The College of the Arts maintains a dedicated Career Services Center, headed by Victoria Nauta who started in the position this past Fall.
Prior to coming to Montclair State, Victoria spent the past 20 years working in career services, most recently as Associate Director of the Career Development Center at William Paterson University. She has extensive experience in employer relations, building internship programs, developing strong partnerships with faculty and administrators and providing comprehensive career assistance.
Victoria holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Arts in Higher Education, both from Seton Hall University. She is excited to bring her knowledge and passion for the arts to the College and is looking forward to guiding students along the path to a successful career.
Victoria was recently interviewed on Montclair State’s own News Lab! See what she had to say:
Q & A with Victoria Nauta
Q. What attracted you most about coming to Montclair State University to head up career services for the arts?
A. Becoming a director for career services was always the next logical step in my career and I knew that I wanted to stay in public higher education. I also love working with creative and passionate individuals who are not afraid of the career challenges ahead of them. Outside of my professional life, I have always been surrounded by the arts. I was a dancer since the age of seven; I enjoyed painting although I wasn’t very good at it; and in college I had the opportunity to write for the school newspaper and intern at a public relations firm. My daughter, who is 19 now, followed in my footsteps but was a much better dancer and artist than I ever was. She also has the most beautiful soprano voice, so our family was always surrounded by music. The director role in the College of the Arts provided me the opportunity to merge my professional and personal life. It was the perfect combination of everything I loved: public higher education, helping students discover their path in life and the arts.
Q. What are your goals for the career services office?
A. Meeting the needs of our students and making sure they are fully prepared for life after graduation is always my top priority. My goal is to make sure every student that walks through my door gets the assistance he or she needs and is satisfied with the career preparation provided by this office. Every student is different. Their needs will vary. I want to ensure that every student walks away a bit more comfortable with the job search process.
I also want to make sure that each student has access to a variety of internship and full-time opportunities in their chosen field of study. For that reason, I will focus on developing new employer relationships while maintaining and nurturing the strong partnerships the College of the Arts already has. I plan to assess the needs of our students and see where more work can be done. Our faculty have an incredible pulse on the arts and communication industries and they know our students best. I intend to communicate frequently with faculty so together, we can provide as many opportunities to our students as possible.
Most importantly, my goal is to listen to our students. Meet them where they’re at. I don’t want any student to look back after graduation and wish they would have gotten more from their career services center. Dancers, artists, designers, performers – these career paths can be difficult. I want to help students navigate the auditions; create their portfolios; display their pieces of art. I don’t want them to walk away without having a better understanding of how to secure professional work. I will collaborate with industry professionals to bring workshops to campus so students can learn about the challenges they will face but more importantly, how to overcome them and land that first job. I will provide them with opportunities to grow their network and connect with alumni and professionals. I will give them every advantage they need to succeed.
Q. What do students look for when they come to the office and what can they expect to find?
A. Guidance and reassurance. Finding an internship or full-time position is often scary for a student, especially when it’s the first time seeking a professional job. I am here to make that experience less stressful through a variety of resources and one-on-one counseling. Most students want help with their resume. I like to sit down with each student individually and go over every section. It’s important for me to ask questions and see how we can better tailor the resume. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach because each student is different, each job is different. I like to take the time to talk about a student’s experiences and discuss how to best represent that to an employer. I want our students to be the best representation of themselves and Montclair State when they apply to positions. The resume is the first piece in their marketing toolkit, so I want to make sure it truly markets a students’ skills and achievements.
I also spend a lot of time teaching students how to conduct their internship or job search. It’s not about handing out a list of websites for me. It’s sitting down and taking the time to review Hire a Red Hawk (our online job posting site) and other job search engines. It’s reviewing a student’s LinkedIn page and demonstrating how to best utilize that site to make connections. It’s finding out what a student’s career goals are and how I can best help them get there. I provide the resources they need to succeed and encourage them to put the hard work in. A job search can sometimes be like a full-time job and it’s important for students to know I am here to support them throughout the process.
Q. What career development advice would you give to a new freshman or soon to be graduating student with an eye towards a career in the arts?
A. My advice is the same for all students – the career development process starts the first day you arrive at Montclair. I realize it’s probably not what you’re thinking about when you first get to college. You’re adjusting to a new chapter in life and finding a job is not very high on your list of priorities right now. But it should be! Begin building your connections early on because these are the people that will help you later when you’re looking for work. Get involved in activities and organizations here on campus. Take on a leadership position. Go to performances, volunteer your time in the field you’re interested in and get yourself practical experience. An internship (or two or three!) will be key to making you stand out amongst other candidates. It’ll also help you determine what you like and don’t like. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Go to that audition you don’t think you can get. Talk to the gallery owner where you’d love to display your work. Apply to that news station because you one day want to be on camera. Work hard to be prepared because a career in the arts can be challenging. The path is not always straight and you many find yourself picking up several freelance jobs until you can find the right full-time position. But it will happen. You will succeed. Stay motivated and do not wait until graduation to come see me.
Your career is determined by just one person: YOU.
You can achieve whatever you want if you put the time and effort into it. My office is here to help you along that journey. Don’t be afraid to stop by and say hello.
The Office of College of the Arts’ Career Services is located in Morehead Hall, room 221. Victoria and her staff can be reached at 973-655-7495 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.