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I came back to school in 2014 because I knew I was smart, talented, and worthy of that piece of paper. I came back because I wanted more opportunities. I wanted the ability to apply for a job knowing I was exactly who that company desired.

Well, I’m in the midst of a job search that’s beating me down a bit, in which I’ve incurred many rejections. For the longest time I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a living. On a certain level, I still don’t. As a Communications and Media major, there are many avenues open. I have a great deal of interest in digital fields. I love films, and TV, so working for a studio, or a network, or a production company appeals to me. There’s also something very alluring about an interactive company, one that’s advancing media, or an idea into the future.

Back to those rejections. I’m sure many of the students at SPS are here for similar reasons. Maybe you’re tired of your current job; it doesn’t pay enough, the hours are bad, you’re stuck in a position with limited upward mobility. Believe me, I feel you.

I’m finding it difficult to get past a certain stage in the interview process. I’ve had several phone interviews, made it through the assignment stage, and in some cases to in-person appointments. They’ve all ended the same:

“We’ve decided to go in a different direction.”

“We’re looking for someone with a little bit more experience.”

*Bachelor’s degree required*

After many months of applying for jobs that I knew I wasn’t qualified for (on paper), I decided to apply for jobs in which my transferable skills would pop. Sometimes that means making what you might consider a lateral move, which I’m accepting of. I’ve worked for the last year with the terrific advisors in the Career Services department on refining my resume, learning what to expect in an interview (questions, answers, how to ask questions), and was taught the importance of networking. In my case, the informational interview has been an important part of my growth not because its gotten me a job, but because down the road, those contacts may be helpful in providing a new opportunity.

****I urge everyone to give Shannon Gallo or Kelsey Richardson in Career Services a call. If you’re like me—someone who’s been at the same company for a long time, and never had a lot of experience in looking for a job before—they have a wealth of great information and advice.****

I plan on coming back to the blog with quick updates about my progress, and to share some experiences during the process. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be able to report positive progress in the way of a new job! Until then, I’ll keep sending out resumes, and writing cover letters. I said earlier, the negativity that comes with applying to jobs has beaten me down a bit, but it hasn’t defeated me. Coming back to school reinvigorated me. It’s a lot for all of us to deal with, especially taking into account the amount of hours we work on top of going to school. I’m more motivated now to succeed than at any point in my life, and I look forward to the challenges to come.

Robert is a current student here at CUNY SPS, pursuing a degree in Communication and Media. He is interested in platforms of media, especially those related to digital media; and a fan of serious film as well as this current golden age of television.

Several years ago, I took the Myers-Briggs personality test.  It was a pivotal moment in my career path, and part of the reason I’m now in higher education.  The test results give people insight on what their preferences are in how they absorb information, make decisions and how much structure they’re comfortable with.

Career Services Officers administer the Myers-Briggs (and similar tests) to help students select careers that fit their personalities.  In other words, you find your strengths, and then find the jobs that need those strengths.  The round peg finally finds the round hole.

Most people, including me, do it the other way around.  Look for a job, and then try to fit in.  One of my colleagues uses a free, online version with his students.  Reportedly, they find it quite useful.  Maybe you will too.

Regardless of the test, I’d still like to hear about how people found their niche, since there’s no “right way” to find that sweet spot.

Rhonda Harrison is currently studying at CUNY SPS to earn her post-graduate certificate in Adult Learning & Program Design. She is a social worker with a background in workforce development and currently works as an Advisor at a community college.

Greetings from the ePortfolio team at CUNY SPS! We hope your semester is going well and that you’ve had a chance to log into your Digication account to work on one or more of your ePortfolios. Speaking of which, many students have reached out to the team about maintaining multiple ePortfolios, so we’ve decided to throw a pizza mixer (aka “workshop”) in April, just before spring break brings a brief lull (and hopefully sunny warm weather!). During this hands-on workshop, students will learn how to use ePortfolio to identify and demonstrate their transferable skills and will also work with the ePortfolio team to create a central (hub) ePortfolio by using Digication’s Organize feature. We also welcome this opportunity as chance to get feedback from students on ways we can improve the overall ePorfolio program. That, plus some delicious NYC pizza and you can’t go wrong for a Wednesday evening in April! Seats are limited so register soon. For those who can’t attend, we will post all of our resources and a video overview shortly after the event (sadly, sans pizza).


