Is Your Student Graduating in May? Read this Now!
Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013 @ 3:02 pm
A few weeks ago I put a message up on Facebook asking parents what topics they would like to see addressed on this blog. A number of parents expressed the same thing: they want to know how to best support their student in finding an internship, and eventually a job and career path after graduation. Accordingly, we are answering those questions in two blog posts. This post will be about senior year and finding a job after graduation, and the one previous to it it will address internships. I posed the questions that parents were most eager about, and all of the responses here are a joint effort from the staff in the Center for Career and Professional Development. If you have topics for future blog posts, please feel free to post on our Pratt Institute Parents Facebook page or send us an email at email@example.com.
What steps should I be taking right now if I'm a senior graduating in May?
Basically, join something and attend something. Students need to meet as many industry professionals as possible by attending industry related events hosted by their departments, as well as panels and meet-ups with industry hosted by the CCPD and Alumni Relations, plus professional organization lectures and workshops outside of Pratt. We recommend that all students join their industry professional organizations as a student member (major discounts!), and begin the process of getting to know people, building relationships, and networking.
Follow these steps:
1. Update your resume to represent you as young professional developing career relationships and opportunities rather than a student searching for internships.
2. Post your work on portfolios.pratt.edu, the Pratt Portfolio gallery powered by Behance.net
3. Complete your LinkedIn profile. Join industry and topic related linkedin groups that look interesting and are related to your field, in addition to the Pratt Institute Alumni group and the Pratt Institute CCPD group. In the beginning read the group discussions and once you have the tone and understand the group etiquette, begin communicating with members of the group. Comment and ask questions, you will get a lot of support.
4. Go to the websites of all the professional organizations related to your interests and read them carefully. Understand all the services and events they sponsor. Look to see if they have a member’s directory and see if they have program committees. Keep a record of members and committee member names you may be interested in contacting and meeting in the future and see where they are on social media and how they use it.
5. Research and review the professional organizations’ social media activity and sign up to get their newsletters, follow them on twitter.
6. Make a business card, and for some industries you’ll need postcard promo cards as well. Start attending professional organization events. Meet people at the events and learn what they are doing. Stay in touch through email and social media. Offer your card. Ask for a card.
7. Put together a list of firms you are interested in working for—we suggest you divide the list into ABC companies or organizations
• A - These are firms or companies or organizations you would LOVE to work for but feel you must have more experience in the industry to be hired.
• B – These are a perfect match…meaning your design aesthetic, method of working and skills match the company and you could have started working there already.
• C – These are places you never want to work. This category is very, very important because you practice with the C’s. You can warm up with them before you contact the “A” or “B” list of possible employers!
8. After you have constructed the A and B list of employers you would be interested in working for…go to Google. Write in the search bar “Linkedin and the company name and write the words Pratt Institute”
• This search result will show you people who work, worked or interned at the company and attended Pratt Institute or taught at Pratt. They have two things in common with you - Pratt and the company you are interested in joining.
• Read their profiles. Look at the title and where they work now. Review where they have worked in the past prior to the firm you are interested in. This can add new company names to your already existing list.
• When you read the professional profiles learn from their style and see if there is something you want to change on your profile.
• When you find people you would want to communicate with, consider asking them for an information interview, that’s a friendly meeting even before you graduate where you ask questions and hear their story. People always like assisting students who are networking rather than asking for a job.
• Your e-mail to them should say why you have selected them and the three career questions you believe they will be able to answer if you can meet or communicate on the phone.
• Remember to send them a thank you and follow-up!
9. Research Meet-Up’s on Meetup.com and attend a variety of them in your field to network with industry professionals.
10. Take pride in your success – you are graduating! Take a deep breath and say to yourself “I made it and I am more than ready for the next steps”.
11. Make an appointment with your career counselor at the CCPD to learn more than just these few tips and to develop a targeted strategy and approach to reach you goals. Strategy is the key.
12. You can do it, and we’ll help you every step of the way!
What services and resources does CCPD offer for graduating students and recent alumni?
• Career coaching and industry information from a professional who knows your industry and hiring practices
• Strategic career planning
• Print and online resources
• Resume, cover letter and portfolio reviews
• Interview coaching
• Tips and personal advice for salary negotiation strategies
• Workshops and networking events
• Access to alumni mentors and other industry professionals
• A vetted database of opportunities, called PrattPro where you can search for jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities
• Assistance setting up and reviewing online portfolios
• Creative business planning and entrepreneurship advice
• Fine art career options and strategies, exhibition submission reviews, residency and grant application help
…and much more!
Can Pratt connect graduating students with successful alumni in their field?
Yes! We host industry events co-sponsored by the CCPD and the office of Alumni Relations and Institutional Giving specifically for networking between seniors and alumni. We also conduct workshops for students and alumni on the tools and techniques needed to network effectively and meet industry people outside of Pratt sponsored events. We are working with Alumni Relations to create an online database for students to join senior year to meet and network with alumni, which we hope to launch this summer 2013.
What should parents do if their student claims they are too busy to visit the CCPD? A lot of parents seem to be experiencing this!
If a student claims they are too busy, this may be true for the moment. Students will make time for what they view as most important right now and it may be possible that they don’t feel ready to stop by the CCPD for a visit or make an appointment. That is OK. As parents, you want your student to be successful and apply their education to work in the real world. We understand that. Simply remind them that our office is here to help them transition into the workplace and develop a professional profile and action plan. Our services are offered to Pratt students for life and we work with alumni regularly, there are many transitions in every creative profession and your student will find their way to us to get the help they need.
We encourage students to feel welcome at the CCPD anytime and at any level of preparedness. We offer appointments, workshops, programs and events all year round. Students who are too busy to come in person, can access a full range of online resources from home, including the PrattPro database of jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities. They can access and sign up for an alumni mentor online, and download a variety of tip sheets and career planning tools in industry and the fine arts as well. Soon we will be offering online workshops on the career planning process, marketing an online portfolio, resumes, networking and writing effective proposals and cover letters. So, even for the busiest of students, they can visit the CCPD online anytime.
Special thanks to the Center of Career and Professional Development staff who helped with this post: Robert Carabay, Laura Keegan, Hera Marashian, Rhonda Schaller, Brynna Tucker, and Deborah Yanagisawa.
Post by: Meredith Crain