Beach Hillel invited Nicolas Lippa, a business engagement specialist for the City of Long Beach, to share his top-three tips for future professionals on Feb. 12.
A small crowd of Long Beach State students attended the professional workshop, where Lippa stressed for students who will soon enter the job market to create customized resumes for every prospective job, practice interviewing and to negotiate for better benefits.
Lippa, who is a volunteer board member for the organization for Jewish students, has taught professional workshops for over five years and uses his experience as a former job recruiter to spot the dos and don’ts that students need to know.
“I’ll tell you what doesn’t work,” Lippa said, referring to what he heard at a career fair. “Tell me about your company and why I should be interested.”
Attendees asked Lippa questions throughout the workshop, concerned about whether they should have a LinkedIn or if it was unprofessional to ask a prospective employer not to contact their current one. Lippa recommended students to always retool their resumes, which to him, is a living, breathing document.
“Why would I need to look at my resume?” Ally Levine, director of Jewish student life for Beach Hillel, asked herself.
Levine, who has held a job for over two years, said that she did not feel the need to do so until Lippa’s suggestion.
As Lippa advised students how to conduct themselves during phone or Skype interviews, fourth-year philosophy major Ethan Prager laughed at how he prepared for a recent interview.
“I gave my dogs peanut butter before my interview with Hillel so they wouldn’t bark,” Prager said.
Beyond the professional advice, Lippa took a moment to address the importance of being happy at a job and to value oneself by negotiating for a higher salary or better benefits.
“I come from the camp of, ‘It doesn’t hurt to try,’” Lippa said.
This resonated with David Rowe, president of Beach Hillel and a third-year communication studies major.
“I wasn’t good at separating my desperate feeling,” Rowe said as he recalled a time when he quickly accepted a job offer, surprising his employer who had not yet told him his pay or benefits.
Rowe hoped that students, especially younger ones, can keep Lippa’s message in mind.
“A lot of us are afraid to think of ourselves as professionals. This is the time we need to start honing in on the skills that make us stand out from the crowd.”