Don’t Miss the 2014 Graphic Design Career Series

written by Georgia Schumacher 26 March 2014

With weekly webinars taking place from April 3, 2014 to May 1, 2014, the Graphic Design Department at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division announces the seventh annual Graphic Design Career Series. Each presentation is open to current students via GoToWebinar.

In 2014, this exciting event features top industry professionals and designers discussing critical industry topics as well as their creative inspiration. The discourse provides students with valuable insight to contemporary professional practice and career preparation. The talks will include:

Jenn Godbout 
Associate Director of Partnerships at Behance, part of the Adobe family
The Art of Self Promotion with Behance
Thursday, April 3, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

Whether your goal is to work in-house at creative company, or build your own business as a freelancer – your online presence can make or break your career. Join Jenn Godbout from Behance, the leading online platform to showcase and discover creative work, as she discusses what makes an online portfolio successful, why self-curation is so important and how to make the best first impression online.

Sumaya Kazi 
Founder and CEO of
How to Connect with the People You Don't Know, But Should
Thursday, April 10, 2014 | Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

This insightful talk, How to Connect with the People You Don't Know, But Should will explore the power of networking. Sumaya will share her story of her path toward entrepreneurship, and how she utilized networking to become an award-winning entrepreneur. She will provide actionable insights on tools and ways to utilize networking to get ahead.

Bill Thorburn
Chief Executive Officer at The Thorburn Group
Branding as Storytelling
Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

Bill has been honored to work with some of the world’s most prestigious brands: Coke, Harley Davidson, Disney, Formica, VH1, United Colors of Benetton, Nike, Porsche, LaCoste, Capital Records, and Hallmark. The work of Bill and his team has been consistently honored in every industry publication from Communication Arts to ID Magazine for the past 20 years, winning every award from a Cannes Lion to the prestigious Gold pencil. The topic of Bill’s talk is branding as storytelling.

Jeni Herberger 
Creative Pro Turned Corporate Guru and Founder of Creative Concepts
Creativity + Business
Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

Jeni's talk, Creativity + Business, will address why creativity is a key skill in addressing today’s business challenges. Every designer must learn to approach the process with whole-brain thinking. Discover creative confidence – the natural ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out. Learn the fundamentals of creative thinking and be introduced to tools that will spark inspiration and innovation.

Noreen Moiroka
Partner, AdamsMorioka, Inc
Being a Famous Designer is like being a Famous Dentist
Thursday, May 1, 2014 | 7:00pm - 9:00pm ET

If you Google Noreen Morioka, most likely this quote will come up many times. This was one of her answers 15 years ago when a student asked what it was like to be a famous designer. In her presentation, Noreen will share how, together with Sean Adams, they built AdamsMorioka on the simple test of who and what is the right project to work on. She'll share shortcuts to succeeding with clients, professional advice on building a business, and, most importantly, knowing who you are and where you should be headed. Plus Noreen has a few strong pirate jokes just in case you get bored.

Space for each presentation is limited. Register today using the Campus Common Events Calendar!

How to Grow Your Freelance Business

written by Georgia Schumacher 23 March 2014

Fashion Design Freelancer

For many of us, there's nothing we want more than to be our own boss. Whether you are a photographer, animator, or designer, or you run a one-person culinary or retail store, growing your freelance business is the key to successfully working for yourself and earning a living doing what you love.

You may be talented in your craft and passionate about what you do, but it takes more than that to establish and grow your freelance business. Here are some tips to help you improve your freelance business:

Develop Your Natural Talent

Creative skills are like a plant. Unless properly cared for and provided with nourishment, both will begin to wilt. By continuing to improve your skills and develop your career, you will strengthen your work, build credibility, and improve your self esteem. You could:

Find an art school where you can take classes online or at a local campus
• Attend seminars, conferences, or events in your field
• Submit your work to peer-reviewed shows or publications

Increase Your Rates

It sounds silly, but increasing your freelance rates will show potential clients that your work is high-quality and you deserve to be compensated accordingly. Many freelancers assume that they have to settle for low payments because of the vast number of freelancers available to interested parties. But just because there is someone out there who will paint a portrait for five dollars, doesn't mean all consumers want a portrait worth five dollars. Setting high, yet reasonable, prices for your work will attract customers looking for high-quality work from a trusted freelancer.

