Art Internship Ideas

For all you student artists out there trying to finish up your end-of-the-year portfolio projects, I feel your pain. The weather has finally gotten nice, and while all those liberal arts students are able to study outside out the quad, there you are, stuck in the studio. And for those of you who have not gotten around to finding a summer internship, you are probably disconsolately staring at the prospect of a long, hot summer doing something like house painting.

Well, don’t despair. You may think that all of the good internships are taken, but that may not be true. If you don’t look for internships and ask about them, how will you know? There are a myriad of directories out there for arts and entertainment, too many to list here. Check out your school’s career services, the library or your local big box bookstore to find internship directories. 

I include entertainment in this blog because if you are an artist, you should be looking for opportunities in this industry as well. The video game industry not only needs testers, they also need graphic artists and painters to bring their creations to life. Theaters and opera houses also need artists and textile and fashion designers who can help mount their productions. Casinos and hotels routinely need artists as well to keep their facilities up to par and looking beautiful.

Then there are the fashion houses, the museums, the art galleries, book and comics publishers and the auction houses who need summer help. These are the internships that seem to fill the fastest. Did you find an internship like this whose application deadline is past? Sit down and write out a list of what you want to learn this summer and what you can contribute to an internship site. Then get on the phone and call them up. Ask if the internships are filled and give them the 30-second take on why they should consider you. Be ready with an online portfolio or a mini portfolio you can send out right away.

Not interested in spending the beautiful summer indoors? There are internships in art for you sun lovers too. Check with parks and recreation departments, your local highway department or local arts festivals. Summer camps will often hire artists as camp counselors to run the art activities for the kids. You are a creative person, so be creative. One of my art students collaborated with the Phoenix highway department to design and create mosaics along the Phoenix interstates. Not sure I would want to be outside during the day doing that, but most of the layout and cementing of pieces was done at night.

So you have called many places that offer internships to only be told no? Do not stop there. Another one of my students wanted to learn about pop-up book design and production. There were not any publishers who were offering this type of internship. So we called publishers, and one decided to hire her for the summer. There is no reason you cannot do the same – call a video game producer, a theater, or a park that does not offer an internship. Call and offer your services, but be prepared. Know what you want to learn and what you can contribute and commit to. What if they tell you they can’t pay you? Negotiate for free lunch/coffee service, a stipend, or get them to fund all or part of your transportation costs like a bus pass.

Taking the initiative may mean the difference between a boring summer and one that could change your life. A risk worth taking, yes?

 

Breaking Into Publishing: Old School vs You School

When I moved back to NY state from CA, I ran into a high school friend who asked me what I had been up to “out there.” I told her I had been a freelance editor and writer. She was curious, “How did you get into that?” I had to stop and think because my career in publishing started old school style. I volunteered to transcribe lectures for a small philosophy press publishing a series of books. I became friends with my editor, and we decided to swap transcripts for proofreading. It was a short step from there to copy editing. I didn’t get paid, but I got a lot of valuable experience which led to freelance work in NY and CA. Yet, even though I was a competent writer and took many writing classes, it was still a challenge to get my writing published. My story is typical of so many people trying to get into publishing. At some point, you have to forget old school and go to “you school.”

What is you school? It is taking the steps to educate yourself on this fascinating career without necessarily spending years of your life working without getting paid just to break in. If you went and got a degree in journalism, creative writing, communications or English, you are ahead of the game. These degrees are still in demand in publishing. If you did not get a degree of this type, do not despair. There are certificate programs that can teach you some of the skills you will need. While not every publisher gives these programs credence, the skills you learn are legit. Legit skills, a keen eye and writing talent can help you get a publishing job even if you do not have the “right degree.” Certificate programs include the USDA graduate school’s Certificate in Editorial Practices evening program. Another certificate program is sponsored by Mediabistro.com. Find info about this program here.

Of course, many writers debate the merits of the MFA in writing. Whether you go this route or sign on to a content farm to get your writing published, there is no substitute for practice. A content farm, though a rather unsavory term, publishes authors’ articles while earning money by placing ads on the articles’ pages. Writing on a regular basis hones your writing skills, and a content farm will pay you for publishable work. Some examples include: Demand Media StudiosAsk.com and  wisegeek.com. For a list of content farms, click here.

