December 8, 2015

Super Meet Up

The Center for Career and Professional Development sponsored an amazing creative mind Meetup on October 15th. Seventy students, alumni, and professionals came out to mingle and network in Lower Manhattan. Along with all the wonderful connections made, there was a great presentation with many tips on how to build and market your creative career. As we get closer to graduating and entering the real world, it is extremely important to know how to present and discuss the work you create.

  1. Be an expert about the business! Do some research on your potential employer and try to get a feel for what kind of statement they made through their work. It will make you valuable to the company and also ensure that you are in an environment that you can learn and grow in. Everyone should know the BIG PICTURE. Think beyond the nitty gritty details, and be analytic about the projects as a whole. Why are you working on this? How will it help your career goals?
  2. Be a 360 thinker. No matter what your specialty is, you have to think about every aspect of a project. Here’s a cool story: when Ludacris approached the LMHQ and wanted to create a specialty cognac, the company had to think about every aspect of design and marketing. How would it be ordered at a bar? What would the packaging look like on a grocery store shelf? All of these details went into creating a successful final product.
  3. Learn how to challenge the status quo with powerful business ideas. Have a reason behind every creative idea, never answer with “just because.” Store experience and learn how to critically explain your work!
  4. Want to get noticed? Keep your email short and simple. Imagine your potential boss putting her children to bed and only having an hour at night to go through her inbox. Put yourself ahead and keep the body of the email short, and if you have a link to your website, include it! The more concise your introduction, the more likely an employer will look at the work.    
  5. During the interview, don’t just show your work, show the way you think and how the work was produced. Employers want to know if you understand the work and how it challenged you! Show your personality and show how you have the potential to fit into a certain company with both your work and your intellect.
  6. Pay attention to the process, try to get an understanding for the company you are applying to and for the type of people you would be working with. There is no point in working with a company that you aren’t excited about. Recognize the ways that you and your work could improve from spending time with a specific company and make the experience special. Be in tune with the company, understand what kind of culture they are trying to cultivate through the work and the clientele that they take on.  

I hope these tips help you while you search for an internship or a potential job! Keep an eye out for upcoming events like this, where you will have the opportunity to meet and connect with professionals in your field and Pratt alumni!

December 3, 2015

Saturday Excurisons: Alumni Roundtables and Advice


20150919_105834.jpgOn September 19th, I abandoned my sleep-in day and headed to North Hall for the Alumni Roundtables event. The white rooms that normally hold my classes overflowed with people and conversations. Desks formed giant circles, to accommodate all the alumni and current students while visual and written work decorated the walls.

Each door was labeled with a combination of majors and it seemed as if every major was covered. I carefully read through each tag until I found Writing and snuck in. The Writing alumni outnumbered the one graduate from Pratt’s School of Library and Information Science (recently renamed School of Information) and the conversation was guided by a current Pratt Professor.  

Two other students and I listened as the alumni and Pratt professor talked about their experience, bouncing ideas and thoughts off each.When we were alerted 30 minutes had passed, everyone was surprised. After getting contact information from an alumna, I took this time to sneak out and listened in on other conversations.

20150919_110315.jpgLike most art school students, I worry about my prospective job opportunities but going to this event lessened those concerns. During one conversation, I realized how vast of a resource Pratt is. The amazing reality at Pratt is none of the students are pigeonholed by their major. Writing students can go to painting classes, film students can minor in creative writing, and architecture students can study interior design. While these interdisciplinary interests depend on a student’s curiosity, having this opportunity is an advantage alumni encouraged us to take. A few even suggested students consider working or freelancing during school. Although balancing  school and work is difficult, alumni who did entered their careers with experience and had an audience already familiar with their work.

ATT_1442851575813_20150919_115439.jpgAt Pratt, students have the luxury to form a community of artists who share the same interests. As a fact of life, no one ever knows where people end up. Many alumni said at one point they received a job because of a fellow Pratt graduate, or they themselves helped give a Pratt graduate a job; some even found their current job through their professors. At college students are forming a professional network through their classes, their jobs, and their friendships and many don’t realize it.

Of course, the conversations were littered with specific counsel for certain majors. An architecture alumni relayed his experience of following his professor's advice to document how many hours it took him to do a project. When he entered the workforce, he was able to give his clients an idea of how long their project would take and adjust the project accordingly. For photography, alumni advised students to show companies their personal portfolio. One alumni emphasized being surprised that a major company used his work even though he believed it didn’t fit the company’s wants.  

I was happy to see so many Pratt students at the Alumni Roundtables. I love events like these because it gives students an idea of what they are heading into after graduation instead of having a nebulous idea formed from their classes. I know I walked away with a clearer idea of what I wanted and some helpful advice to try.

To find out more about Center for Career and Professional Development events  follow the Career Ambassadors on Twitter (@PrattSuccess) and find us on Facebook (Pratt Success)!

Written by: Bree Balsamo
Images by: Bree Balsamo