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May11

The Secrets Behind the Interview Process

Image courtesy of val.pearl

Conducting an interview is a long and complicated process. Often times the hiring decision is made in an unexpected way. Here are some secrets that employers won’t tell you during the interview.

You didn’t get invited to interview? That doesn’t mean you are not good enough.

While it is true that employers select candidates who they think are the best fit, sometimes companies make decisions based on other unchangeable factors such as location or graduation date. A company I knew once had an immediate opening for an entry-level position, and there were over 200 applicants in a single month. Since this was an immediate opening the hiring manager filtered the candidates using two simple criteria: the person must have already graduated and the person must have at least one working experience related to the field. A lot of great candidates with excellent experience did not even get considered because they were still enrolled in school and the company needed someone who could start work as soon as possible. So don’t feel bad if you don’t get an interview at the company you want to work for. It may have nothing to do with your skills and capacity. Be confident in yourself.

The decision is usually made right after the interview.

Yes, you are told to wait a week or two for a decision. However, it’s often the case that employers have already made up their mind right after the interview. Research shows that employers only spend 4-5 minutes before they make an initial decision on whether you fit with the company. They estimate a longer time only because the company has other candidates scheduled to interview after you, and they will need to make some comparison to make sure they choose the right person. The evaluation of you is mostly done during your interview.

Performance is only one part, personality and cultural fit-in are also important.

Your performance at the interview is definitely a crucial element in determining your chances of being hired. However, employers make hiring decisions not only based on your performance. Having a good conversation with the interviewer is one thing, and determining if you are a good fit for the company culture is another. This is especially true for entry-level positions since those positions do not require a lot of experience. Cultural fit becomes key. After all, you will be working with people who you need to get along with to get the job done. So keep in mind that employers want to choose not only the best qualified, but the most suitable candidates for their company.

Written by Cathy Qiu

 

May09

Building Experience and Starting Your Career

Rosie Antonecchia

We contacted Career Center Director, Rosie Antonecchia from Palomar College and asked her to share her experience in helping students develop their careers. All the way from California, Rosie replied back with great advice and encouragement for current students. She encourages students to stay humble and invest in their future by earning valuable work experience while still in school. Here are some of the questions we asked Rosie:

In your opinion, how do internships or volunteer experience help students? Internships can provide a glimplse at a career they are strongly considering. Also, students can get valuable experience from volunteer opportunities and walk away with skills they can add to their resume. Maybe most importantly, they meet PEOPLE that have first hand experience and can give feedback to the intern about what they can bring to the table as a potential employee.

How do you help students to prepare resumes, portfolios, social media, and interviewing skills?  We offer job readiness workshops: resume and cover letter building, job search strategies, and mock interviews with career counselors.

What piece of advice would you offer a student struggling to obtain interviews? Practice, practice, practice with a live audience and be open to feedback. Making small adjustments during mock interviews can hep your correct the wrong behavior before the real interview.

What kind of skills are in demand by employers these days? Creativity and innovation, up to date technology skills, effective listening, verbal and written communications skills, strong interpersonal skills, critical thinking skills, a strong work ethic, having a “can do” attitude, self-starters and strong team players.

What do you recommend for students looking for jobs in the creative industry? Instructors in the creative departments are a great resource of information for students in these programs. CreativeInterns.com seems like a valuable resource for entry-level talent and hiring employers.

Palomar College

Rosie Antonecchia’s 20+ years of counseling experience includes: group counseling, individual counseling, outreach activities, workshop facilitation, teaching classes, newsletter writing, marketing material production, that range from mental health facilities, high school settings, social work agencies, career centers and community colleges.  Rosie is currently a Career Center Director at Palomar College in San Marcos, California. 

Written by Ana Komnenovic

May08

6 Tips for Student Social Media Reputation Management

Social Media Tips

Social Media started early for most millennials and it will be even earlier for the digital natives coming up behind us. Having a Facebook account is standard, a Twitter is normal, and there can be countless other accounts depending upon your interests. Maybe you use Google+ or have an Equals6 account (yeah, that’s a shameless plug) but without a doubt your name is online. Whether it’s in a big or small way, this means that for the rest of your life, and even after, people are going to be able to Google you. This can be a terrifying thing if you aren’t prepared –  but if you are, it can actually be pretty beneficial.  Here are my top 6 tips to safely manage your reputation online.