Sarah Morgano & Jennifer Holland
CUNY SPS ePortfolio Team

Workshop: Transform your ePortfolio

When: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Location: CUNY SPS, 119 W. 31st Street., Room 303, New York, NY 10001

Want to make your ePortfolio showcase and career ready? Join Sarah Morgano and Jennifer Holland from the ePortfolio team, Shannon Gallo from Career Services, and Anthony Sweeney from Student Services for some pizza and for an opportunity to learn how to transform your ePortfolio in time to participate in our annual ePortfolio showcase, where featured student ePortfolios will receive an Amazon gift card.

Visit the event page to learn more and register for this workshop:

CDC Find & Apply Workshop

CUNY Big Apple Job and Internship Fair Save the Date

Career exploration for people with disabilities

The NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities has begun mentee recruitment for Disability Mentoring Day, scheduled to take place on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. Mentee’s registering for this event now will have the opportunity to participate in the screening and workshop process over the summer. DMD is nationally hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the largest cross-disability membership organization in the country. Sign up here:

Recently, while browsing the CUNY SPS Community Blog, I noticed a post by Ms. Shannon Gallo in which she posed the oft-asked question of “What did you do this summer?” Although I have heard this question countless times before, just as I am sure most of us have, it never fails to catch my attention. Therefore, as I sit down to compose my latest post, I find myself searching my memory banks for what really happened throughout the months of June and July.

First off, the year 2012 was huge for me, primarily because I turned eighteen! And, as a result am now considered—at least, age-wise—to be an adult which—in my mind—meant I should begin taking control of my life in a more adult fashion. What better way to do that than by obtaining a job and attempting to exact some amount of control over my own finances? So, having set the objective of obtaining a job as my goal for the summer, I immediately started the long process of drafting cover letters, resumes, and introductory letters to companies everywhere. Yet, having little to no work experience was definitely a black mark against me and I found myself growing discouraged as weeks passed with no return calls. As the months of May, June, and July flew by, I had almost resigned myself to the fact that “Operation Get A Job” was probably not going to be fulfilled—at least not this summer…

So when a relative brought home an application from a community advertisement, I barely glanced at it. Why should I think this company would hire me when so many  others had not, but under the gentle prodding of family and friends, I filled it out and sent in a resume. Imagine my surprise when the manager returned my call only a few short days later! And before I knew it, I was interviewing for my very first position and being asked about a start-date. Now approximately, two weeks later, I find that I am increasingly adapting to my work schedule, becoming acquainted with my coworkers, and attaining proficiency in carrying out my responsibilities.

Even better, I find that my position is building on many of the lessons I have learned as a student of City University of New York. For example, having a work schedule which I must adhere to is honing my time management skills—it is critical I prioritize so everything which must be done gets accomplished in the time allotted for that particular task. Further, because I work for and in conjunction with many diverse peoples—all of whom with their own ideas, expectations, and behavioral standards—I must use my knowledge of communication to interact successfully, tactfully, and efficiently with everyone.

As of today, the summer has officially ended for me and yet I remain excited because I am on track to graduate at the end of the Fall 2012 semester. Since I have secured employment, the next logical step(s) on the path I am following is to…prep for a Graduate Program and…buy a car!

Wish me luck as I embark on a journey to fulfill these endeavors and I wish you a Very Successful Fall Semester!

Images Used:

Ricci, I.”Summer.” Image. WordPress Blog. 2012.Web

The Central Dallas Ministries Educational Dept. “The Audacity to Learn.” Image. GoogleBlogs. 2012. Web

I remember, just before returning to school every fall, thinking for weeks and weeks how I would answer that question. Would I tell my classmates about a trip to the beach, or attending sleep-away camp, or a summer job? Since my birthday is at the end of August it was fun talking to my classmates about the cool birthday gift I received or the good time I had at my party. No matter what, I wanted to have an exciting story to tell every year! I also loved hearing about all the interesting things they’d been doing.

