Recently in Job Search Category

The Moment Has Arrived

I have been biting my nails waiting to hear back from either of the firms I applied to, afraid they didn't receive my application, or all my hard work wasn't what they were looking for. . . until I got a call yesterday asking for an interview!

There were on the upper side of 80 applicants so I feel incredibly fortunate to be considered for the position. It seems the long hours I put into my mini portfolio really paid off! The last two days I have been putting final touches on my full portfolio and adding in new projects. I sent them to be printed this evening, so I'm crossing my fingers there are no glitches!

A few things to remember when preparing for an interview:

  1. It's always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. I was told today I could wear jeans to the interview as it is the firm's "casual Friday", however, dress as if you're going to an interview on any other day of the week. I will be wearing a skirt, dress shirt, and heels.

  2. Be prepared!! This not only means have the appropriate materials, but prepare a few questions to ask at the end of the interview. This shows interest in the organization and allows you a chance to demonstrate knowledge of what they do.

  3. Make sure you have enough materials for ALL interviewers. I didn't realize there would be more than one person interviewing me, so I had to send another portfolio to print tonight so each would have a book to look at. . . Learned my lesson. . . ASK how many there will be

  4. Relax and take a deep breath!

Ok, well that's it for now. I'll let you know how it goes! Wish me luck and cross your fingers!!

Design in 7

As some of you know I am the Student President for the College of Design Student and Alumni Board. We are a board of professionals and students that represent each major within the College of Design, and bring the college-to-career experience to our students.

Some of our past events have been firm tours, professional panels, and the annual Dirty Laundry event. This year, however, I was an active committee member for a new event called "Design in 7." This event was created as a fun, creative, and networking experience for both professionals and students to enjoy. We held our premier event on March 15th, 2010 at the Weisman Art Gallery.

Design in 7 consisted of 7 speakers, one for each major within CDes, who shared an inspiring or intriguing story for 7 minutes. We were fortunate enough to have seven wonderful and creative speakers this year, all keeping the audience engaged and laughing.

We had Amy Michielle tell us why we should "stay cute", John relay the importance of "listening", Chuck, the "pretty happy guy", express his extreme distaste for his name and wished it was Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeve, and Anita reveal the inspiration behind the design process.

Bill spoke of many inspiring projects, Wayne invited us into his "neighborhood" and shared a humbling experience, and Damon reminisced the "old ways" of hand drafting and dirt bags. It was great to hear the different topics each presenter came up with on their own! And it reminds me of the creativity our majors thrive on.

Following the 49 minute event, we had hors d'eurves and drinks in our reception area. This provided a great opportunity to network with the professionals, and I hope many students took advantage! I was able to connect on a personal level with both the Interior Design and Architecture speakers. Both were very inspiring and encouraged me to keep my chin up and trudge forward.

John gave me some valuable advice during our brief conversation. He said, "be persistent"... speaking of looking for a job. This has been resonating in my head since Thursday night. It has also inspired me to do something I would normally never do... stray from protocol.

Someone told me last week, "Designers never follow the rules." And this is true. I have decided to go out on a limb and not follow the rules of applying for a job. I am taking a different avenue... Contacting the principal directly. Of course, by doing so my cover letter has to connect on a more personal level, my resume should speak to their personality, and my portfolio should be sent in a way that is appreciated by that individual.

This means if you are sending something to a potential employer who is more traditional, send it via snail mail. Pay the extra postage to obtain a confirmation signature to make sure it gets in the hands of that person. Print your resume and cover letter out on respectable paper, and never fold the documents.

Always, always, always, put it in a larger envelope. They sell them in mass quantities... invest in a pack. And most importantly PAY ATTENTION to who you are speaking to, what they have to say, and any and all advice they give you. Free advice is hard to come by... embrace it folks! That's all for now, but I'll let you know if I have any success with my gutsy move as I "stray from protocol!"

The Procrastination Queen

Well, here I am, sitting at home on Sunday night working on studio. Since I haven't told you yet, our final project/thesis is the redesign and merging of three clinics within a 15,000 square foot space, and to develop a cohesive and efficient plan, and incorporate all user requirements. . . It has been a HUGE task, to say the least. But it wouldn't be Senior Thesis if it wasn't challenging, tiring, and didn't contain moments of procrastination.

Tonight I have hit a road block. Without my to-do list in front of me I am like a lost puppy, wandering the streets of a foreign country, with nothing but the world in front of me to explore (aka, the internet)... I like to call that "danger zone".

Completed Tasks:

1. Furniture Plan
2. Illustrated perspectives for the Reception area
3. Numerous games of online checkers. . . In which I lost
4. Watched multiple episodes on
5. Designed and redesigned my college graduation announcement, return address labels, and business cards
6. Developed a new to-do list for my portfolio
7. Nap
8. Hour and a half phone conversation
9. Facebook
10. This blog post

I am the Procrastination Queen. However, even though I have been busy with these very important activities, I somehow do not feel accomplished. I know that if I just keep going, each piece will slowly fall into place, and I can then take pride in marking items off, but it is hard to get there sometimes.