1. Privacy is important but don’t put the walls too high: I have been to a few Social Media workshops (I have even taught a few) and some people advise very high privacy settings. The idea is that if others can’t see your information then they can’t pass judgement on it, but in reality it just looks like you have something to hide.

2. Manicures aren’t just for nails: Keeping things neat and tidy is a big deal to me and it should be to you too! Have all of your information fields filled out, such as your previous jobs and what they entailed. List your recent reads, your favourite songs and have some recommendations on LinkedIn even if they are co-workers. Everything counts, so be aware of things you have under your likes (yes, even the things you liked at 2am in your first year, yeah…THAT one).

3. Show the world cool stuff: I play Ingress. I once found a battle hammer at a conference. I also love Internet culture so if you look in any of my feeds you will see elements of these things. They are often visual (photos, videos etc), but I have them there to increase the odds that someone will connect with me, either because they share the interest or because they want to learn more about it from me. One of the heads of a local development shop I work with is super into BBQ, to the point where looking through his Instagram makes me gain 5 pounds. This has nothing to do with who he is professionally but it shows me he cares about something. It made him a person to me, not just a profile.

4. Search out the Googlers!:  The man of the BBQ I mentioned earlier was someone I learned a lot from and someone I wanted to meet. If I had looked around the job market at the time, I also might have ended up working for him!  The first time we met I was still a student and I had already been following him on Twitter, which to me is the best passive channel for info. The first thing we ever talked about? Ribs! The conversation was awesome and it only happened because I had done my research on the person I wanted to learn from.

5. Be yourself: In person I swear like a sailor, but on my accounts you see almost none of that. The comments, opinions and thoughts are all me but I try and keep it clean to avoid a bias. Sure, one or two make it through but I can’t not be me.  I talk about the things I care about, I make jokes that I laugh at and at the end of the day an employer wants to know who you are. It’s not just your qualifications.

6. Keep it all up to date: Once you go through and fill everything in, make sure you make changes and additions as time passes. You are (or should be) constantly doing, always learning, and moving forward. Make sure that your profiles reflect this. The reputation is yours, so make sure it’s up to date and interesting.

Findlay Hilchie

Findlay Hilchie is senior community manager at Equals6.com, the professional social network for students a website platform for students to connect with peers and employers, compete for scholarships and discover career opportunities. For more information about Equals6 and to apply for scholarships, visit  Equals6.com or contact the E6 team at info@equals6.com.

Equals6 Logo

May07

5 Tips For Managing Interns

Image courtesy of BCU

An internship is the perfect way to prepare students for future employment. As a manager you should strive to get the best out of your intern. This will help the intern to become a great employee. Here are 5 tips for managing interns:

Guide. Interns will not come into the workplace knowing the basics about how things are done so you will need to guide them. Make sure expectations and goals are clear and monitor how their work is being done so you can make corrections if necessary and offer them advice. The value of an internship for students is that it’s how they learn the basic functions about the job they want. This is their chance to experience what it will be like in the real work world.

Teach. Don’t treat your intern like they are just cheap labor. You should enjoy teaching and be willing to assist your intern with achieving their goals. If you create a positive learning experience for your intern they will repay you with positive brand awareness for your company. A great internship experience is like free advertising.

Plan. Have enough work for your intern to do. Your intern should be given tasks that are relevant to the job they want to do. But if there is downtime the intern might not know what to do next. Some will find stuff to do around the office, but not all interns will take the initiative. Plan ahead by having other projects the intern can work on. This could include things such as filing that has piled up or allow them to be creative and work on social media projects like creating a Facebook page for your company if you don’t have one.

Expect. You might not have the same expectations of your intern as you do for your regular staff, but you should have some expectations so that the time you put into hiring, training, and supervising them won’t be a waste. Even if your intern is unpaid they should still be accountable doing quality work.

Communicate. Have weekly meetings with your intern to keep the lines of communication open and create a mentoring relationship.Take the time to get to know your intern and discuss the work they are doing.These conversations will help you when it is time to do reviews and write letters of recommendation. If the intern is good maybe they’ll be your next full-time employee.

