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College of Design

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Day at the Career Fair

In the four (coming on five) years that I’ve been at the University of Minnesota, I have never attended a career fair before now. When I first began my studies in graphic design, I was way too intimidated by the “professional real world” to venture to the career fair. When I finally felt I was ready to attend last year, I checked out the employers who would be attending the St. Paul career fair and sadly did not see much in the way of marketing or design.

Fortunately, this year had more in the way of marketing options—particularly the local advertising firm Colle+McVoy. I’ve heard many good things from people who work there, and the work they create is very nice. I went into the career fair hoping to learn more about what they look for in a job applicant, and after speaking with their recruiter, I was able to get some good advice!

The most important takeaway from my conversation for the recruiter was that you should always be proud of everything in your portfolio, and it should be there for a reason—not just to fill up empty space. They’ve seen portfolios that look fantastic except for one project that isn’t nearly as good, and they’ll say that the applicant needs a better eye for determining the difference between successful and unsuccessful design before they’re ready to work for them.

That sounds pretty scary to me, honestly, because what if I include something thinking it’s a good piece when someone else might think it’s bad? I think the best way to prevent that sort of situation from taking place is to make sure that you can explain why you think it’s successful. If you can talk it out and make a good argument for your work, then it shows you have good verbal skills and confidence in what you do, even if your skills still could use improvement. And, let’s be real, our skills will always be improving as long as we keep working. It’s kind of intimidating to think about, but I won’t let that stop me from putting myself out there.

Until next time!

Graphic Design