrangements with local gyms at a discount.  Check with your human resources department for these opportunities.
  • Join a league. This is great for anyone looking to recapture some of their team sports days or if you just want to try a new sport.  You can join with some friends or coworkers or make new friends as a free agent.  Organizations like Zogsports offer a social sports community that is popular amongst working professionals.
  • Take a class. If you’re not into the gym or joining a league, you can always take a class like yoga, boxing, or CrossFit, where you can focus on a specific type of fitness and health that is right for you.
  • Go for a run. Still arguably the most popular and easiest way to get your exercise because…
    • It doesn’t take a long. Running for about 20 minutes is usually a good daily exercise.
    • You don’t need a lot of equipment besides your running shoes.
    • You don’t need a team or other people, although it can be nice to run with friends.
    • You can do it anywhere. Run on a track, near your house, or run to and from work.
  1. Avoid Junk Food at Work

Eating healthy takes a lot of discipline and effort as you try to figure out what to eat, getting a combination of protein and vegetables, and developing good habits during meal times.

In some cases, it may be easier to just avoid junk food.  When your day is full of meetings and you need to finish that report by 5pm, it may be a challenge to eat something that isn’t fast food or a bag of chips.

Here are a few alternatives to your junk food options at work:

787e8cc3ec383ce94dd72afd2b6c9c22

People sometimes misconstrue eating healthy to not eating at all.  You don’t have to stop eating: you can still snack and it’s often encouraged to eat smaller, lighter meals.  Cutting out junk food will lead you to feeling healthier and having more energy for the workday.

  1. Make Time for Family and Friends

Make sure you’re spending time with family and friends when you’re not at work.  We often forget about loved ones as we get caught up our professional lives.  Hang out with friends after work or on the weekend or give your parents a call to see how they’re doing.  Being able to balance your work and personal life involves bringing people into it as well.

  1. Talk to Your Coworkers

You’re with your coworkers for 40+ hours a week.  Days and weeks can feel long when the office culture and environment is cold and impersonal.  Spend some time finding out more about them.  You don’t have to be nosey or imposing, but exchanging pleasantries, asking if they had a good weekend, or the occasional lunch outing can go a long way in maintaining a positive work environment.

office-space-milton

  1. Create a Schedule

As you’re reading this post, one thought that probably came to your mind is, “I don’t have time for any of this.”  Creating a schedule provides the structure that is needed to balance your work and personal life.

For example, you can fit exercise in before work, during lunch, or right when you get off.  It may take a little sacrificing such as waking up early, eating your lunch at your desk, or skipping social plans after work, but it can be done.

Keeping a calendar or blocking off time for meetings at work can also be done in your personal life too.  Create a monthly schedule of events for you and your family to make sure you’re spending time or doing activities together.  Add a monthly poker game or book club meeting with friends.  After a while, the events or activities become a staple within your lifestyle that’s just as important (if not more) as any work event or meeting

 

Maintaining a healthy work/life balance can lead to a more fulfilling lifestyle and can help you to be more productive at work and be happier overall.  At the end of the day, it’s important to remember to take the time and focus on yourself and your well-being.

 

 

3 Takeaways from LinkedIn’s Article on Most Coveted Skills

 

One of the questions I often get from job seekers is, “What are employers looking for?”

Maya Pope-Chappell at LinkedIn interviewed human resources leaders at 25 of the 50 LinkedIn Top Companies in the U.S. on the top skills that they look for when hiring.  These skills range from web programming to social media marketing to data mining.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAopAAAAJDViMDhhMGQ4LWUyZjktNDcxYy1hYzA2LTY1MDYxNmU0MmIxNw

While this information is good to know and having these skills on your resume is important; to bigger point within this article is that getting hired and being successful take more than having these skills.

  1. Create the Future

When I look at the skills that are in demand in the chart above, I think of all of the job seekers I have met that know Web programming, C/C++, and Java Development.  However, what companies want goes beyond the ability to code and program or have some other type of technical skill.  They want their employees to have the ability to think outside the box.

Apple’s iOS was not created by engineers who went to school to study iOS.  They were engineers who used their skills to create and innovate.

I’m not saying that you have to create the next Facebook in order to excel in your career, but having the ability to apply think creatively while utilizing your skills to enhance your field is the type of person that all companies want on their team.

Verizon’s chief talent and diversity officer, Magda Yrizarry, says,

“You hire people who have in the past been able to bend the curve on technology.  They may not have bent the curve on 5G (Technology that Verizon is pushing into) for example, but they were there to create earlier iterations of technologies like IoT or cybersecurity.  So you have a confidence that they are not beholden to the past, that they can create the future.”