Promote Your Brand

Many people turn to online resources before making a purchase of goods or services. When they come looking, will your business be there? Make sure your business has a modern, fast and easy-to-navigate website that is in tune with your brand's visual and written messages. Be sure to include the following on your website:

• Samples of your work
• Contact information (phone, email, social media)
• Testimonials from happy clients
• List of services offered
• Any art school you've attended or any relevant degrees

You can also promote your brand and build positive relationships with your customers via social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram provide a personal connection with potential clients and can help them view you as a familiar, trusted business.

Network with Fellow Artists

Just because you are working for yourself doesn't mean you have to figure everything out by yourself. Join a group of freelancers online or in your area for support, ideas, and possible collaborations. Attend events at local art galleries or art schools. If you're an art school graduate, get in touch with other alumni. By networking with others in your field, you could even learn valuable information that could help your freelance business grow!

Employment & Experience Gaps: Overcoming Resume Challenges

written by Georgia Schumacher 9 December 2013

Thinking about taking the next step in your career? Then it's time to look at your resume! For many people, however, building a resume can seem complicated. You may be entering a field where you don't have prior professional experience, or perhaps you have gaps on your resume from taking time off for personal reasons or being let go due to circumstances beyond your control.

Despite your concerns, these issues don't have to be dealbreakers, and, with a little ingenuity, you too can communicate to potential employers your value as an employee. Approach your job search with a positive attitude, focusing on all that you can offer employers. When you're working on your resume, consider these helpful tips.


Highlight the Experience You Have

True, you may not have spent the last year in a related job or even a formal role, but you may have completed a number of freelance or volunteer projects that required you to utilize the same skill set you'll use in a full-time position.

Think about it; have you been in charge of event planning, advertising, photography, or web design for any local clubs or businesses? Highlighting these projects and your clients shows not only that you are experienced, but also that organizations trust and value your skills and opinions. It's even better if you can demonstrate the success and outcomes attributable to your work. 

Focus on Your Skills

Employment and experience gaps are less apparent if you put emphasis on other parts of your resume, including your education, knowledge, skills and qualifications. Kim Isaacs, a resume expert, suggests starting with an objective statement to “summarize your goal as well as your top qualifications. This will draw attention to your selling points and downplay your work chronology.” Also, when you're applying for jobs, don't let experience requirements scare you off, especially if the difference is only one or two years. If your skills and other qualifications match, the experience requirements may be a little flexible

Don't Let Your Resume Stand Alone

Your resume isn’t all potential employers consider when assessing your employability. Your portfolio will say a lot about your abilities and expertise. Plus, the cover letter is a powerful tool for communicating your skills, career goals and attitude. Craft your letter for the specific position for which you're applying and talk about how your past experiences and education have prepared you for success in that role.

Related Posts

- 4 Keys to Starting a Freelance Business
- Learn How to Impress in a Phone Interview
- 9 Sites to Use for Your Creative Job Search
- 6 Quick Ways to Take Your Resume up a Notch
- Top 7 Skills Your Graphic Design Portfolio Should Showcase

4 Keys to Starting a Freelance Business

written by Georgia Schumacher 23 October 2013

desgining at home deskTo begin a successful freelance business as an artist, you need confidence, talent and knowledge about what business practices will protect your reputation and help you turn a profit. If you're tired of the daily grind or find you need a more flexible routine, working on your own can be a common sense solution. Follow these suggestions to get a jumpstart on your start-up success.

1. Design Your Online Face

Freelancers aren't employees, but they're still professionals. Look the part by creating an online presence that speaks to your top skills. Have a logo that represents your brand and your values, design a website and blog where you can share new projects, and work with an email list building service to generate a pool of potential customers.

