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.


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.


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:


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.


  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.


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.


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.


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


  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


  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?


To hire more college grads, do we have to fire Career Services?

To hire more college grads, do we have to fire Career Services?

I recently learned that my students have a much better chance at getting a job upon graduation (yay!)…and that my job may be obsolete (huh?!). Earlier this month, I attended a lecture at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City with Dr. Phil Gardner, Director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University, who spoke about his research on 2015-16 recruitment trends. There were several positive trends he highlighted, including:

  • Hiring is up for graduates of four year degrees in computer science/IT and business
  • Hiring is also up for Master degree candidates in accounting or health professions
  • Paid internships are being offered at a record high of 71% of employers
  • 79% of employers who do offer internship programs will hire

Pretty encouraging for a higher ed professional like me who helps oversee our institution’s internship program, right? Well… Dr. Gardner pointed out that career services departments do not make the hiring process efficient for employers (the crowd of career professionals went silent). Though recruiters continue to rely on college career fairs to identify their talent pool, the process is expensive, time intensive, and doesn’t always yield a high ROI. In an economy that rewards replacing the traditional (i.e. taxis) with the new and “improved” (i.e. Uber) – employers are eager to find ways to recruit new hires that are the right organizational fit, without having to duplicate efforts at multiple universities. One such method that Dr. Gardner demonstrated briefly was Knack (, a series of games developed by Stanford and MIT masterminds that can assess potential candidates’ organizational fit – at a very low cost to employers. Brilliant for employers and college grads (the games test innate qualities, thereby potentially evening the playing field for non-Ivy Leaguers) but not so much for us career services folk.

Where I did see the ultimate silver lining is that employers are looking for students with experience (hello, internships!), multicultural perspective/experience (i.e. alternative spring break and study abroad programs, or local opportunities researching or working with diverse cultures), and professionalism. These opportunities and skill sets can’t be automated – and that’s where career services professionals come back into the picture:

  • Career Fair models can be updated, reorganized or deconstructed to better fit the needs of employers
  • Professional etiquette can be taught online to meet students where they are
  • Internships can be coordinated so students are learning and growing, while employers identify and shape their talent pipeline

My takeaway from Dr. Gardner’s research is that our field isn’t irrelevant, but it is evolving. It’s important for us to be knowledgeable about what’s ahead but also recognize our value in higher ed and in society – we prepare students not only for the world of work, but to learn how to advocate for themselves, continue learning and growing in their chosen fields, and achieve financial independence and professional satisfaction. All of which makes me believe that our future is pretty bright.

How to Ace a Job Interview as an International Student

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In this competitive job market, it is critical to be highly prepared and practice before every job interview. You will only get one shot to stand out. As an international students, you are competing against domestic students who may have the same skills and education. Here are 5 ways you can stand out, and ace every job interview.

  • No dead fish handshakes. Talk about a bad first impression. Every recruiter wants to hire a candidate who is confident in his/her work, skills and self. When you walk into that interview room, put on your biggest smile and give your interviewer a firm handshake with the right amount of strength. No need to break bones. Also, sit straight as it sends a message of intelligence and confidence. Tell yourself you own that room, you are the best at what you do and they need you. You need to believe it.
  • Articulate: As an international student you may be self conscious about your accent and constantly second guess your worth in this competitive job search race. You’ve probably told yourself several times “I have an accent, they will never hire me”. Fun fact, did you know that the CEOs of companies like Mcdonald’s, Microsoft, Kellog’s, Altria and many others were foreign born? Yes that’s right; many so called “aliens” hold high leadership positions in this country. What matters are your skills, experience and ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Keep in mind that everyone has an accent, whether you are from New York, Mumbai or Hong Kong. Your eloquence will make recruiters look past it. Don’t try to speak too fast. When answering questions, speak slowly but surely and articulate every word you say. And that’s something you can practice during your free time. You can take some free spoken English lessons online to practice your language skills.
  • Understand the benefits of diversity: Many companies pride themselves on diversity initiatives. As an international student, you are bringing with you a different worldview, creative ideas and methods of solving problems. You are unique and think differently. You have the ability to adapt to changes and new environments. On top of that, you can help the company tap into a new market or better understand a current market or demographic you represent. In this global economy, the diversity of the staff will help companies enter new markets and understand global challenges. When asked the question “why should we hire you?”, don’t miss out on this opportunity to sell yourself and address how your foreign background and experience will benefit the company, its clients and stakeholders.
  • Your skills are transferable: Create parallels between your previous work experience abroad and the job description. The environment, practices and technology might be different, but the objectives and expectations in the workplace are very similar around the world. Talk about the skills you used and developed while living and working abroad and how you can apply them to the current role. Whether you are an expert in Ingenieria Eléctrica (Spanish), génie électrique (French) or Engenharia elétrica (Portuguese) you know how to design electrical systems by developing and testing components.
  • Become an immigration expert. Many employers are unfamiliar with immigration laws or have misconceptions about the timelines and cost of hiring international students. It’s your responsibility to learn everything about CPT, OPT, H1B, work permits, costs and procedures and be ready to educate your hiring manager. By mastering the processes, you will help eliminate the fear associated with hiring you. Also, the research you’ve done and your ability to clearly educate the hiring manager on a complex topic like immigration will also reaffirm your ability to solve problems and communicate effectively at work.


Bonne chance!

What a Traditional Thanksgiving Means to Me

What a Traditional Thanksgiving Means to Me

Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends to give thanks for one another and celebrate the bounty of the season. That bounty usually includes a lot of food, a lot of football and a tryptophan-induced nap, which sometimes is in preparation for black Friday or, now, even Thanksgiving night shopping. Since moving to Long Island five years ago I spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, which means my former tradition of catching an after dinner movie with my dad is no longer; however, since taking up residence in East Northport I started another tradition with an activity I enjoy almost as often (and as much) as going to the movies: running a 5k. Getting up early on Thanksgiving morning, lacing up my sneakers and bundling up in accordance to the weather is easier than you’d think, especially since I use the run to justify that second piece of pumpkin pie and fourth glass of wine. Running 3.1 miles hardly compensates for those calories, but on Thanksgiving it is okay to use these deceptive measures, and pants with an elastic waist, to lift the fork up for another (and another…and another) bite. The great thing about traditions is that they can start anytime. The key is sticking with them, even when it is easier to throw in the towel. Every year I am invited to run another local turkey trot or am tempted to stay in bed and lazily start the day, but I don’t give in. Traditions are also best when shared. Last year my husband, a former turkey trot spectator, donned his first race rib and ran/walked alongside me. Even if he never decides to join me again, I do not run alone. As I jog through Nissequogue River State Park I smile knowing I am sharing my tradition with my fellow runners and that together we give thanks for our health and celebrate the fallen leaves that surround us.