Tag Archives: career path


Career Spotlight: Darnisha Bishop

Darnisha Bishop Darnisha is a seasoned professional with over 4 years of public relations and social media experience. Starting her career in Public Relations for an entertainment company, Darnisha gradually transitioned into the digital realm, focusing more on social media strategies. As an Assistant Social Advertising Planner at Neo@Ogilvy in New York City, she creates and executes paid social media strategies to help clients generate leads, increase brand awareness and consumer engagement. We had the chance to ask Darnisha a few questions about her role at Neo@Ogilvy and her life as a PR and social media professional. Creative Interns: What is it like being a paid social advertising planner at a global agency? Darnisha Bishop: My day-to-day is very unpredictable and heavily depends on the different campaigns that are running. Some days, I am planning how to execute paid strategies on multiple social media platforms, and other days I am spending time contributing to thought leadership pieces that help to educate my client about the benefits of incorporating paid social media strategies into their overall social strategies. CI: What made you chose a career path in social media and digital communications? DB: Social media is something I naturally gravitated toward over the years, so I guess you could say social media chose me! Having started my career in PR, I understood the benefits of incorporating social media strategies into the overall brand strategy. As time went on, I became more and more knowledgeable of social media and stayed current on evolving trends. It’s such a fun industry to be a part of, and it is constantly surprising me! CI: For news and updates in social media, what are your go-to resources and websites? DB: My list is long (very long). My top three are:

CI: What advice would you give students looking to enter your field? DB:

  • Stay on top of what is happening in the industry. Social media is big, and constantly evolving. New trends, apps, strategies pop up almost every day and it’s important to fully understand what is going on.
  • Internships are a great way to get hands on experience. I recommend starting out as an intern at an agency that specializes in social media strategies (whether it’s paid or organic). You’ll have a great understanding of how everything works, and will have access to amazing resources that will help you to continue to learn and grow.
  • Don’t be afraid to get out there and introduce yourself to different industry professionals. Networking is key! It is a great way to learn more about opportunities in social media.

CI: How do you see the social and digital media landscape evolving over the next five years? DB: We’re already seeing a drastic shift from desktop to mobile usage. Users are taking to their smartphones and tablets to access and share information on social networks. The next step will be social networks paying more attention to the needs of their users, and making their experience a more personalized one. Facebook has already begun this with their updated algorithm, organically generating content that they know their users will find valuable based on previous behaviors. Other platforms, like Twitter, for example, are following their lead. It will be interesting to see how each of the platforms begins to evolve in this direction. To learn more about Darnisha’s career path, connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


Tips on Saving Money as an Intern by Diane Ly


The cold, hard truth is that most internships these days are unpaid or paid very little. That’s why as an intern, it’s crucial to be smart with your money and only spend on things you need. Here are some tips that got me through my unpaid internship days:

Bring your lunch: An average lunch costs at least $10, and if you’re interning three days a week, that’s $30 down the drain. A good way to take care of lunch is to make a big dinner the night before and save some to pack for the next day. Sandwiches are another filling and affordable way to make sure you’re eating a lunch everyday – a trip to the grocery’s worth of supplies can last you weeks!

Drink your morning coffee at home: There’s really no need to stop at a café every morning for your coffee. Buy some coffee grounds for $5-7 and have a morning cup of joe without shelling out cash at the start of each day. Spending that early in the morning will only limit what you can buy for the rest of the day.

Ask if your company will help with transportation costs: In New York City, it’s typical that a company will help you out with transportation by giving you a Metrocard to cover your trips to and from site; if they’re extra generous they’ll cover the entire month (which costs about $105 for an unlimited pass). Outside of NY, I’ve heard of many places offering reimbursements for gas to and from the workplace.

Unsubscribe from shopping e-mails: This one’s definitely a personal tip 🙂 Ever since I opted out of e-mails from websites like Gilt Groupe and Fab.com I haven’t found myself shopping online at all, which, let’s be honest, is a downfall for many of us. Getting rid of opportunities like that helps more than you think. Out of sight, out of mind…and nowhere near my wallet!


Sharing Wisdom: Starting Up Your Startup

Many students have dreams of working for the biggest companies in the world, while others hope to become their own bosses and turn their business ideas into companies of their own. And in today’s society, it’s more doable than ever before with the incredible growth of the innovative startup world. There are tons of great ideas floating around out there and the hardest part is often getting them off the ground and up-and-running.