So, now, I ask you the question: What did YOU do on your summer vacation? Did you find a new job or internship? Maybe you got a promotion or finished a big project? As July draws to a close and you start preparing for another busy Fall semester, have you been making the most of the break and getting ahead on your job search?Vacation From Work

Even though classes start in another month, there is still time. There are a multitude of career services available to you from SPS – so take advantage now! We are committed to helping you reach academic, personal and professional goals and achieve career success. Our career programs are flexible and accessible, utilizing a mix of the latest in technology and traditional methods of advisement to meet your diverse needs. Here’s a quick overview of what is offered:

The Basics: Resumes, Cover Letters, Interviewing and Networking
Job Search: Assessment and Exploration, Career Advisement and Online Tools
Internships: Guidelines and Support
Workshops and Resources: Workshops and Webinars, Online Resource Library

Contact me today and we can get started! I can’t wait to hear about your summer vacation and tell you about mine!

Shannon Gallo is the Manager of Career Services at the CUNY School of Professional Studies and a proud new first time mommy. When she’s not helping others achieve their career dreams, she’s cheering on the West Virginia Mountaineers.

I recently attended an SPS Career Services workshop and networking seminar lead by career expert Arlene Newman. Newman is the President of Career Bound Success and has an extensive background in Human Resources across multiple industries. Newman emphasized the importance of networking in career endeavors and divulged techniques that are useful for successful networking. I will highlight the key points of the seminar and share with you some of the points I think are effective.

Before embarking on your networking journey, it is necessary to devise a clear plan by outlining your objectives, profiling your unique personality, and highlighting your strengths. It is fundamental to ask yourself these questions so you can offer a thorough presentation and give others a clear vision of who you are and what you have to offer. This is also known as an “elevator pitch”– a 30 second to 2 minute clear, concise and carefully planned description that summarizes your personal brand.

From here on, your focus should be on building rapport through the following networks:
• Friends & Family
• Work and Professional Organizations
• Classmates, Alumni Groups and Professors
• Community, Political and Religious Organizations

It is very important to have a positive and enthusiastic attitude in your communication with others. No matter what mood you are in or if you left your last job on a negative circumstance, ensure that your comments are positive. You also must be prepared–this means having a business card ready for all networking events. Your card can display “student” and your major, and if possible, list skills on the back of the card, or even an inspirational quote that is a reflection of your principles. Follow up with every individual through e-mail or a phone call. If there is no answer, always leave a voicemail.

Keep in mind that technology is not 100% reliable, so if you do not get a response the first time, it is okay to send a second e-mail.

Research your field, as well as individuals and organizations pertaining to it. This will prepare you to participate in conversations and become aware of trends and events.

Networking has become an extremely broad concept through our technological evolution, as we now have the tools to increase our networking capabilities. Companies, graduate schools and organizations, are fully aware of this and using online search tools to investigate candidates. Newman stressed the importance of maintaining a professional online presence. To prevent the possibility of a negative image, Google yourself regularly and interact in social networks with your professional image in mind.

Key words for networking:
– Be proud of who you are, your background, your skills and your traits. Use this to your advantage- it makes you unique!
– Your ideologies should remain the same anywhere you are visible
Build trust by being honest and upholding integrity with each person that you meet.
– In a competitive job market, it is vital to display what makes you different, in order to distinguish yourself from the rest.
– In order to network, you must be noticeable to the world – achieved through attending events and sustaining a public online presence.

Following these networking guidelines are a start to building long lasting relationships with individuals that can assist you in building your education and career. With every person you meet, you should treat the interaction as a potential opportunity. You should also incorporate philanthropy in networking by approaching it as a two way street- expect to receive as much as you give out.

Don’t worry if you missed this workshop, you have an opportunity to attend Ask The Expert this Wednesday 11/9 at 6pm.  This SPS Career Services program and networking event features a panel of Human Resources professionals answering all your questions about job search and careers.  There’s still time to sign up!

Nivia Martinez is a senior undergraduate student at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, majoring in Communications and Culture.  Upon graduating, she plans to continue her education by pursuing her Masters in international studies and sociocultural anthropology.  In her spare time she enjoys attending cultural events and attending sport events with her 11 year old son, Esteban.