Breaking into Publishing: Old School vs You School

When I moved back to NY state from CA, I ran into a high school friend who asked me what I had been up to “out there.” I told her I had been a freelance editor and writer. She was curious, “How did you get into that?” I had to stop and think because my career in publishing started old school style. I volunteered to transcribe lectures for a small philosophy press publishing a series of books. I became friends with my editor, and we decided to swap transcripts for proofreading. It was a short step from there to copy editing. I didn’t get paid, but I got a lot of valuable experience which led to freelance work in NY and CA. Yet, even though I was a competent writer and took many writing classes, it was still a challenge to get my writing published. My story is typical of so many people trying to get into publishing. At some point, you have to forget old school and go to “you school.”

What is you school? It is taking the steps to educate yourself on this fascinating career without necessarily spending years of your life working without getting paid just to break in. If you went and got a degree in journalism, creative writing, communications or English, you are ahead of the game. These degrees are still in demand in publishing. If you did not get a degree of this type, do not despair. There are certificate programs that can teach you some of the skills you will need. While not every publisher gives these programs credence, the skills you learn are legit. Legit skills, a keen eye and writing talent can help you get a publishing job even if you do not have the “right degree.” Certificate programs include the USDA graduate school’s Certificate in Editorial Practices evening program. Another certificate program is sponsored by Mediabistro.com. Find info about this program here.

Of course, many writers debate the merits of the MFA in writing. Whether you go this route or sign on to a content farm to get your writing published, there is no substitute for practice. A content farm, though a rather unsavory term, publishes authors’ articles while earning money by placing ads on the articles’ pages. Writing on a regular basis hones your writing skills, and a content farm will pay you for publishable work. Some examples include: Demand Media Studios, Ask.com and  wisegeek.com. For a list of content farms, click here.

What the Recruiter Sees

CLICK. And another job application gets sent out via the Internet. If it is this easy to apply for a job, why is it still so hard to get one? The pace of hiring is picking up, but being in a hurry and these sloppy mistakes can cost you the job. 

This is what I see every day as a recruiter on the job:

  • Generic resumes – please do not send a software engineer resume for a mechanical engineer job. And while you are tailoring EACH resume to the job for which you are applying, nix the wordy objective. You only need an objective – a short one – if you are entering a job field with little to no experience, or if you are trying to switch from one related career to another.
  • Stop using “see resume” on the application page. I often find myself scanning hundreds of applicants for one job. If I had the time to open your resume while qualifying applicants, I would. But I don’t. So increase your chances of getting a shot at a job by filling out the work history section of an application. Correctly. With the right dates. 
  • Do you have a job now? You need to list it, even if it is unrelated to the job for which you are applying. Leaving off three years worth of jobs looks like you haven’t worked in three years. Not a good thing when I, as a recruiter, like to submit applicants who are already working. Working applicants are employable candidates.
  • Reason for leaving – entering “fired” or “terminated” in this field is a guaranteed pass over. If you were asked to leave, come up with a succinct explanation and move on. BTW, entering “personal” here doesn’t cut it either. It raises an automatic red flag about you as a candidate. You’re secretive and you have something to hide. Like maybe you got fired.
  •  Job requirements – here’s a surprise: Many applicant tracking systems (ATS) will automatically disqualify your application if it does not indicate that you have the stated requirements. And don’t lie. If I call you and I ascertain you do not have the requirements for the job, I will disqualify you. And if you get it into your head to reapply for the same job after you have been disqualified or to set up another profile? Don’t. You will automatically be disqualified. Again.
  • Truth in advertising – If you are going to list “excellent communication skills” in your Skills Summary, then do not have poor grammar, odd punctuation, weird texting spellings or typos on your application and attached resume.
  • Phone numbers – Pay your cell phone bill. I call applicants who have disconnected numbers, full voice mailboxes or no mail boxes set up all the time. Why go through the bother of applying if you are not going to be reachable? Find another way to screen out the bill collectors and make yourself reachable. Your cell phone should be listed as your primary phone so that you do not have to wait to get home to find out someone is considering you for a new job. 
  • Do not hang up on me because you don’t know who is calling or because you do not want to talk right now. If you want a job, take the call. You can always politely request to schedule a phone interview when you have more time to talk. And don’t confuse a scheduled phone interview with an in-person interview. Not sure which one I want? Make sure by asking. It is embarrassing for you (and me) for you to show up at the company when all I wanted was a short phone interview.
  • If you have to return my call, don’t do it three months later after you finally found your “lost” cell phone. Chances are that the job will no longer be available. Or you may be in luck, having waited so long to call that the job becomes available again. 
  • Portfolios – not just for “creative” types. More employers are asking for portfolios of applicants’ best work. They don’t add the adjective “best” to be wordy. They mean it. Employers don’t want to see a hastily thrown together portfolio of your work that you put together because you suddenly realized there is an application deadline and you panicked. Add your best pieces to your portfolio as you create them. Then take the time to edit your portfolio according to what employers want to see. It is just like tailoring your resume to the job for which you are applying.