These are a few things you can do to make sure you are getting the best out of your intern. Keeping these points in mind will help with managing your intern and developing them into hire worthy employees.

Written by Monique Skinner

May05

Tips For Hiring Kick-Butt Interns

Need to hire some interns or entry-level talent? Then you should watch this video by Marc Scoleri, CEO of CreativeInterns.com.

Download the Quickstart Internship System to create a quality internship program and receive a consultation to assure your program effectiveness and implementation.

May02

Talent Spotlight Interview: Katherine Harding

Katherine Harding

Interviewee Name: Katherine Harding

Intern Position: Graphic Design Intern

Company Name: Saint Louis Blues

Location: Saint Louis, MO

About Katherine Harding:

Katherine Harding is a student at Lindenwood University and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design with two minors in Web Design and Mass Communications. Katherine has had a passion for art ever since she was a little kid. Her love for computers and technology runs just as deep and when she was introduced to graphic design, a happy medium of her two loves, she knew that this was what she was meant to do for the rest of her life. While keeping up with her studies, she juggles life as a businesswoman, a photographer, an intern, and as a work and learn student at her school’s graphics lab. She’s the founder of Katherine Harding Creations, a graphic design and photography business, which has prospered since she created it in May 2012. Katherine currently interns as a graphic designer for the St. Louis Blues – a National Hockey League team recognized worldwide. During her free time, she loves to work on her long list of design projects, taking walks around town, and sitting at her favorite Starbucks with a caramel macchiato and a good book. After graduating from college, Katherine hopes to live and work in California while working her way up to a position as an Art Director.

Tell us the steps you took to land an internship or entry-level position?

When it came to landing my internship, I prepped before hand. I took the time out of my summer to create a good-looking portfolio that is both a printed and an electronic PDF version along with a cover letter.  I made sure that I took advantage of my school’s career center that sends out emails that alerted students of internships in the area. Through both my school’s career center and my advisor, I put in my application as soon as possible and made sure to follow up at least three days later.  Within a couple of weeks, I was on my way as an intern.

What makes your internship experience unique?

The sheer excitement of it all. I was working for the Blues. Me – a girl that didn’t even consider working for a sports industry, was rubbing elbows with the people that worked behind the scenes to make the Blues team run smoothly and look professional all at the same time. Not only that, I met prominent players and had the opportunity to shake hands with the owner of this amazing team.

What skills did you learn or improve while at your internship?

I would have to say my skills in InDesign and communication increased. When you are in school, you learn so many things in a short period of time that some shortcuts, tricks, and helpful tips fall through the cracks. Getting real world experience helped me pick up the pieces that I didn’t grasp when I was in school.

Can you describe what a normal day is for an intern at your company?

A normal day at my internship includes prepping before actually going to the internship. Working behind the scenes doesn’t mean t-shirts and jeans. You have to remember to look your best and that includes wearing business and business-casual attire to appear professional. I have my own cubicle where I do all my work. I get emails and requests from the two lead graphic designers and coworkers that need help editing or designing. Every thing that comes in and out has a deadline and that is where prioritizing and staying focused comes into play. I work especially close with the two lead designers when it comes to getting work done on time and communicating any errors or questions that arrise while working on projects. This is as close as it gets to real world experience and staying on top of work makes you realize that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Give us one word to describe your workplace environment?

Professional

What advice would you give to someone just starting to look for an internship or entry-level job?

It’s never a bad idea to plan ahead. Researching during your first two years of college gets you prepared for what and where you want to put your resume in for a job or internship. Talk to your advisors, professors, and graduate students in your profession for leads and tips on where to look. Learn to know yourself and what you want for yourself as a professional because then you will be walking into your future blind.

What do you do to fill the inspiration gas tank?

To fill the inspiration gas tank I read lots and lots of design books. I’ve always been a big reader and reading what other designers have overcome has inspired me to push on. I also love to look up newly published artwork on Behance and in magazines like Communication Arts and HOW magazine.

What’s next for you?