The St. Paul Campus Career Center offered a great solution for a to-do list and calendar, however. It has helped me stay organized, level headed, and has reduced the feeling of being overwhelmed; although you wouldn't know it by today. If you have this same issue, use the advice given to me:

  1. Buy a top-spiraling notebook
  2. Use a ruler and an exacto knife to cut the pad of paper down the middle, from the top to the bottom
  3. On the left write your weekly, or daily schedule. This should consist of scheduled meetings, appointments, jobs, etc. Things that have a time attached.
  4. On the right make your to-do list, putting the most important items on the top
  5. The point of this: your daily or weekly schedule can be torn out as they pass, but you can maintain your to-do list without having to re-write it, or feel overwhelmed when something doesn't get completed.

Well, now that I've given everyone else a successful tool, I should probably use my own advice and look at my list. . . It's about that time. . . . . . .

Taking the Plunge...

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Well, it's out there. . . My first portfolio and job application. Last week I worked 'round the clock on a three page portfolio for an internship application at a local design firm. I know, I know, you're thinking, "three pages, sheesh, that's nothing." Well, I have a little wake-up call for you. . . It's a lot of work. The challenge, if you're projects are extensive and in-depth, is fitting all the important information onto only three pages.

Originally I had planned to do three projects, one on each page. When that became a painful headache, I condensed it down to two projects, one of which contained a lot of information. . . hence needing the extra space. I also took on the challenge of teaching myself (after a two hour crash course) a rendering program in which I was re-doing one of the projects, for a digitally rendered end product. I have never wanted to tear my hair out more. But, I completed the drawings, finally.

The next challenge was the layout. I have provided some examples here:
Plunge Image 1.jpg Plunge Image 2.jpg

When developing a portfolio, resume, anything, the layout is the second most (and in some cases most) important aspect, especially for a design major. When a prospective employer looks at your documents with a glance, it has to read well, feel organized and balanced, and be visually appealing, otherwise it may get tossed to the side, not giving you a chance.

I have never had formal graphic design or layout education, but with the skills I have acquired making presentation boards, etc, I had an idea of how things should look to make it visually appealing. . . at least I hope! I haven't received a call for an interview yet. . . hmmmmm. . .

In addition to producing my portfolio, updating my resume, and construction an energetic cover letter, I contacted a professional who I have had wonderful opportunities of networking with over the past two years. I told her my goals, upon asking for some advice, and she offered to forward my resume/portfolio package onto the "right" people at the company.

This goes to show that making a good impression, following up with networking (i.e. keeping in contact), and not being afraid to ask for help when you need it, truly pays off. She copied me on the email that was sent, and I have never been so flattered in my life. The compliments I received were mind blowing.

ven if I do not get this internship, I know I have a wonderful reference, which is something everyone should have. Contact them early, ask for a letter of recommendation while everything is fresh in their mind.

And when they do write a letter, send an email recommendation, or forward your application on, SEND THEM A HAND WRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE. An email does not suffice. I will reiterate, SEND THEM A HAND WRITTEN THANK YOU. It will show your respect and appreciation for what they have just done for you.

Jobs Can Come From Anywhere. . .

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On March 13, I participated in the annual College of Design Dean's Reception an event intended to welcome back the students and parents who have applied and been accepted to the U of M, and to offer additional information about the University from Onestop, academic advisors, faculty, and students. This was my third Dean's Reception, so I like to think of myself knowledgeable when talking to students and parents about the College.

This year was a unique experience for me. I generally have a great time speaking with students and their parents, giving my background as a transfer student, and providing information as to why the U of M is a fantastic choice.

This year, however, I was approached by a mother and her daughter who were interested in the program. Ironically, their two colleges of choice were Arizona State University (where I attended previously), and the U of M. They picked my brain for differences and similarities between the two, and I provided the knowledge that I had from both of my experiences.

During my conversation with them, I provided my professional portfolio to browse, along with my laptop and website to show. Karen, the mother, asked me to flip through my website and tell her about it. As I was doing so she became more impressed, which shocked me a little bit.

Suddenly, I saw some excitement fall across her face as she pulled out a business card. She explained she is a realtor in Arizona and is trying to sell a lovely home set upon a mountain. . . for the small price of six million dollars. Her struggle however, was marketing the property efficiently and effectively.

Before I knew it I was being asked to produce a booklet of photographs from a professional photographer, which she already had, and a website like mine to market the property. She asked me to give her a quote for my services, something I am highly unfamiliar with, and we would get it pulled together as soon as possible.

The moral of this story is to always present yourself with confidence, knowledge, and professionalism. When stepping into events like this, where it is expected to have these types of materials, show everything you have done to take that extra step in marketing yourself.

If you don't already, get business cards made that reflect who you are and don't be afraid to pass them out. You never know who you will meet, or where, so it is important to always be prepared.

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