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Alumni of the Month

Alumna of the Month: November 2008

Doris Appelbaum '57

Doris Appelbaum

What is your edge (strength)?
I am a member of Mensa, so I guess I am smart. I have always written well and, in recent years, I have become a popular public speaker and radio show host.

What at Hofstra gave you your edge?
The faculty was awesome. I majored in English and Journalism, and I was Feature Editor and Managing Editor of the Chronicle. All of those experiences enabled me to hone and grow my native skills and talents. My being President of the Inter-sorority Council taught me management.

In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
You have to be kidding! I've never said anything in one word! My years at Hofstra were "wonderful."

What was your major?
I started as a Theater Major and was told during my Freshman Year that I had no talent. I switched to Journalism, planning to become a reporter. But then I got pinned, and "nice wives" in those days didn't do that kind of work. So, in my Junior year, I switched to generic English with plans to become an English Teacher. My Bachelor of Arts is in English/Journalism. My Master of Science is in Secondary Education.

What was your favorite class?
There were many, but I took a History of England course from a professor who absolutely loved his subject. He owned, I believe, a pineapple plantation in Hawaii but was passionate about England's history. I remember wishing that I didn't have to take notes so I could just listen!

What is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
Working in the Chronicle office and going to the printer to set up the page galleys. Being President of the ISC provided me with invitations to ALL of the sorority and fraternity parties!! The down side of that was the 16 pound weight gain!

What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I am a professional resume writer, speaker, and career consultant/counselor, President and CEO of Appelbaum's Resume Professionals, Inc. for over 30 years.  In my early adulthood, I was a teacher, but then my marriage took me to 5 states, each of which had different teaching requirements. I worked six years in Philadelphia in two different career colleges and became involved in the placement process. When I arrived in Milwaukee, nobody wanted my skills, so (still married) I took an enormous pay cut and went to work for the only resume writing service in town. When the business was sold, we all were terminated/downsized. I had no idea what to do next; my former boss suggested I start a second service in Milwaukee. He gave good advice and mentored me. A large employment agency went out on a limb and financed me for over two years; I then bought out their share and took the business home. For the first 20 years, I had a "day job" to ensure pension and health insurance; ten years ago, I started running the business full time.

Who in your field do you most admire?
She is no longer in this field, but I admired Margo Frey when she was.

What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra,  and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
I taught English to Juniors and Seniors at Oceanside High School, the school from which I had graduated. I learned self-confidence and social skills.

What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
There are so many things you are taught now that might seem meaningless to you, but when the "circle of life" plays itself out, you will realize how valuable an education from a top-notch university can be in your life. It is not about the destination – it is about the journey!

How do you balance work and life?
Whew! In the late autumn of my life, I am still working, active in politics, the former Queen Mum of a Red Hat Society group, a volunteer for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, active in two chambers of commerce and a professional women's group, and the loving gramma of two boys (ages 11 and 5) who live nearby. I don't know how I balance it; if I thought about it, I'd probably wonder where it all fits! Being an enthusiastic, healthy, "A" personality helps!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Chronologically, I will be old. Hopefully, I'll be doing the same kind of stuff – if not more – in good health.

What is the single most rewarding experience in your career thus far?
I have been published in four books and in numerous magazines and websites. BUT, winning my age discrimination lawsuit against a government agency was the most rewarding.

How did Hofstra prepare you for starting and obtaining such a successful business over the years?
Being President of the ISC taught me leadership skills. My journalism classes improved my writing. Being a runner up to Homecoming Queen convinced me that I was attractive. Graduating from an accelerated program at the age of 19 ½ indicated that I was smart.

Tell us about your monthly column in Wiscom, the bulletin for Mensa of Wisconsin.
I joined Mensa of Wisconsin in 1981 and discovered that many of the so-called geniuses had poor job applicant skills. Since the editor respects me and my career, she was more-than-willing to welcome career-related articles for the monthly magazine. This is another pro-bono activity I didn't mention above.

As a career counselor, do you have any advice for Hofstra University's Senior Class of 2009?
Start NOW! Write down every special event of every day. This information will eventually be compressed into a tight, marketing-type resume. Remember that the employers are not interested in what you WANT to do. They want to know what you can and will do for THEM!  Get your grades up. Volunteer! Network with people in your chosen field! Read career sites on the Internet as a research project. Have faith in yourself! Think outside the box.

Doris Appelbaum

Mensa member and active Hofstra alumna Doris Appelbaum ’57 of Glendale, WI, has more than 29 years of resume writing and career counseling experience, and has been published and quoted in numerous newspapers and magazines nationally. She was recently quoted in Civilian Job News and has a monthly column in Wiscom, the bulletin for Mensa of Wisconsin. She also writes the meeting summaries for Focus, a professional women’s group. Doris still makes it a point to stay active in the Hofstra community; she was recently a Reunion Committee member and is involved in the DXD Alumnae Association. She earned her BA in English at Hofstra in 1957 and went on for her MSED in Secondary Education, graduating in 1962. She attended her 50th reunion in 2007, including walking at Commencement and enjoyed being back on campus very much.