Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What do Employers Want? You'd be Surprised

Can there be anything cooler than working at Google?  Probably not--especially if your dream job is to help shape our digital future.

So how can you get a job at Google?  What does the company look for in prospective employees?  According to a recent New York Times' interview with Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of Google's people operations (that's actually his job title), the answer might surprise you.

While good college grades, according to Bock, are always a plus, they're not the only thing Google looks for when hiring employees.  Bock says that one of the most important skills workers can bring to a Google job is the ability to think clearly and critically and "to pull together disparate pieces of information."

Other key skills: leadership, ownership, commitment, and intellectual humility.  "It's feeling the sense of responsibility, the sense of ownership, to step in" to try to solve problems, Bock explains. 

At the same time, employees must also be able to realize that others' ideas may sometimes be better.  

"Without humility, you are unable to learn,"  Bock says.

What can you take away from Google's hiring criteria?  First, being a good thinker and problem solver matters.  But also very important are curiosity, leadership, collaboration, and an openness to learning from others.  

All are skills you can learn (or improve) in and out of the classroom at NCC.  Even if your career plans don't include Google or anything else digital, there's some useful advice here worth filing away.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Banquet of Ideas

Are we finally through with snow for the winter of 2014?  Hope so.  What with cancellations, early closings, late starts, slick roads, ice, slush, and the rest of it, moving this semester forward has been tough.

But now comes a different challenge for students: staying upbeat (and on track) in the face of days that are still not exactly springlike.  Unless April elbows March out of the way quickly, we're still looking at a month or more of gray days.

This is one of those times when it helps to be hungry.  I'm not talking Chipotle hungry, but about a different kind of hunger: an appetite for knowledge and inspiration.  With eleven weeks of school remaining, there's a banquet of interesting and engaging ideas awaiting you.  Stay open to whatever's on the "menu" in your classes and you're likely to find more than a few items to nourish you. You may even develop a taste for something you never imagined yourself consuming.

I've always thought of college as an opportunity--for all involved--to sit down to dinner (and conversation) with civilization's best minds.  It's a year-round invitation, of course, but one that sounds especially appealing when the world outside seems dreary and uninviting.  Like now.

So when classes get rolling again next week, show up hungry to learn.  There'll be lots to sample and think about--a gourmet meal for the mind, there for those willing to dig in.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Time to Join Something

So you got to the Activities Fair last Tuesday and found a club that looks like a definite possibility. 

But you're still not really sure whether you should go to that upcoming club meeting you've been invited to. You're busy, your classes seem like a lot of work, the weather is crummy, you're kind of shy around new people--maybe it would be easier (you tell yourself) to just kick back and sit this semester out.

Don't listen to that "No" voice!

Why join a club at NCC? 

Let's count the reasons.

Involvement in clubs gives you a chance to

  • learn important skills (like how to run a meeting, organize an event, and work with others);

  • learn about a subject that interests you (the stock market, the environment, the recording industry, etc.);

  • explore a career (accounting, marketing, food service, interior design, etc.) that may lead somewhere good;

  • right the world's wrongs (plenty of work to do here!);

  • celebrate your culture, religion, or ethnicity;

  • put something thoughtful on your next college or scholarship application; or

  • do something fun.

Convinced?  But wait--there's more. 

By far the best reason of all to join something at NCC is the chance to be part of a COMMUNITY--in other words, to meet and get to know people who share a common interest or goal.  COMMUNITY is important everywhere, of course, but at a big commuter school like Nassau, it's vital. 

COMMUNITY gives a human face to college and makes the experience more social and friendly.  It makes good times better and bad times bearable.  It reminds us that we need other people, that others need us, and that being around people is a good thing all around.

So be good to yourself: Put those doubts aside and get to that club meeting. 

There's never been a better time than now to join--to be part of the Nassau COMMUNITY. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Let's Talk Money

Unless you've just hit the lottery and become an overnight millionaire, you absolutely HAVE to read this. It's important . . .

Each February Nassau invites applications for more than 100 scholarships, all to be awarded to currently enrolled NCC students (in other words, folks like you).

The scholarships are as varied as the people who apply for them.  Some are for students who will be graduating from NCC this May.  Others are for students who still have a semester or two (or more) to go before finishing their degrees.

Some scholarships are for full-time students; others are for students who attend Nassau part-time.

Some scholarships are open to the student body at large; others require students to have been active in campus life (e.g. participated in a club or played a sport); to be enrolled in a specific curriculum; to be planning a career in a particular field; or to be doing something else that distinguishes them.

Do you have to be a straight A student to be in the running for a scholarship?  No.  Good grades never hurt, of course, but there are many scholarships for students with respectable gpa's, though not perfect ones. 

If you're thinking that you could never win a scholarship, time to chuck that notion.  Applying for a scholarship doesn't guarantee you're going to receive one, but not applying definitely puts you out of the running.  No one at NCC (or anywhere else) gives money to people who can't get around to completing an application.  It doesn't take all that long, but you still have to do it.

Here's how to get started.  First, go to for some general info about scholarships, including how to set up an account and begin completing the application.  To see what scholarships are available, click the link titled "The College-Wide Scholarship System."  This will take you to a list of awards, including their criteria and dollar amounts. 

From there it's a matter of completing and filing the application, which can be done online, anytime before the February 26 deadline.

If you have questions or would like some help in completing applications, you can go to one of the Scholarship Information Workshops scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 4 (11:30 a.m., Cluster B, Rm. 218) and Tuesday, Feb. 11 (5:30 p.m., Cluster B, Rm. 218). Someone will answer your questions and walk you through the process.

Also, if you're a part-time student at NCC, check out what's available through  Click the "For Members" and "Scholarships" links and you'll get a list of awards plus a downloadable application.

Winning a scholarship won't get you onto Forbes Magazine's list of the world's billionaires, but it will certainly ease the cost of tuition and textbooks (and who can quarrel with that?).  It will also serve as a reminder that effort and achievement count and that taking your education seriously pays off in more ways than one.