We asked five startup company founders for some words of advice from their own experiences that will hopefully be that extra push you need to bring your ideas to life.


Aime-Designer-Monica-MeiMonica Mei, Founder of Aime Luxury, The Shop Society and WhatImWear.In (@AimeLuxury)

“Entrepreneurs have strong spirits. It’s not only about your educational background or your area of expertise; it’s about having a good idea AND the hustle needed to succeed. It’s also about surrounding yourself with the right people – your team, mentors and collaborators will be your support system to see it through. Starting your own company is a rough yet rewarding road to travel on.”


Alex Kolodkin, Founder of Set Scouter c23756


“Find your drive and find a mentor. Let their experiences guide you and your passion propel you.”




julieJulie Smithson, COO of SmithsonMartin (@SmithsonMartin)

“Yes! You have something great but don’t think that someone will drop a cheque on the table right there for you.  If accepted into the community, you have to work for your raise and learn the steps to be a start up company. ”




Brennan McEachran, CEO and Founder of HitSend Inc. (@i_am_brennan)Brennan

“Tip 1: Get a great team – Working at a startup is tough. There are good days and there are bad days. Going through all of that alone isn’t something most people can do. Find a team of people to go through the roller coaster with you. When you’re having a bad day they’ll carry you through it. It’s needed.

Tip 2: Focus on Customers – Get your product in the hands of your customers as early as possible. Learn from them where your app falls short and where it’s doing fine. Focus your efforts on solving pain point for your customers — just remember to take feedback with a smile and a grain of salt. Don’t forget to stick with your vision (sometimes early customers can take you off course).

Tip 3: Revenue – As much as the startup world loves to talk about investing, the truth is revenues are far more important. The companies that are able to grow large without revenue are the exception not the rule. The rule is: cash is king. Keep an eye on your cash and you’ll be able to ride through the bumps… then when investors do show up you don’t have to give them your entire company!”


0d20992Noura Sakkijha, Co-Founder of Mejuri (@Mejuri)

“Having a great team and knowledgeable mentors make a big difference. You have to make sure that you are looking at things from different perspectives and having a strong support structure makes it ten times easier. There are so many experienced advisers who are willing to help young entrepreneurs so do not be scared to ask for help.”




Career Path to Becoming a Freelance Graphic Designer: Interview with David Jacob Duke

David DukeInterviewee Name: David Jacob Duke

Job Title: Freelance Graphic/Web Designer & Illustrator

Company URL: http://www.davidjacobduke.com

David Jacob Duke is from Windsor, Ontario and attended the Windsor Centre for the Creative Arts (WCCA) during his secondary schooling. The program had just begun and only accepted students who showed a propensity for artistic endeavours and offered an enriched course in Visual and Performance Arts.  There David studied traditional painting, printmaking, illustration, sculpture, fashion illustration, musical theatre, drama and video.

At the early age of 17, David first showed his ambitious entrepreneurial nature when he opened his first business, a comic book store. While not yet old enough to own a store outright, it was in his father’s name yet with a Power of Attorney, which granted him full control. It was a short lived venture as David had decided to study Traditional Animation at Sheridan College. At that time the school was world renown and had the reputation of ‘producing the best animators in the field’. During the second year Duke left the program due to external issues which needed his attention.

In the year 2000, David was residing in Toronto, Ontario. He had purchased his first computer and found himself intrigued by the creation of webpages. He began learning HTML and Web Design through viewing source files online, and dissecting them in notepad. He began to experiment with hand coding and began learning these new languages or ‘code’. His intention at the time was to be able to showcase his artwork on the internet and be able to reach a worldwide audience. David’s ever-growing skill in web design got noticed fast and lead to his building sites for others, and eventually evolved to working with and for companies.

David’s capacity for web design grew and became more diverse in order to meet the ever-changing needs and specifications of the clientele. As David refined his skills he found that he was also beginning to be approached for work with print media. Over the next few years, David completed numerous projects for several companies while working freelance, and in some cases directly employed on contract. His passion for Illustration however, still continued and has resulted in many of David’s works being published as covers and interior artwork.