I’m looking at jobs in places in California like San Francisco or Los Angeles. I’m hoping to get a few years experience before I go back to get my masters in Design Management. From there, the sky is the limit.

 

May01

Career Path Interview: CEO/Creative Director, Maria Rapetskaya

 

Maria Rapetskaya

ABOUT MARIA RAPETSKAYA:

As Undefined Creative’s CEO/Creative Director, Maria Rapetskaya combines timeless aesthetic, a personal approach to client relationships and a socially conscious backbone. Over the span of her design career, she has amassed an impressive client base – most recently NBC Universal, Discovery Networks, National Hockey League and Meredith Publishing. Her work has been recognized internationally with awards, publications and screenings. Maria is a firm supporter of professional volunteering, producing pro bono content for international organizations, like the United Nations and BRAC – and local efforts, like NYC’s based Transportation Alternatives. Maria’s personal creative outlet is, well – anything creative. She loves photography, drawing, learning and any “pet projects” that fall in her lap. If not at her desk, she can be spotted on horseback in offbeat places like Mongolia or Easter Island. (But alas, more often, powering up with a cup of coffee a block away.)

Here’s what Maria had to share with CreativeInterns.com when we recently interviewed her:

What tips can you offer a recent graduate that is preparing to interview for an entry-level position within your industry?

Be patient. It will likely take time to find a good position, or any position for that matter. Even if your goal is a full-time job, pursue freelance or independent projects while you look. You’ll make some money, get more experience, make connections, etc.

Don’t be afraid to take chances. Do acknowledge your limits. You can take on a project that’s over your head and wow the client. Or you can flop and ruin a relationship. Learn to honestly gauge your abilities.

I think everyone pays their dues in one way or another getting started, so be prepared to have some frustrating experiences. Every situation is a learning opportunity.

Remember that attention to detail and ease of working with you make a huge difference in whether or not you will be invited back to freelance, or get a post-interview callback. If you are difficult to work with, or can’t show up on time, or spend hours playing on the internet, it won’t matter how talented you are. Talented, skilled people are easy to find. Talented, skilled people with common sense, a good work ethic and ability to pay attention to direction are a lot harder to come by.

Check your ego at the door. You don’t know it all, and you never will. None of us do. Learn to pick your creative battles. At the end of the day, the clients pay the bills. If you want to have 100% creative control, don’t go into commercial art. Being a successful working artist-for-hire means you solve your clients’ creative challenges, not create whatever you want. Make the best decisions you can, offer advice and suggestions, but do not be inflexible, stubborn or difficult with your clients, art directors or co-workers.

If you were hiring someone for your position, what five skills would you require in all applicants?

What I require attention to detail, ability to think independently, great communication, willingness to improve, easy-going personality. I don’t list talent – that’s pretty much a given. And, believe it or not, there are very simple ways to weed out candidates before I even bother with looking at their work. I list a number of “musts” to reply with on every job post. If a single item goes unaddressed, the email is tossed. I don’t care if this is the most talented designer on earth. If he/she couldn’t read one paragraph and follow basic instruction, they are clearly deficient in the above. May seem extreme – but it’s been tested and believe me, it is an accurate first impression.

What piece of advice do you wish you followed earlier in your career?

Freelance more. I spent nearly six years working at the same facility, which limited my scope of contacts, experience and exposure. I did freelance for about a year or so, but I do wish I stayed out there longer. I think it would have benefited me long-term.

Tell us about an internship or volunteer experience you completed that was related to your field during or after college?

I interned the summer before my senior year, but unfortunately, I didn’t pick wisely. I majored in animation, but I never quite fit into either the character or the experimental models which were the division lines at my school. I never considered “motion graphics” as a field of focus, simply because I didn’t know it existed.

So, I chose a traditional studio. It was two hours away, and the work was tedious. Eventually I fumbled through and fulfilled my commitment. It was a professional lesson, as well as than a personal one, confirming that traditional animation was not for me.

I have been much more successful as a professional volunteer. I started doing murals for public schools through NYCares. I spent a couple of weeks in Ecuador with an after-school arts program. Most notably, I have been working through Catchafire since 2010, taking on “professional volunteering” projects. I do a lot of promotional videos for non-profits, using motion graphics to clarify their message and help them spread the word.

