Jeffrey Rathgeber is an NYU Stern ’92 and Wagner ’19 alum who is also currently enrolled at the NYU Glucksman Ireland House pursing an MA in Irish & Irish American Studies alongside his father. We recently spoke with Jeffrey about his experience on the Violet Network and how he helped a recent grad secure a job. Learn more below on why the Violet Network platform is a great place for meaningful connections within the NYU community.
What made you join Violet Network?
I joined in the spirit of “Pay It Forward” since NYU has been such a positive influence in my life, it’s time to make time to help our young alumni get up the hill, especially in this super-difficult job market.
What do you like most about Violet Network?
I still have a day job and a wife & kids lol, so the VN lets me set the tempo of engagement I can handle. I can post my availability to help with things like mock interviews and resume review for all to see, such as Every Other Friday from Noon to 12:30pm… which means twice a month I’ll get on a Zoom with whomever wants an experienced person to help them work on their job search skills and tools.
What was it about the recent graduate’s post that encouraged you to respond and offer help?
I saw the young person’s post and it broke my heart. She was not getting any traction after first interviews, and was ready to give up. I recalled the stress of finishing Stern undergrad in 1992 and realized THAT was a great job market, and this person was dealing with a much tougher hiring climate. So I wrote that little “call to arms” for older Violets like me, to jump in and help if they and their families were doing ok during this awful pandemic. But it was really the sense of desperation and exhaustion that got me out of my chair to help.
How were you able to help this recent grad find success in their job search?
Her resume was really very good so there wasn’t much work to do there with re-writing and making sure she was putting her best foot forward on paper, but when we scheduled our first mock interview I realized immediately what the problem was: her confidence was absolutely shot and she wasn’t getting any second interviews because she was defeated. She needed a cheerleader (me) and a drill sergeant (also me) to get her confidence up and practice practice practice her eye contact, poise, and strategies for not freezing up when you get thrown a curveball question.
How can a student stand out to gain a response in VN?
Very easy: JUST SAY WHAT YOU WANT! If you want a job as a zookeeper then say so, and ask if anybody knows anything about the zookeeping business because you want to connect with them. The power of networking is what the VN platform delivers, so get right to the point.
Why do you think students and alumni should join the platform?
The sort of mentoring that is possible on the VN platform is priceless because friends won’t tell you the hard stuff you need to hear. Plus there’s a good chance your friends are the same age and don’t have the experience to see your interview flaws or resume mistakes. Parents mean well, they want nothing more than their kids’ success, but young people don’t always take well to parental advice. But precisely because a VN mentor is not your friend, and not your parent, they are liberated to tell you exactly what you need to hear, like it or not… and their volunteer status means they have no agenda, their sole purpose is to set aside some time to help a stranger with whom they share some educational DNA. It’s the purest form of teaching, and when students join the VN and make a meaningful connection, they start to see hope where before they may have only seen defeat.
Join the Violet Network today so you can give or get advice!