In 2009, Canada was in the midst of a full scale recession. Duke decided to return to school to formally study Graphic Design at St. Clair College. There he excelled, achieving a 4.0 Grade Point Average and receiving several scholarships and awards.

Recently graduated, Duke maintains a steady flow of freelance work in graphic, web design and illustration. He prides himself on his ability to be versatile and able to achieve any style necessary.

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

I have only had the one internship, and that was mandatory for completion of my Graphic Design degree. The internship was at HCA| Mindbox, an advertising agency. I was accepted there due to my experience. They wanted someone that would not have to be guided every step of the way. An internship is meant to place you in a real world experience in your chosen field. There you should learn if you have what it takes to excel and be successful within the industry. Due to my previous years of experience working in the industry, I did not learn the fundamentals I could have from an internship, but I did learn many important skills. I studied and observed the daily operations of the agency as a whole, and began to understand the operations in the context of a network. This gave me an unique opportunity to experience and comprehend what it takes for an advertising agency to succeed.

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

I do not know what the courses are like all over the world, but I would strongly suggest that anyone interested in Graphic Design study as much multi-media as you can. Many Graphic Design programs, I feel do not focus enough on this based on what is required or asked of for an entry level position in Graphic Design. I believe that there is too much focus on print at this point. While I would not want to take away the print experience of learning to work in print, there needs to be more balanced training to reflect the needs of the industry.

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

I can only state that one possibility would have been to study Graphic Design earlier in life, but in doing so I may have ended on a completely different path by now.

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

Serendipitous events that fell in place like dominos led me down the road that I travel now. I started off as a traditional animator, which led to coding and designing websites to showcase my illustration work, which led to graphic design which is where I am at this point: designing, coding, illustrating, animating and eventually in a few years I want to start educating.

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

Typically, I have a few meetings a month with clients. Usually this consists of an information session to lay out what is needed, or brainstorm possible solutions. Mostly though, with long term clients a phone call, or even just conversing through email is enough to sort through things and start working.

In addition to your full-time career, do you freelance, consult or have your own business?

If yes, please share any information you’d like readers to know.  Currently right now I’ve moved into just freelancing. Most companies now only hire on contract, and I myself would rather work remotely and be able to pick and chose the work I want to do. Full time freelance is not for the feint of heart. You must be extremely well organized and diligent with your own work schedule. I actually love to work and feel a great sense of accomplishment by doing work, so my days are generally longer than most. When there is downtime, and either no work or not very much work, spend that time investing in yourself. Learn new things and skills, make personal projects that you can pick up wherever you leave off, and spend time networking and promoting.

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

Do not be afraid to fire a bad client. We have all had them, and if not then one will eventually cross your path. Bad clients take up a lot of time and energy that you could be using to move forward. They can be unethical, unprofessional, unwilling to pay on time (or at all), or just very unpleasant to work with. Fire them and move on.

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

When I have entered interviews for entry-level positions I have always found that it is best to treat the people or person that is interviewing you like old friends that you have not seen in years. Tell them what you have been up to relative to what it is they are hiring you for. Do not be afraid to laugh or show your true self, as not only are they will be looking to see if you have the skills they need, but also that you will be well suited to work with the company. After everyone is comfortable, make sure to ask questions to see if what they are doing and what they want you to do suits your expectations. An interview is not only about them, it is about if you want the job and it is right for you.

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

Do it for yourself. A large chunk of my life was spent trying make sure that everyone else was okay before myself.  It was a long hard lesson to learn in life.

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

  1. Taking initiative, I would not want anyone that needs to be babysat every step of the way.
  2. Laid back and easygoing.  Being comfortable with yourself and able to separate your work from yourself.
  3. Versatile, the ability to not only shift gears among the many hats you need to wear but also the ability to emulate a variety of styles whenever called upon.
  4. Strong skills in graphic design software such as Adobe Creative Suite.
  5. A thirst to continue to expand and learn.

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

A mentor, you mean like Yoda?  I have to say, I never have had a mentor. I’ve always been of the mind-set to just get out there and do it. Take charge of your own future and teach yourself.

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?

I like to express a big shout out to all the bad clients I have had over the years to prepare me for the stage I am at now.

What online resource do you read on a regular basis to get industry news and knowledge?