Happy job hunting!

Career Freebies/Discounts

So I was on Facebook the other day, scrolling along and I saw this: Free Pixar Renderman Software. This is great news for the animator wanna-be’s out there. But like most things free, there is a caveat: Renderman is a rendering engine. You still need a rendering application to use it. Get the FAQs to learn more.

This got me to thinking that there must be other free/discounted resources you can use in your career or career exploration. So I got back on the Internet, and this is just a small sample of what I found. I will add more as I find them, so check back.

* Free Shipping – While technically this isn’t “free stuff,” shipping is expensive, especially when you are working in small, rural areas where you can’t get to, say, a medical uniform store to shop. A1Scrubs will give you free shipping on orders over $100. Not a nurse or med tech? Search free shipping or supplies for your career in your favorite search engine and see what pops up.

* Search Engines – Bing – Search engines have jumped on the freebies bandwagon. Bing Rewards is a bonus point program where you earn reward points for searching with Bing. You then trade in your points for stuff like Starbucks and other restaurant gift cards that you can use for business meals or just to keep you fueled throughout your busy work day. Bing rewards will also allow you to trade your points for one free year of 100GB of OneDrive storage. This can come in handy if you use several mobile devices like a laptop and tablets to stay connected to the office. This offer ends June 31st.

* Search Engines – Google – Not a fan of expensive Microsoft Office? Then try Google Docs for free. It also has free Drive storage for the documents you create. Keep an eye out for other free cloud storage. Apple will give you 5GB of iCloud storage for your documents too.

* Teaching Tools – There are a plethora of teaching tools out there for all age groups. If you are a music teacher, a student, or a musician, Chromatik gives access to free sheet music. If you are a high school or college opera student in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Merola Student ConneXion Progam will give 40 students complimentary tickets to their events, but you must apply by May 4th.

* Career Discounts – You may find discounts on resources related to your career or on every-day items like food, drink and air fare. One example: Search military discounts online and you will find thousands of them. Not in the military? Try searching under your professional associations.

* Directories – Directories are useful for finding business contacts or for researching a career; however, the print versions are often expensive and out-of-date by the time they are published. Look online. Need to contact media talent? Go on over to AIR’s Talent Directory. The site also gives info on how to contact talent not in the directory.

*Start-ups – Thinking of starting your own business? The Small Business Administration – SBA has tons of free info, including funding options and the deal on capital and angel investors here. If you need to find an investor, Chubby Brain’s Funding Recommendation Engine will hook you up with capital and angel investors, financial institutions and grant sources. You need to request an invitation code, but it is free.

* Job Training – Free job training programs do exist. For example: if you want to break into hospitality and food service, read Magdalene Chan’s blog, Job Search Central. The blog entry is from 2012, but the phone numbers should still be current.

*Libraries – Libraries often have career centers with free information and workshops. Try your alma mater’s career and academic libraries, as well as the public library. Not near a central library? Check your public library for e-membership  programs like the one at NYPL.org. It is free, and you can borrow anything in the library ebook database or in-person at the many city libraries. You must live in NY state to take advantage of this program, but other states may have a program like this as well.

*Career Help – Some career associations will provide limited free career coaching. Check with your college career center too.  State or county career programs are another option. One resource is the Science, Industry and Business Library – SIBL in NYC which provides limited pro bono/free career coaching.

Obviously, this post is not an exhaustive list of career freebies, and you have to read the fine print so you won’t be disappointed. It is meant to give you some ideas on how to find the resources you need. And, hey, searching is free, right?

 

 

 

Fashion is the Career Passion

What is it about fashion that excites and engages us? People have such visceral responses to fashion trends, either loving or hating them. We also cling stubbornly to our favorite outfits or wardrobe pieces long after their trends have faded and they have started falling apart. Just ask someone who has tried to “borrow” a sibling’s favorite piece of clothing. They know the passion that these articles inspire.

That passion carries over into fashion careers as well. There is something about these careers akin to those in music and art that allow people in the industry to immerse their personalities into their day-to-day jobs, to tap into who these people really are. And a fun part of these careers is literally being able to wear your personality on your sleeve. Just looking at what designers wear whether they are on the street or at an awards show is a visual feast.

