7 Things to Never Do in a Job Interview

written by Georgia Schumacher 3 July 2014

Many people say that first impressions are the most lasting. In a job interview, this is doubly true. Job interviews are your chance to make a stellar first impression in person. At this point, the interviewer knows a lot about your art school education, technical skills, and work experience from your resume and application, so it's time to put a face on that information. Make it count by avoiding these pitfalls.

1. Don't leave your cell phone on.

Before the interview, turn the phone off, or, if possible, don't bring it at all. Receiving calls or texts during an interview tells the interviewer that you have better things to do and that the job you're looking at isn't a priority.

2. Don't badmouth current or former employers.

First of all, ranting about a previous employer is unprofessional. Second, you never know how this company might be related to your former employer. Perhaps that company is a valued client, or maybe the interviewer's spouse works there. Play it safe and stay professionally neutral about entities with which you had a bad experience. It'll show that you're above emotional reactions in the workplace, as well as avoid starting off with any poor relations.

3. Don't forget to research the company.

Solid candidates do their due diligence before the interview by getting acquainted with the business, their products or services, what makes them unique in the industry, and other pertinent information. Go in with a good idea of what the company does, how they do it, and where they are headed.

4. Don't be late.

Being late sends off a bad vibe. The perfect time to arrive is about ten minutes prior to the appointment time. This tells the interviewer that you are punctual but not desperate.

5. Don't lie.

It's tempting to tell a little white lie to land a job you are confident you can excel in. Don't. Even if your job performance is outstanding, a company can fire you years later for lying on your initial resume, application, or during the interview.

6. Don't talk about money or benefits.

The interview is the midway point of the hiring process -- between the initial contact of submitting your application and the end point of receiving a job offer. Keep the interview about your qualifications and what you have to offer the company, as well as what they have to offer you in experience and upward mobility. Save the negotiations on pay and benefits until they have extended you an actual job offer.

7. Don't forget to bring an extra resume.

Always have an extra resume on hand in case the interviewer didn't get a copy, misplaced theirs, or needs a clean copy without their scribbled notes. Even if your resume includes a link to your online portfolio, don’t forget to bring a physical copy if at all possible so that you can better discuss your natural talent as well as show the creative work you completed in art school and past jobs!

Why You Need an Online Portfolio

written by Georgia Schumacher 1 July 2014

Online PortfolioThere are many reasons why you, as an art school student or graduate, should have an online portfolio, but finding jobs and landing project work are certainly two major reasons to make sure yours is up and running. It doesn't matter if you're a freelancer trying to fill your schedule with client work or a career creative working your way up the corporate ladder--an online portfolio is one of the most important assets you can have. Here's why:

Freelance Creative Professionals

As a freelance creative professional, you're asking clients to take a chance on you. Until you have a reputation for delivering quality work, your portfolio is the only thing they know about you and your services.

Take photography for example. Today, everyone has a friend or family member with an fancy SLR camera that seems professional. However, not all of these photographers compose professional images or have studied photography at an art school. An online portfolio helps clients figure out who can deliver top-notch work versus those whose pictures are less polished. The same is true of other creative services where the lines between amateurs and true professionals can be hard to see without work samples.

Creative Careers and Job Searching

Sticking with the photographer example, it's easy to throw the title “photographer” on your resume. Anyone with an SLR camera and a single paying client can call themselves a professional photographer. This makes it difficult for hiring managers to differentiate between the top talent and relative beginners. However, one look at your online portfolio will let an employer know exactly what type of work you can deliver.

Even better, having your work show up in search results can yield unsolicited calls from staffing companies looking for your skills and services. Rather than plastering your resume all over town, create an online portfolio and employers can contact you directly.

These same ideas apply to all art school students and creative professionals, including web designers, game designers, photographers, interior designers, animators, graphic designers and all manner of creatives. Starting an online portfolio will help you:

• Land freelance gigs.
• Find side projects.
• Get in front of interviewers.
• Have your projects appear in search results pages.
• Land the job you've always wanted.

People need to see what you've created if they're going to hire you for their next project, and an online portfolio is one of the best ways to display your talent for prospective clients. Get started on yours today!

Interested in attending art school? Learn more about The Art Institutes!

Essential Advice for Pursuing a Creative Career

written by Georgia Schumacher 3 June 2014

Person Starting a New Career

You're a creative person, and you've always wanted to pursue your passion as a career, which is exactly why you came to art school. When you have that special combination of talent, passion, and a drive to succeed, an art school education followed by a creative career is an obvious choice.

You bring a lot to the table as a creative individual, including innovation and a unique way of looking at challenges and tasks you encounter in a day-to-day workplace. With the possibility of automating more menial tasks in many industries, employers look for employees who have strong critical thinking skills, interesting perspectives, and thought processes that can't be replicated by a computer—employees like you. However, to set yourself up in a creative career that is fulfilling and financially stable can take hard work and dedication, so here are some techniques to get you started.

1. Market yourself

"Show your work" is a common adage in the arts, and it applies just as well to creative careers. Learn how to sell yourself. Your business skills are arguably as important as your creative talent, and if you can't market yourself, it doesn't matter how good you are at what you do. Learn how to reach clients through social media profiles, maintaining a blog, and creating an online portfolio so you can easily show it to companies looking to hire. These skills serve you well whether you're after a job at a corporation or agency, or you want to end up creating a thriving freelance business.

2. Bolster your network

The next essential is networking within your industry. Many jobs are all about who you know, and in the creative field, that means who you sees your profile and portfolio. Stay in touch with the people you went to art school with and get to know other alumni. Talk to people about your work, attend trade shows, conferences, and directly visit businesses that hire for the type of work you're looking for. You want to get to know people, companies, and the movers and shakers in your field.

