Contributed by Dana Seelye, Campus Librarian and Student Services Coordinator
You know you’ve hit a certain milestone in your life when you hear yourself make comments like, “They didn’t do it that way in my day!” Based on what I observed during the recent Digital Graphic Art (DGA) Portfolio Show at Remington College – Fort Worth Campus, I, for one, certainly wish that they had.
On Tuesday, July 10, 2012, our DGA students had the opportunity to meet with three industry professionals in our Student Center. The Campus has successfully conducted DGA Portfolio Shows in the past, and all of our students were again encouraged to participate and observe.
DGA Lead Instructor John Williams commented on the latest show: “I would say that the Remington DGA Portfolio Show was a resounding success and that the students found it enjoyable and found the industry professionals tough but fair and enjoyable to talk to. They received some very important career advice and were very appreciative of their critiques.”
At the event, a professional digital graphic artist, freelance artist, and business owner met one-on-one with our students. They discussed the students’ résumés, viewed and critiqued their portfolios, and gave them valuable advice regarding the next steps to take as they pursue their careers. I had the opportunity to meet with and observe a few sessions with these professionals and some of the students they worked with.
One-on-One Sessions at Fort Worth Digital Graphic Art Portfolio Show
My first stop was at Michelle Smith’s table. Ms. Smith is a self-employed digital graphic artist, and she was reviewing Krystal Tye’s résumé when I stopped by. As Ms. Smith read Krystal’s résumé, she shared her thoughts regarding its form and content. Ms. Smith encouraged Krystal by reminding her that the changes she was suggesting were to be expected at the beginning of one’s career and were not because she had not completed an excellent résumé. Ms. Smith said, “I needed lots of experience to learn these things, and now you can learn from my mistakes.”
I then moved to the table of freelance digital graphic artist Danielle Smallwood, who is a Fort Worth Campus graduate. She was energetic and encouraging in her approach as she worked with student Charlotte Hicks-Todd. I asked Ms. Smallwood to relate some do’s and don’ts for a DGA graduate preparing to enter the field.1 Her advice for what to do was, “Get that website up. When you meet people and begin to tell them about your work, the first thing they will ask is, ‘Where is your website? I would like to see it.’ You must be prepared in advance for their question.” Her advice for something to avoid had to do with what is known as speculative (spec) work, or work that is unpaid. Ms. Smallwood said, “Many employers will tell you that they would like to try you out and ask you to do their spec work. If you do too much of this, you end up pretty far down the road with no job and still no money. Remember, time is money.”
At another table, former Fort Worth Campus instructor Claudia Butts was speaking with student Troy Szurgot. Ms. Butts now owns Claudia Butts Advertising and gave Troy this advice regarding interviews: “Interviewers need lots of eye contact. It helps to really make a connection with them. I also recommend that you work on the PhotoShop program. That skill will be needed over and over again.” I asked her to tell us one thing she wishes she had been told her first year out of school. She replied, “You will never stop learning. There is no end to the new advances in this art and in the technology. Those who are successful are constantly learning.”
What an apt comment on which to end such a great event for our students.
1. Employment upon graduation is not guaranteed.