The beauty of fashion careers is that it does not take just one type of person to bring trends to the public. Introverts and extroverts need to apply. Numbers people, artists, supply chain managers, writers, marketers, retailers, distributors, graphics designers, web designers, colorists, tailors, shoe makers, textile crafters, CAD-types and automotive designers all are welcome and needed in the fashion industry. Automotive designers? Really? Yup. It is a little-known fact that the CAD or computer-assisted design software that automotive designers use is also used, with some modifications, to design footwear. You will see shoe design and automotive design influencing each other in the “bumped out” front ends of SUVs and the sleek, stream-lined silhouettes of running shoes.

Think that the fashion industry is too shallow or narcissistic for you do-gooder, public service types out there? Well, not true. Beyond all the industry charity galas, fashion needs you too. Fashion designers and manufacturers have solved some of the most stubborn medical problems, including footwear to prevent diabetic ulcers and clothing with special pockets to hold and protect insulin pumps. Fashion does contribute to the greater good. Just ask the Bolivian women who have found a way to knit heart parts for children with defective hearts.

And fashion influences can be seen in myriad other careers as well. Check out Fashion and Architecture Meet in a Night at the Opera to continue exploring these interesting influences. Enjoy!

10 Reasons Why This Job Isn’t For You

You have been looking online for that perfect job and now you think you finally found it. You have the education and skills required. It looks like there is enough meat to the job to make it interesting, and there’s room to learn new skills. What’s not to like? You may just find that out if you are invited into the company for an interview. Here are 10 signs telling you when to pass on a job:

1. When the interviewer is late for the interview. Sometimes it just can’t be helped. However, the demeanor of the interviewer can tell you a lot. Does he apologize profusely or act like lateness is par for the course? If you as the candidate are not allowed to be late, then neither is the interviewer.

2. Your potential supervisor is not at the interview or you are only allowed a short time with her. Another red flag is an interview on your itinerary with only the supervisor and then showing up to the interview to find the supervisor’s supervisor is there as well. Are they afraid she will say something wrong?

3. Try for an interview in the supervisor’s office. One time I interviewed with a supervisor whose desk was piled an impressive foot high with papers and books (it was – I measured it while waiting for him). The mess might have been impressive, but the hairy chest the guy sported because he had left his shirt buttons undone from his collar to his belt was not. There’s creative messy and then there’s I’m-blaming-you-when-I-can’t-find-your-report messy. And the hairy chest thing was just icky.

4. Group interviews where members interrupt each other and cannot agree on priorities are always a fun bet. If they cannot agree on goals and objectives in an interview, you can bet they cannot agree in department meetings either. You are not going to be able to do this so-called perfect job if all members cannot arrive at group consensus.

5. The interviewer complains about companies or experiences on your resume. I have had these interesting interview experiences: higher education interviewers complain about industry recruiting experience because recruiters are too “mercenary” and don’t have the students’ best interest at heart. Recruiters complain about higher education experience because it is “too ivory tower,” not real world enough, and the work pace in higher ed is too slow. If this happens, you can elaborate how these experiences will help you do the new job. However, it is bad form for the interviewer to complain instead of inquiring how these experiences relate to the job at hand.

6. Keep a close eye on your interviewer’s behavior. Does he go from calm to red-faced rage in .2 seconds? Do employees avoid eye contact with him and quake in his presence? If the interviewer is comfortable showing this behavior in front of you in an interview, you may be his next emotional punching bag. Definitely take a pass on this one.

7. Group interviews where the group acts very bored, tired or disinterested are a sign that these people do not work well as a team. Granted, group interviews can be time consuming and boring, but they should not only be interviewing you, but conveying that this is a great place in which to work.

8. The interviewer purposely asks an illegal question and carefully watches you as you respond. As novice interviewer, I occasionally asked the wrong question. However, questions about protected status such as religion, veteran status or parent status are illegal, and an interviewer should not be asking these questions. If you get asked an illegal question, you do have the right to refuse to answer it.

9. Group interviews can be difficult to schedule, as everyone is busy and time to do them is in short supply. However, if the organizer repeatedly asks you, the candidate, to hold open dates because he cannot get the group together, take a pass. I’ve seen groups refuse to agree on meeting dates when they either do not support the organizer or do not have buy-in on the candidates. This type of passive-aggressive protest behavior is not something you want to get involved in.

10. Most interviewers will ask you if you have questions, and yes, you should have some as this shows your interest in the job and knowledge of the field. However, there are some interviewers who will evade answering your more pointed questions or have already decided you are not the right candidate and will barely answer your questions at all. If you ask questions about the company or local area, and the response is a brochure thrown across the desk, the interviewer isn’t doing either her company or you a service. You can find better.

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