Take care to use social media to represent your business in its best light. This means keeping your personal comments to your personal pages, and ensuring that every professional post is helpful for your followers. If you aren't sure how to create viral posts that your followers will pass along to their friends, consider working with other freelancers to improve your online appeal.

2. Make Client Payments Easy

If you work online, there are a number of ways to make payments easier for your clientele. Using an online service like Paypal, you can process credit card payments, or use a service like to have money sent straight to your bank. Set up an invoicing system, and spell your terms out on your website.

Let clients know that large projects may require milestone payments or a deposit upfront. Knowing their responsibilities can make people more likely to make those payments on time. Having a system will also streamline your tax issues, such as sending W-9s out to clients who pay you more than $600 a year or filing your quarterly taxes.

3. Network Online and In Person

Too many freelancers get tied to their computers, and wind up a slave to a different kind of daily grind. It's important to make sure you get out of the house. Even if building your business is your main focus right now, use it for motivation to get out and about. Check out local events for professionals, including chamber of commerce events. Take along business cards with your relevant contact information, so that when someone needs your skills it will be easy to get in touch.

4. Set a Sensible Schedule

To make sure work doesn't take over your life, set a schedule that works with your natural routine. If you're a morning person, get up a bit earlier. You could have your work done by the time the kids come home from school. Are you a night owl? Sleep in and stay up until the wee hours working on projects.


Living the freelancing life can be liberating, as long as you mind your Ps and Qs. Once you have your degree from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh -- Online Division, you'll have both the knowledge and the credentials that can help you land jobs. Using these tips, you can put your education to work earning a living from home.

Read more: Forbes.Com: Nine Steps to Freelancing Success

Learn How to Impress in a Phone Interview

written by Georgia Schumacher 14 October 2013

Phone for InterviewAre you a phone interview novice? If you’re applying for a new job, phone interviews are often the first step in the hiring process. Don’t get caught unprepared!

If you’ve never done a phone interview, you may have a lot of questions. How will it be different from an in-person interview? Why a phone interview instead of meeting face-to-face? Does this mean they aren't serious about hiring you? First of all, getting a phone interview is a great sign so don’t be nervous—be excited!

Sometimes employers screen potential candidates with a short phone call, while other hiring managers conduct a complete interview over the phone before inviting you to the office. Either way, let’s explore what you can do to be ready.

Once You Start Applying

1. Keep a contact list easily accessible with the company name, position and contact information for each position for which you apply. This way, you know immediately who is calling and about what job.

2. If possible, give the employer your private phone number. If you provide a number that someone else may answer, be sure that person will take a detailed message and inform you immediately when an employer calls.

3. Return calls within 24 hours. If you wait much longer, they may think you aren’t interested.

4. If an employer calls unexpectedly, explain that you would like to talk but you are busy at the moment. Politely ask to schedule time to talk later in the day or week. This gives you time to mentally prepare, review your resume and the job description, and think about any questions you'd like to ask.

Before the Interview

1. Find a quiet place for the interview, and advise others to not disturb you during that time. Be ready for the call a few minutes early just in case.

2. Print out a copy of your resume and job description and get a pen and paper for taking notes.

3. Practice like you would for any other interview – even though it’s over the phone, you’ll get a lot of the same questions.

4. Dress up a little – it can make you feel more confident and professional.

During the Call

1. Carefully listen to the interviewer, consider each question, and pause briefly before answering. Although it’s easy to ramble when you’re nervous and you can’t see the body language of the interviewer, just be confident and make your answers direct and to the point.

2. Toward the end of the call, ask about the next step in the process; this shows your interest and helps you understand what to expect.

3. Get the interviewer's contact information so you can follow up later.

After You Hang Up

1. Thank the interviewer in an email. Include a sentence or two about why you're a good fit for the position, relating it to something you discussed on the phone. If you didn't answer a particular question well during the interview, you can also briefly expand upon what you said on the phone.

2. Relax and reward yourself with something you enjoy! Hopefully, you’ll be hearing be back soon and on your way to the next step in the hiring process.