3. Plan your progress over time

It’s always good to dream big, but you’ve got to plan a path to reach your end goal and accept that working your way up will likely take time and hard work. Remember, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities only come around, well, once in a lifetime!

You may not end up in your ideal job immediately after graduating from art school, but as long as you're actively taking steps towards career progression you can build up to the position and salary you desire. Two ways to move forward in your career after art school include taking freelance jobs to expand your network and your professional portfolio, and applying for jobs across a variety of industries that may be interested in your particular creative flavor.


12 Practical Tips for Those Pursuing Creative Careers 
9 Dream Jobs that Actually Pay

4 Cutting-Edge Career Options in Computer Animation

written by Georgia Schumacher 8 May 2014

Car AnimationWhether it’s working on the hottest new installment of a popular PC game franchise or adding effects in post-production to the latest Hollywood sci-fi thriller, there are a wide variety of job opportunities for graduates with degrees in animation these days. With continued demand in traditional entertainment sectors, as well as a need for animators cropping up in industries as varied as healthcare and automotive, the field of computer animation is a good field for those seeking an exciting and rewarding career path that will sustain them into the foreseeable future.

The following are the typical sectors in which computer animators find themselves employed, as well as some new industries increasingly requiring the skills of computer animation talent.

Gaming and Computer Entertainment

Video game and computer entertainment studios employ both 2D and 3D CG animators to bring their storyboards and characters to life, often under the direction of a key animator or director. In some cases, animators are given loose guidelines and creative freedom to create at-will, provided that they meet deadlines and release schedules. Depending on the size of the company and team, an animator’s role in this capacity could range from working on one small aspect of a title to taking on principle animation responsibilities in all facets of the production.

Motion Picture, Film, and Television

Fully computer-animated films, as well as live-motion productions with significant animation sequences, are typical of today’s big budget production. The vast majority of animators find themselves working for studios in monthly or year-long projects in sizable teams of artists and animators working in conjunction to bring 2D or 3D animated features to life. Television projects are usually smaller in scope and may consist of piecemeal animation sequences or advertising/commercial work.

Aerospace and Automotive

Animators are increasingly finding employment with aerospace and automotive companies, realizing prototypes and concepts for demonstration and marketing purposes. An animator’s job duties in these sectors may range from building 3D renderings and animations of subsystems (such as transmission assemblies or engines) to designing sequences of complete vehicles or air/spacecraft in motion.

Medical and Pharmaceutical

The medical and pharmaceutical industries are increasingly relying on 2D and 3D computer animation, simulations, and renderings to depict complex biochemical interactions and medical device functionality. For example, animators employed in this capacity often find themselves using their skill sets to simulate pharmaceutical mechanisms and processes occurring on the nanoscale — often in educational, research, and investment-related settings.



Working with Clients: Balancing Opinions & Expertise

written by Georgia Schumacher 1 May 2014

CommunicatingAn inevitable occurrence in the life of every art school graduate is a conflict between your vision and the opinion of the client you intend to serve. You can imagine some of the issues when disagreement arises — for example, clients who are steadfast in their ideas, emboldened by the fact they are paying for the service and therefore, assume a sort of authority, challenging you, the artist, who is trained, experienced, and demonstrates a true talent for your craft. Added to this dynamic is your desire to prevent a rift so contentious that you damage the relationship and threaten to destroy your chances at future business from the client.

Even if you learned an array of impressive new creative skills at art school, communicating your clients is a skill you can’t afford to ignore. So, what are the best ways you can balance the opinions of your client and your experienced ideas and vision?

Keep an Eye on the Big Picture

First and foremost, whenever a conflict arises with a client, be sure to keep it all in the proper perspective. Oftentimes, an artist will take the discontent personally and allow a range of negative thoughts to be injected into the project. Allowing the disagreement in artistic opinion to affect you personally is not a healthy and productive way to operate and will do nothing to solve the issue. Avoiding the feeling of a personal affront is easier said than done but is, nevertheless, a point that cannot be overstated. What is most important is your ability to satisfy the client’s requests while making every effort to provide your experienced and talented artistic eye.

Keep an Open Mind

This advice seems to go without saying, and should be a standard rule of working with clients and colleagues. However, in the case of dueling opinions regarding a client’s project, you should make a special effort to remain as personally detached from your ideas as possible — enough to give the client’s suggestions a fair and dispassionate review.

Remembering to maintain objectivity not only affords you the ability to absorb your client’s opinions in a fairer and more approachable demeanor, doing so will allow you to better understand what is going to be required of you once the back and forth has ceased. You do not want to be so intransigent in your position that you are unable to hear the countering opinion, only to be left without definite direction once the dust settles, as you go about altering the project.

Give the Client Some Credit

While many of your clients lack the artistic education and experience you bring to the table, the client has at least one advantage — perspective. Your client is likely skilled at identifying the target audience in ways that you may be unable to perceive. The client’s perspective is honed over time and should be revered for nothing if not the experience that informs the opinion.

A client who has a different set of goals and offers opinions as to how to achieve those goals, no matter how different from your opinion, is not always doing so from an undeservedly powerful position. Their experience should be duly considered, and you would be wise to listen to their perspective and needs.

If you still disagree with their opinions, then calmly and professionally communicate your reasons, backing your opinions with evidence and data from user and case studies (some of which you may have saved from your art school classes) as well as blogs and expert opinions where possible. Explain how your choices could benefit their business and help them achieve their goals, as well as how doing something else may detract from these same goals. Ideally, you can combine their audience knowledge with your creative expertise to build something truly effective and inspiring.