Truthfully, when I have the time I simply just log into LinkedIn and scan through articles that I have tailored to my interests. When a particular article strikes me I branch off by “googling” points of interest that lead me to further information on the subject.

What design books would you recommend for upcoming designers?

A book that I read recently while on a trip to Ottawa for the Van Gogh exhibit was “Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!) by America’s Master Communicator George Lois”.  The book is written with 120 in-your-face examples to uncover your creative potential.

What industry trend has recently peaked your personal interests and why?

One trend that I see is beginning to grab hold is the use of SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) for graphics.  I’ve been very keen on starting to learn and implement this in my own work and can envision doing so more when designing graphics or illustrations in the future. With the evolution of responsive design, SVG is a valuable solution as a file can be used at any scale and resolution. SVG retains crisp clear graphics at any size.



Sharing Wisdom: Finding Career Inspiration

As students who are on your journey towards finding a long-lasting career and landing the jobs of your dreams, it’s always reassuring to see others who are doing exactly what you hope to accomplish someday—or at least something similar. Having something or someone to keep you motivated and driven is beneficial in the long run because you’ll always strive for more and it’s that extra push that can help set yourself apart from the rest. We wanted to see where some students find their own career inspiration and get insight into what keeps them going in the right direction.


ErikaGrahamErika Graham, Asbury University

“This is kind of weird, but I find career inspiration through my social media accounts (Instagram especially). I use social media to get a glimpse into the lives of people whose jobs I want to have, and what they do on a day-to-day business. Since I want to get into the magazine industry, I follow all the editors at all of my favorite magazines—not just the famous ones like Nina Garcia or Joe Zee, but the closet assistants and editorial assistants as well. You’d be surprised at how many tips you can pick up from Instagrammed shots of an associate market editor’s visual inspiration board or seeing what news catches their eye on Twitter.”


Tere Cortes, University of Texas Pan AmericanTereCortes

“I find career inspiration from a lot of different sources. From my friends, to people who I work with. I try to ask as many questions as possible, to learn different perspectives of something. I also try to read interviews and advice from people who have already the job of their dreams.”



EricZaworskiEric Zaworski, Ryerson University

“The constant flux of the Internet, and the sheer amount of people online who have started careers with it makes it hard for me to concentrate on much else. I follow so many other writers, photographers and musicians who, thanks to the Internet, have made it possible to do what they love, find others who like what they’re doing and build tangible communities, networks and careers there.

The communicative power and reach of the Internet–the ability to share, post, connect and discover, all from a pocket-sized device–makes it an exciting time to be an artist, in any capacity. And we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible! That makes it the most exciting part.

I’m inspired by others online who have shaped their reality with the same tools I have on my desk and in my bedroom. It’s what keeps me motivated to continually push towards what I want to make out of my life.”


Jessica Tucker, Memorial University of NewfoundlandJessicaTucker

“I take the industries I have an interest in and learn as much as I can about them, immersing myself if possible. I am particularly inspired by successful people in these fields and read bio pieces about them in newspapers and magazines and follow them on social media platforms to gain a better understanding of what their day-to-day careers are like. I am also inspired by my friends. I think that surrounding yourself with genuine, hardworking individuals is a source of career inspiration in itself.”




Sara Castillo, University of Texas Pan American

“I always find career inspiration by reading the stories of successful people in my field. It is really interesting to hear how those people accomplished their goals by going from having nothing to finding their dream jobs. Makes me feel that I can create my own story as well and gives me motivation to overachieve, to find ways to be more involved in my career and to not settle with little things but to always aim higher. I believe that inspiration comes from your passion and how bad you want it.”


Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 12.06.43 AM

Christina Dawes, The Ohio State University

“I find career inspiration from a variety of different sources. My instructors and favorite bloggers have helped shape and define my career aspirations. My peers have also inspired me with their fresh, innovative perspective on fashion. With the fashion industry forever growing, there are new job positions being created each day. My career path is inspired by the dynamic people who are using passion and originality to create their dream jobs.”


Career Path Interview: Founder/Creative Director Amy Levin

Interested in fashion? Want to start your own company? Get inspired by this young entrepreneur who took her career in her own hands and has worked hard to get to where she is today.

