She was on a leave of absence from the University of Chicago when she attended a lecture at Xerox PARC and had "a heated discussion after the lecture" with Jef Raskin. The discussion focused on "what computers should look like and how they should improve people's lives." Raskin was so impressed with Hoffman, that he asked her to interview for a position at Apple. She began on the Macintosh project in October 1980 as part of Raskin's initial team of Burrell Smith, Bud Tribble, and Brian Howard. At the time she began, the Mac was "still a research project" Her position "constituted the entire Macintosh marketing team for the first year and a half of the project." She also wrote the "first draft of the Macintosh User Interface Guidelines."Hoffman would eventually run the International Marketing Team which brought the Mac to Europe and Asia. She later followed Jobs to NeXT, as one of its original members.
Hoffman had a reputation at both Apple and NeXT as one of the few who could successfully engage with Jobs. In both 1981 and 1982, she won a satirical award at Apple given to "the person who did the best job of standing up to" Jobs (Jobs was aware of the award and liked it).
During the early 1990s, Hoffman was vice president of Marketing at General Magic, retiring in 1995 to spend more time with her family.