What advanced education, online training or development programs would you recommend for people interested in becoming a Motion Graphics Designer?

I personally love Lynda.com, where you can access a wide range of videos. I like the site since it is very affordable and has both straight-forward “how-to-use” software lessons, and also more in-depth lessons on design, aesthetics and tricks.

As far as “advanced education” – if you are looking to stand out of the pack, don’t simply focus on learning software. Being a “software operator” is easy. Being a designer is harder.

Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently while in undergraduate studies?

I would transfer once I discovered my direction. At the time, my university was unprepared for the digital evolution and I would have gotten a better education elsewhere. I would definitely take on a better-suited internship. I would take more advantage of electives, taking courses in as many disciplines as I could to broaden my understanding and skills.

What specifically motivated you to go this direction in your career?

I was always very independent, able to juggle multiple projects and not afraid to take risks. I wanted a healthy, balanced lifestyle, and the only way I saw to achieve that was to run my own studio.

Creatively, all I ever wanted was to play with colors, shapes, type. I love music and dance, and have a good sense of rhythm. Combined, this was a natural fit for motion graphics. The field is wide enough to have consistent work opportunity, but not as over-saturated and competitive as web design. The projects tend to turn around quickly, which is great for someone like myself who thrives on change.

What type of activities, appointments and meetings do you have during a typical week?

A lot of hands-on work, in design and production; communication with clients and potential clients; working out budgets and deadlines. I don’t have too many face-to-face meetings these days, the majority of the conversations take place over emails or conference calls.

Tell us about an unpleasant work experience that resulted in an invaluable career lesson?

The first project we took on as a company was very low paying, but with very high demands. On top of that, the clients were incredibly difficult and unprofessional. They were rude, abusive even, calling my partner “an idiot” on a phone call!

We got the job done, but after that I made a decision. I love what I do. I don’t want to grow to hate it. Avoiding negative people in my life was always a priority, and now that I have the power to turn down a red-flag project or client, I will. (I am happy to say, that happens very rarely.)

Who has inspired you as a mentor during your career and what was the most valuable lesson you learned from them?

I honestly can’t say I ever had a mentor, though I wish I did! What I did do was observe and analyze everything from creative strategies people had to how they ran their business. It helped me build a mental list of what I want and what I don’t want, how I like things run, what seems efficient, what works, etc.

A good example I suppose is: I knew people who grew their business too fast and too far, beyond what actually made them happy. It became an all-absorbing monster force, leaving little time for family, health or anything else. It made what they love become a source of constant stress. Seeing that made me eternally conscious of the need to balance work with life.

If you had an opportunity to broadcast a special “thank you” to anyone via this interview, who would it be and what would you like us to say?

It would be mom. She ran her own business her entire life, making balancing work and life appear effortless. She enjoyed her profession so much that I never felt that it was a “job” for her – it was simply what she did. She worked hard when she had to, took time off whenever she could. She was always so humble, so matter-of-fact about how she made a living, it took me years to comprehend how much risk her professional choices involved. I modeled my life after hers, without even recognizing that until much later.

What is a favorite quote that you try to live by?

Wow. Depends on what day you ask me! Right now it’s: If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. It was on the cover of a girl’s journal and it caught my eye.

What books would you recommend for upcoming designers?

  • Typographic Systems by Kimberly Elam
  • Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Muller-Brockman
  • Any book by Trish and Chris Meyer for After Effects
  • The Business of Being an Artist by Daniel Grant
Apr30

Want to Save Money? Employ an Intern.

Image courtesy of: 401(K) 2013

Save time and money by taking on an intern. Train a potential new hire for minimal costs. Sourcing interns saves you the time of adding someone to payroll only to discover they are not a fit for your company. This results in wasted money and time.

For example, “entry-level salaries in the field of Public Relations average in the low $30,000 range” according to PayScale.com.

This is the amount of money your company could save by taking on interns and training them to do the job. Even if you offered your interns a small stipend you would still save on employment costs. Stipends are great because you can offer the student some compensation without strain on your budget. Although most interns are willing to take on unpaid internships to gain experience, offering a stipend makes the deal a little sweeter.