AmyLevin7Amy Levin is the Founder and Creative Director of CollegeFashionista.com. A Chicago native, she launched the website in 2009 after a semester abroad in London, where the growing importance of street style inspired her to create a community for fashion, photography and self expression amongst the college demographic. Originally serving only Indiana University’s campus, the site quickly spread to other colleges across the globe. Under Amy’s leadership, CollegeFashionista maintains an international presence with 500+ new articles posted a week and regular partners including Rebecca Minkoff, Shopbop and American Eagle Outfitters, to name a few.

A 2013 NYC Fashion Fellow, Levin has served as a seminar leader at Teen Vogue’s Fashion University and a guest lecturer at college campuses across the United States. Amy attended Indiana University and received a Bachelor of Arts in merchandising and business marketing. She is 26 years old and currently resides in New York City.

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

During my senior year of college, I felt completely disconnected from the fashion industry and wanted a way to feel connected, work on my writing skills and showcase inspirational fashion I was seeing around my campus. I realized there wasn’t a platform that focused specifically on college students and CollegeFashionista was born.

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

My workdays are definitely a little hectic — throughout a typical day, I am in and out of the office going to meetings all over Manhattan. If I’m not on the go, I am usually on phone calls with brand partners, checking in with my employees to ensure the business is flowing properly.

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

When I first launched CollegeFashionista, it would inevitably crash and have hiccups. I remember thinking the entire company is lost. All our editorial features are gone. Clearly this wasn’t the case and I learned how to troubleshoot tech issues and to surround myself with programmers who were savvy and able to get any issues resolved as quickly as possible.Screen Shot 2012-09-08 at 4.30.37 PM

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

I wish I knew how to manage my time effectively, prioritize, and not to take anything too seriously. I take my job very seriously but I also know that it is important to have fun while doing it and that at the end of the day everything will get done.

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

It is very important to do your research of the company before going in for the interview. Know what the company is currently working on and know what you can do to make them stronger. Don’t let the interviewer tell you what you can do for them, you need to take initiative and let the company know that you have something to offer.

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

I have had a series of incredible mentors who had allowed me to bounce ideas around and have really helped shaped my business. I think it’s important to find people who believe in you and have experience in an aspect of your business in which you may feel weak. I found five different mentors who all have various expertise and have been soundboards to me over the past three years.

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?

My family. I could not have started CollegeFashionista without them. Being an entrepreneur, there have been so many highs and lows and they have been the unconditional support group through every single aspect. They are truly amazing and I feel lucky for them everyday.

What books would you recommend for talent in your industry?

  • Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
  • By Invitation Only by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson
  • Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz and Dori jones
  • Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

5 Things to Do After a Job Interview


You just had a great interview, and you think to yourself “this is it” — it’s the end of the process. You go home to hope and wait for the good news. However, it’s not over yet, so don’t just passively wait. Make sure you do the following things after the interview to maximize your chances of being hired.

Get the Interviewer’s Contact Information

At the end of the interview, always remember to obtain the business card of the people who you interviewed with. Make sure you have the cards of everyone you’ve met during the interview and have all their names, titles, emails, and mailing addresses correct.

Ask for Expected Decision-Making Time

It’s also important to ask at the end of the interview about a time when the final hiring decision will be made. Usually the decision takes about 1-2 weeks. However, some might take 3-4 months or even longer. Be sure to receive a clear answer from the company so that you can have more control and flexibility to arrange your future availability.

Send a Thank You Letter

A thank you letter is very important — it shows your interest and passion for the company. Make sure to send the thank you letter within 72 hours after your interview. It doesn’t really matter if it is a handwritten thank you card or a thank you email. Although a personal card is preferable, an email also works if you don’t have much time. Your thank you letter should include your appreciation of the interviewer’s time and interest, a reiteration of your capability for the position, and your desire for a further discussion with them. You should also personalize your thank you letter to every recipient by referencing something memorable or specific. See How to Write a Professional Thank You Letter.

Send a Follow-Up Email

Normally, one or two weeks after the interview is a good period of time to send a follow-up email if you haven’t heard anything. The follow-up email should be short and contain your inquiry of the current application status and whether the position has been filled. Make sure to restate your qualifications and why you think you are the good fit in the company at the end of the email. Learn more about this and other job search tips in Jumpstart Your Creative Career.

