By Jeremy Kahn
SCAD’s career fair is slowly but surely creeping up. With only a few months left ’till the fair, best start preparing now so you’re all set come April. Be sure to check the Career Fair website which will be live come late February for a list of all participating companies. You’ll be able to view each company’s logo, profile, website and career and internship information.
While searching, you’ll have the ability to sort companies based on majors sought and opportunities for international students. In addition, be sure to conduct independent online research about your companies of interest. SCAD’s Career Fair page also provides preparation tips, and workshops.
When researching what companies to visit, try to remain open-minded. Many of the companies will consider candidates from multiple disciplines.
The Career Fair provides a valuable opportunity to expand your network of contacts across all art and design industries and around the globe. Make sure to do all your research all of your companies of interest in advance and develop a strategy to visit your top companies of interest.
Be sure to dress professionally. Women should wear a dress shirt, dress skirt or pants and closed-toe shoes with a low heel. Men should wear a dress shirt, dress pants and dress shoes. A business suit would be acceptable but not required.
While many creative companies offer a casual work environment, jeans and flip-flops are not appropriate for the Career Fair. You want the employers to focus on your work and professional attributes rather than any distracting attire. When in doubt, speak to your career adviser about the standards for your industry.
Of course, just like your appearance, your work must also be assembled into a well thought-out portfolio. Your portfolio is only as strong as your weakest piece, so you want to ensure you are selecting your most professional and highest-quality work, focusing on quality rather than quantity. Your professors and career adviser can provide critique and feedback for showcasing your strongest work. If you contributed to a team project, employers will want to hear about your specific contributions.
In addition to your portfolio, be sure to bring several copies of your resume printed on a high-quality resume paper. You will also want to bring a business card and/or a leave-behind piece with a link to your portfolio website. Many employers will want to view your portfolio (print or digital) and/or your process book. If you plan to show a digital portfolio, bring your own tablet or laptop and save your work offline. Practice your interviewing skills and be prepared to network.
For business cards there are multiple venues to get them made. You can go the local brick and mortar print shop route or through an online printing company. Make sure to research paper samples and prices to determine the best quality and value for your project. If needed, many print shops offer free paper sample kits by request.
As you conclude your conversation with an employer, mention that you would like to keep in touch and ask if he or she has a business card while offering yours. If an employer gives you a business card, send them an invitation to connect on LinkedIn after the Career Fair to keep in touch.
Thanks to Kimberly Lopez, lead coordinator for Career Fair 2013, for helping answer all questions whose answers were used in the creation of this article.
Good luck and happy job hunting.