An intern is an investment for the student and your company. The intern will gain valuable real world work experience and you will have the advantage of developing your company’s next super star. Intern development works for you and the intern. After spending 12 weeks with your interns you will have formed a relationship and know if this person is right for your company and the intern will have the opportunity to learn from a professional in their desired career field. Even if at the end of the internship program you are unable to offer employment, you will have been a part of helping a student’s professional growth.

Most interns who have had great experiences with an internship program tell their friends or classmates about it. Interns will likely know other students who are looking for an internship. The intern becomes a recruiter for your company via word of mouth advertising saving you money on recruiting costs.

“The average cost to recruit new hires  can range from $2,906 to $5,054” according to NACE’s Recruiting Benchmark Survey.

This is the amount of money your company could save by having an intern who has favorably completed a program at your company and is offered employment. Also, think of the time it takes to recruit, hire, and train a new employee. According to NACE the average time from interview to hire is 22.5 days. This is longer than the amount of time that it would take to bring in an intern.

So maybe you’ll get your next rock star employee or maybe you’ll just get to develop a student’s talents for their future, either way an internship program is an ideal way for your company to save money and get the job done.

Written by Monique Skinner

Apr27

Your Internship’s Over…Now What?

Image courtesy of ores2k

It’s easy to end an internship and feel like you need a break afterward. But you’re wrong! Your internship may be over, but there are a few things you can do afterward that will make the time spent there much more worth it.

Ask your boss if he/she can be a reference: Of course, you want to be a top-notch intern your entire run there. But when it’s over, don’t be that intern that runs out the door and never speaks to anyone again. Make it a clear point that you will want to use your boss as a reference in the future and whenever you start sending out your resume give your internship supervisor a heads up so they can refresh in their memory about you.

Create a portfolio of everything you’ve done: If you’re a writer, save clips of everything you wrote. If you designed a website, make sure you save it before it’s replaced or altered. It’s crucial to save and organize all of your work before you forget or you are no longer able to access it. For example, it’s much better for your portfolio to get shots of your work as it was published rather than having to send out a Word document of a writing sample.

Update your resume: While all your projects are still fresh in your brain it’s a good idea to jot down  the specifics for your resume. There may be a time gap between then end of your internship and your next job so having a list will come in handy for helping you update your resume and remembering things you worked on to talk about during an interview.

Look for your next internship or job! We at CreativeInterns.com like to breed overachievers. Internships are one of the best ways to find out what career path you want so take advantage of experimenting with different internships before you have bills and student loans to pay.

Written by Diane Ly

Apr26

WeIntern Emerging Talent and Employer Mixer

Talent & Employer mixer

Talent & Employer mixer

On April 24th CreativeInterns.com partnered with WeWork to host WeIntern: Emerging Talent & Employer Mixer. This exclusive event gave employers, hiring managers, and recruiters the opportunity to meet emerging entry-level talent and interns from several New York colleges and universities. The goal of this event was to connect emerging talent with innovative employers.

Employers reserved table space at the WeWork Soho Lounge where they were able to display business cards and promotional materials. Each employer gave a 30 second pitch to the group about their company and the positions they have available. Some of the internships/entry-level positions pitched were blogging, design, marketing, and social media.

WeIntern6Among the list of employers looking for talent were:

Aretove, a social media company

Built By The Factory, an Interactive Agency that creates digital brands

Gabello Studios, specialize in video and animation production

Stanmore Media Group, provides solutions for real time bidding and creative & web design

After the employers’ pitching session, talent was able to approach the employers of their choice and engage with them to express their interest in the positions pitched. Students and recent grads had the opportunity to network with prospective employers, hand out resumes, and show portfolios. The talent consisted of students and recent grads with skills related to account management, communications, graphic design and media arts to name a few.

“It was the best WeIntern Event to date, a packed house, with over 50 talent and 22 employers in attendance”, said Marc Scoleri, CEO of CreativeInterns.com.

In the creative industries it is sometimes difficult to find talent with the specific skills employers need. This event provided the perfect opportunity for students and recent grads looking for internships or entry-level employment to meet face to face with employers that are specifically looking for employees with their skills.

Written by Monique Skinner