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Creative Careers Seminar Success Guide

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Why attend the Creative Careers seminar?

Creative Careers is a seminar where students learn more about a “creative” career from a number of creative professionals within various industries. These professionals share their own personal experiences and perspectives of their field with students who are interested in pursuing a creative career. The seminar’s goal is to provide students considering a career in a creative field with more information from the point of view of a working professional. Students are also presented with the opportunity to participate in an informal networking session with these professionals. Therefore, not only do students get to hear valuable information about the field itself, but each student will have the chance to ask specific questions of the professionals attending the seminar.


What should I expect at the Creative Careers seminar?

Upon arriving at the seminar, you’ll need to check-in at the registration table and pick up your nametag. The seminar kicks off with a keynote speaker at 9:30am, followed by two back-to-back panel sessions of 45 minutes each and concludes with an informal networking reception for panelists and students from 12:00pm – 1:00pm. A popular element of the networking seminar has been the opportunity for a student to win the raffle for a ½ hour “informational interview” with a panelist at their office at a later date.


How do I prepare for the Creative Careers seminar?

● Check out the list of panelist from each category who will be attending the seminar. Identify which panelists are of most interest to you, and make sure you find a way to approach them during the informal networking session. It’s important that you research their professional background, employer or industry to have a better understanding of them and the field they represent. This will help you to ask more sophisticated questions. You can easily start your research by viewing the panelists’ biographies on the Creative Careers website and also visiting the links contained with the “Resources” page.

● Prepare a list of questions prior to the seminar. Sample questions to ask panelists can be found in the Student Portal of the Creative Careers website. Make sure that you are genuinely interested in hearing responses or you might seem stiff or insincere. It’s almost better to establish a personal rapport before asking for concrete career advice. Look for a common basis (i.e. – shared interests, places of travel, etc.) Asking someone about the most rewarding aspects of their professional experience can easily help move the conversation along.

● Be prepared to offer some information about your interests, talents, skills, accomplishments and goals. It will be very hard for professionals to offer you constructive advice if you haven’t furnished them with a sense of who you are and where you’re headed.

● Practice a brief introduction (or “elevator speech”) that can be delivered in 20 - 30 seconds. Make sure the content focuses on your career status and interests, while being clear and concise with stating your career goals. The easiest way to do this is to pick three key points you want to convey to the other person. This may help you stay focused and will enable you to leave a positive lasting impression.


What can I do at the Creative Careers seminar to “network like a pro”?

● Dress professionally (possible suggestions below):

            Men Do:

                        • Wear a conservative suit with a clean, pressed, white shirt that is tucked in.

• Wear a conservative necktie that coordinates with the suit.

                        • Wear clean (polished) dress shoes with matching socks.

                        • Have clean, well-groomed hair and neatly trimmed facial hair.

                        • Have short, clean fingernails.

                        • Cover noticeable tattoos and remove piercings.

                        • Carry a briefcase or portfolio to hold your materials.

            Men Do Not:

                        • Wear jeans and a t-shirt.

                        • Wear a baseball cap.

                        • Wear heavy cologne.

                        • Wear jewelry other than a watch and a wedding band if appropriate.

            Women Do:

                        • Wear a conservative suit with a light-colored blouse that is tucked in.

                        • Wear low-heeled shoes that match the suit.

                        • Wear neutral-colored pantyhose.

                        • Have clean, well-groomed hair.

                        • Have short, well-manicured fingernails with clear polish.

                        • Cover noticeable tattoos and remove unnecessary piercings.

                        • Carry a small purse/clutch and a briefcase or portfolio to hold your materials.

                        • Wear minimal jewelry (earrings, watch, ring, and maybe a broche/pin).

            Women Do Not:

                        • Wear tight or revealing clothing.

                        • Wear stiletto heels, peep-toe shoes or wildly colored shoes.

                        • Wear a big scarf or large, dangly jewelry.

                        • Wear excessive perfume.

                        • Carry a large bag.

● Arrive early so you can mingle with people as they arrive and before key contacts are crowded by others. This will also give you the opportunity to speak with students from other schools.

● Take paper and a pen with you to write down important details during the panel discussions. You may also need these items to write down the contact information for those representatives who may not have business cards, or the name of an individual or company the representative recommends you speak with or research. After you’re done speaking with a representative, take a moment to write down who they are and what you talked about. Quite simply, this will help you better remember and stay organized with “who said what”.

● Take the initiative to approach representatives, rather than waiting for them to approach you.

● Offer a firm handshake, introduce yourself even if you are wearing a name tag, use good eye contact and smile. Speak clearly, show enthusiasm and genuine interest.

● Use your time wisely. Locate representatives quickly during the informal networking session and decide what order you want to speak with each representative.

● Be aware of time demands on the representatives. Do not monopolize a representative’s time, as there will be other students waiting to speak with them. In retrospect, if a representative is speaking with another student, do NOT interrupt their conversation. Wait until the representative and the other student have finished their discussion and then approach the representative.

● Thank each representative you speak with for their time and any advice they may give you.


What should I do after the Creative Careers seminar?

● Take the initiative to follow-up on suggestions provided by the representatives. The professionals attending the seminar will provide you with some valuable information, contacts/leads, and other helpful ways for you to further learn about your career of interest. However, they will not do your “homework” for you. It is up to you to follow through with their suggestions.

● Follow up after the seminar with contacts that you may make. Send an email thanking them for any specific advice they provided you, and remind them of who you are by sharing your LinkedIn profile page (or Facebook page if it is professionally done). Be specific with the reason for thanking them and any positive outcome from their suggestions (i.e. – “I wanted to thank you for alerting me to the website for art jobs in New York. I applied to a few companies and have two interviews scheduled for next week.”) The representatives will be extremely pleased to hear of how they were of assistance to you.


What should I NOT do at the Creative Careers seminar?

● Text or talk on your cell phone during the panel discussions or informal networking session.

● Chat with friends during the panel discussions. Not only is this behavior rude, but it can be disruptive to the rest of the group.

● Approach representatives with friends. Interacting with representatives on your own will provide the representative with a more positive impression of you, and you will also get more attention from them to answer your specific questions.

● Carry backpacks, coats, large purses or other paraphernalia with you. If possible, do not bring these types of items to the seminar. If you do, these items can be stored in a coatroom and will be left UNATTENDED.