Alumni Advice

Cindy L. Chernow '78, MA '91

Career Consultant at Chernow Consulting; CSUN Alumni Association Board President 17-19 

"The best advice I can give any student regardless of where they are in school or their career is to learn how to network. It's not always who you know but who knows you. Look for connections every time you meet someone new. CSUN can be that connection. When you meet someone, even if they didn't go to CSUN, they are sure to know someone who did and that can spark a conversation. Make a stranger your friend. Remember that relationships take a while to develop; you never know where a simple connection can lead. We network every day without realizing it to find the best books to read, movies to see, or places to eat. Now just apply it to the world of work. Remember that 80% of all jobs come through networking. It starts with a simple hello and makes each of our lives richer. Enjoy!"

 Tanya Bustamante '12 

Sr. Director of Human Resources at ConsumerTrack, Inc.

"Organization and Communication skills are key to your success in any career. Organization- preparing your agenda for the following day will help you get ahead of the expected and unexpected meetings and interruptions. Also, look at your agenda at the beginning of each day. Carve out time to study, practice for a presentation, or to prepare a meeting agenda for your 1:1 with your manager. Do this by blocking time on your calendar and sticking to doing that task at that time. Communicate, communicate, and over communicate! Listen before you speak and try to understand what someone is telling you by practicing the tell-back method. Start your conversation by saying "What I hear you saying is...". Find out what matters most to the people you're working with. You'll get to the solution faster. Learn to ask questions and leave your ego at the door when you’re starting a new job. It’s impossible to know how the organization functions on day 1, so ask questions, learn how they do things and why they do them that way before you introduce your point of view and/or thoughts on how things should be done. Be a sponge and immerse yourself in the company culture. But first, look for a company where you are excited to be a part of their culture."

 Karina Moreno '12 

Development and Communications Associate at Big Brothers Big Sisters

Fellow Matadors,
Two important things I have found that have helped in my career is networking and volunteering. As you may know, networking is a big part of your professional career. One great way to build your network is by volunteering. You give back, learn about yourself through different avenues and at the same time meet other professionals or like-minded people. VolunteerMatch is a great tool to search for volunteer opportunities! I have made connections and built strong professional relationships by networking through volunteering. It helps the community, but also helps you in becoming a well-rounded professional.

 Mark Green '83 

Global Vice President, Finance at KARL STORZ Indoskope

Advice to Fellow Matadors:

  • Respect: Everyone deserves respect, including yourself.
  • Comfort: Challenge yourself in new areas, new learnings. Be willing to fail and strive to excel.
  • Possibilities: Be open to possibilities.
  • Mirror: Carry around a virtual mirror wherever you go. If you are experiencing any issues/challenges, start looking there for root causes and solutions. Start with you, then your department, then division, then company, etc.
  • Accountable: Be accountable. Set high standards for yourself and others and strive to achieve them.
  • Pygmalion effect: You and those around you are capable of more than you can currently imagine.
  • Tenacity: Go for it, don’t give up!
  • Help: Be helpful and be willing to ask for help.