Make a Follow-Up Phone Call

If you still haven’t heard back from the company after sending the follow-up email, you might want to consider a phone call. Although many companies try to avoid job inquiry phone calls, it never hurts to give it a try. Maintain a professional phone etiquette, speak clearly about your desire and interest in the position, and ask if they need any further information from you. If no one picks up the phone, leave a voicemail and try to call again on another day. But don’t call more than three times — the hiring manager could get annoyed and it could backfire on you.

Written by Cathy Qiu


Flore Dorcely-Mohr from Drew University Discusses Volunteer and Internship Programs

Flore Dorcely

Flore Dorcely-Mohr, Internships and Federal Community Service Program assistant director at Drew College shared her experience with Creative Interns around the globe. Take a close look on what Mrs. Dorcely recommends to current students who are trying to find their way into the creative field.

Tell us in your opinion on how internship or volunteer experience can help students during and after their studies?

They help students realize the practical aspects of their career passions by helping them experience some of the pre-professional activities involved in a particular field. It is helpful to network with people who are already working in their area of interest or just to be able to explore other options, if expectations are different than reality. Through this type of experiential learning, students can more vividly see whether their skills, personality or values match their career choices much more effectively than within the walls of a classroom.

What are some most valuable internship employers your college partners with? What makes their program special?

We value all our employer partners, but those in the field of law or medicine are some of the hardest to come by. Typically, these areas hire interns at the graduate level so undergrad opportunities to do research or get involved in substantial projects are less common. We do however have some special opportunities provided by alumni or friends of the center so these are relationships we try to nurture carefully. And also we have a few employers who only advertise exclusively at Drew so we try to earn their loyalty with strategic efforts at recruiting top candidates for those opportunities.

What professional development courses or workshops does your college offer to students?

We have offered and continue to offer a myriad of opportunities to help students in marketing themselves. We have networking events, panel discussions, resume review days, information sessions, etc. We held a social media branding workshop with a leading author/speaker on the topic and often invite guest speakers (often alumni)from across multiple industries to give their perspectives on interviewing and job searching in general.

What piece of advice would you offer a student struggling to obtain interviews?

First, they should come to our office and meet with our counselors to talk about what is happening at the resume application stage and get their resume/coverletter reviewed. If they are not able to get any call backs, I would be concerned that their resume or coverletter may be the issue. Or it could be that they are not applying for the right type of opportunities for their level of experience. Or it could simply be a problem with their email or voicemail! I once had a student who complained to me that they had sent out 50 resumes and did not get a single call back. When I finally got to see her resume, I realized that she did not have her phone number on it! Another student had trouble getting interviews and when I saw her unprofessional email address, I suspected that employers might have been turned off by it.

What kind of skills are in demand by employers these days?

Employers want people who are innovative, critical thinkers, problem solvers, take initiative and show enthusiasm for the field or business. These are more character traits but since they really can’t be taught, I think it very important to convey the right attitude on the job. These are the types of skills/qualities that we emphasize in the liberal arts. I can teach technical skills with a basic competency level employee, but if I don’t like you, it will be tough to keep working with you. The job marketplace is very competitive and if you are not willing to show these types of high demand strengths, someone else will.

What online resources do you recommend for students looking for jobs in creative industry?

Well, we first point them to our own online database, DrewLink and then we have a few online resources depending upon what type of job they are looking for and in what career field. We just acquired an account for a new resource called CareerShift and that is working out pretty well for finding jobs and contacts.


Flore Dorcely-Mohr is Assistant Director and joined the Career Center at Drew University in 2006. She manages all aspects of the academic and zero-credit internship programs for undergraduates and serves as the Instructor for those courses. She also directs the campus-wide Federal Community Service (FCSP) Program for students earning work-study funds at local community service agencies. She assists employers from all fields in developing and advertising internship and FCSP opportunities for Drew students. Prior to Drew, she worked as a High School Youth Employment Specialist and for the Career Services department at Bloomfield College. Her background includes working with an Executive Recruiter and Career Coach and teaching career development coursework online. Flore is a Drew Alum with a BA in Sociology and an MA in Counseling with a concentration in Student Affairs-Higher Education from Montclair State University.


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?


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.



Career Path Interview: CEO/Creative Director, Maria Rapetskaya


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