My advice to job seekers who are looking to create that future: you learn and grow by doing.

If you are still in school, you need to find a way to get experience.  Work with your faculty on academic projects that will challenge you and allow you to take risks and grow.  Gain valuable experience through internships and volunteer work and apply what you have learned.

  1. Know the industry

Keeping up with industry trends and news is one of the challenges that universities have in educating students.  Ardine Williams of Amazon Web Services states, “It’s very difficult for a professor to build a curriculum or course that addresses the needs of tech in real time.”   

In order to excel in your field, you should be aware of the needs and demands.  Then you will be able to think, research, and find out where your skillset fits within a company and the types of industry problems you can solve.

  1. The right combination

Having the right combination of hard and soft skills is something all employers covet.  Are you able to use data in order to research and implement a business strategy?  Can you be part of a team but also lead and manage one with a vision and plan in place?

Comcast Cable EVP of HR Bill Strahan says, “What’s most in demand and the hardest to get is the combination.  It’s getting, for example, someone who is highly technical, but then has that and the leadership skills or to have that and the business strategy skills.” 

Not everything comes from a book and a lot is discovered through trial and error, but your professional growth is dependent upon refining both your hard and soft skills

For job seekers, it is essential to find the right opportunity to progress through work and experience.  Through that experience, you will be able to use your hard skills and soft skills to tackle any problem or dilemma.

What to Expect At Your First Job

So you’ve graduated from college…congratulations!  Now what?

You’ve updated your resume, gone on several interviews, attended multiple networking events and workshops hosted by Career Services, and you’ve accepted an offer at a great company to start your first job.

So what should you expect?  This is a new and exciting chapter in your life, but one that is different from your first day on campus or starting an internship.

road-sign-798176__340

At NYIT, we’re committed to educating the next generation of leaders and we would like to share some anecdotes and offer insight on what you should expect at your first job.

  1. Remember to have the right mindset and be humble.

You won’t start at the top and you’ll most likely be asked to do a lot of grunt work. Just remember that those who approach every task, big or small, with a good attitude and who treat everyone (and I mean everyone) with respect and fairness are the ones who climb a lot faster.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take notes.

paper-966142__340

If I had any sage advice to offer, it would be to ask plenty of questions and take notes on the answers. For example, ask what the usual office protocol is and once you start your daily duties, ask questions again about things you are unsure of rather than fear looking dumb. Asking questions rather than assuming things always creates for more efficient results.

When assigned a new task, write it down on a post-it and keep it in front of you. Trust me. It will save your life.

*Tip – Use Asana, a free project management tool, to get organized and manage workflow.

  1. If you are still interviewing, don’t forget to do your research.

My first job was in marketing and I learned, early on, the power of negotiation. I wish I had the strength and courage to negotiate for a better salary, but I didn’t say a word. I just took what they offered (which was low) and an extra few thousand dollars would have went a long way, especially considering I worked part-time for several months to make ends meet. My advice: negotiate! Do your research to know your worth and be confident to ask for it.

*Tip – Use Payscale to research salary profile databases

 accounting-343067__340

  1. Salary is important, but not as important as your passion.

Don’t place too much emphasis on the money.  A few hundred or thousand dollars in salary in the grand scheme of things (especially after taxes) is important, but not as important as finding a job and career that you are passionate about. 

  1. Most people don’t stay at their first job forever. You may use it as a stepping-stone, or if necessary, re-evaluate your profession.

My initial thought at my first job was that I was going to be there forever.  As it turns out, this job was the perfect stepping stone! Through this experience, I learned that your first job doesn’t have to dictate your entire career if you don’t want it to.  Sometimes accepting jobs as a “resume builder” will equip you with the skills you need to reach your ultimate goal. Don’t shy away from an opportunity just because it’s not your dream job; rather, make the most of your experience, soak up as much knowledge as you can, and leverage your skills to create the career you want.

If you find yourself questioning your chosen career path and needing to re-assess yourself, it is important to not only consider what you like to do, but why you like to do it.

*Note –According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average job tenure for workers age 20-24 (most often, new graduates) has historically been around 1.3 years

Average-job-tenure-300x215

  1. Be patient and continue to learn and grow.

Enjoy the job, enjoy being a professional.  Be patient and embrace the learning process, especially if you find a good job at a  company with a good culture and atmosphere.

 Learning starts right away.  It does not stop just because you have graduated from college.  There is a lot still to be learned in your career and it takes time to develop and apply what you have learned as a student into your daily life. 

 

Do you have any anecdotes or insight to share about your first job?