Center for Arts & Technology Staff Share Insights on Landing a Great First Job

How to Land a Great First Job

As Centre for Arts & Technology grads are heading out to find gainful employment, we thought some tips from staff and alumni might prove helpful.

“I think the biggest thing to remember is to be confident – confident in the experience you have, the knowledge you’ve gained, and your ability to do the job that is set out for you – whether that is a job you’ve created for yourself or a job a company has hired you to do. Even if you are not an overly confident person, you know the facts about your knowledge & skills so take that forward and present it with pride; clients and corporations will want that attitude representing them.

Also – don’t apply for anything and everything – apply for the jobs you truly see yourself doing or for companies whose mission and values match your own career-oriented goals – you won’t be passionate about something you are not interested in doing and passion is the key to success.” Emily Hubbard (Electronic Music Production Alumni)

“Finding is one thing – most people now just blanket the postings found on any of the myriad job sites out there. Far more important, in my opinion, is to remain diligent on following up with any contacts made, or resume’s sent, or interviews had. From watching my wife go through the process a while ago, this proved to be quite successful as too many individuals just get online and, again, “blanket” the postings but don’t take the time to follow up to ensure the “poster” received it, and also to provide any additional information if he/she is in the running. This kind of puts a voice/name to the process as well, which is appreciated!” Ryan Campbell

“Persistence is the number one thing. Don’t give up, apply everywhere and continue to hone your craft. If a job comes along that is in your field, but not your dream job, you take it! You don’t have the luxury of being selective. Get your foot in the door and start earning that valuable, on the job, experience” Sean Ridgway

“1. Create a list by going on google and searching a keyword that brings up businesses that employ in
your niche (“Web Design Kelowna”). This could be a search term that a client would search to find these types of businesses on the web. 2. Get a great looking resume template from graphicriver.net. 3. Tailor each resume and cover letter to each job you are applying for (make sure to do some generalized research about their company for interview ammo). 4. Save small file sized pdf versions of your resume, ideally with clickable links to your portfolio work. 5. Print resume/coverletter’s. 6. Apply to all of the places on your list, REGARDLESS if they say they are hiring. 7. Practice role-playing all the right things to say in an interview, based on research (specifically for your niche). 8. Get the job.” Kiko Carisse (GDWD Alumni)

“Many people have a blueprint for their education and career, but remember to remain open-minded! My first job wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, but it led me in a wonderful direction.” Matt Redmond

“Quick tips for jobs post-grad: from a photography grad. Use tags relevant to the city you’re in! Social media will get you work. Join any kind of facebook/linkedin groups in your area. “Okanagan Photographers”, for example. People are always looking for freelancers/assistants and backups. Shooting an event for free now, could mean a paid gig next time. Charity events are a great way to get your name out there, without heavy expectations from a client.” Mike Blow (Digital Photography Alumni)

“Network! The best jobs come through the grapevine. You need to get yourself in the position where you are hearing about the jobs before they are even advertised. And in an interview, remember that it is as much about you interviewing them to find out if it is somewhere you are going to enjoy working as it is them interviewing you!” Deborah Lampitt-McConnachie

“Get out there! Any moment can be an opportunity to network. At a coffee shop,
on a bike ride, at an event – we cross paths with so many people in a day, and you never know who you might meet if you don’t stop to ask. Make new acquaintances, ask about themselves and their interests and share yours. It doesn’t have to be work related.

You will be applying for jobs with candidates that have similar skill sets. Companies are looking for someone that not only has the skills required for the job but also someone who will fit with the company culture. These are traits that aren’t easily put on a resume or in a portfolio. Meeting potential employers or future coworkers in casual social settings can give you a huge advantage when your name comes across a desk or into a conversation. Recognition will make them pause and take note over other applicants. Employers are more willing to take a chance on someone whom they feel they or someone in the company knows.” Kat Benslar

“None of the jobs in my entire working life were awarded based on application/resume. In fact, I have never applied for a single job I had in my entire career. To get the great jobs you have to network, network, network! Building relationships so you can show people your talent and work ethic is key. Doing things that get you remembered in a positive way is always better than what’s on a piece of paper. If you want to work for a specific company, get to know the people that work there. One referral is worth ten job applications!” Martin Theiss

“I guess the best advice I could give would be to just keep doing what you love to do. If you’re passionate about art and want to make it into a career for yourself don’t let anything get in the way of that. Make it a reality.

Jump on any and every opportunity you can. Be it training, job shadowing, or doing tests at studios. Also, submit demo reels even if you aren’t qualified or there isn’t a posting that’s right for you. Who knows, they may really like you and fit you in somewhere.

Make friends with your classmates, they may be the ones who will open doors for you to get your foot into.

Lastly. And I cannot stress this enough. Follow up. I would never have landed myself a job if not for following up with the recruiters right away after demo reel night. They will not always go out of their way to contact you, even if they want to hire you. You have to make the effort first.” Stephanie Ritchot (Animation Alumni)

“Hone in on what you are most passionate about; then pursue it wholeheartedly with everything you’ve got. Passion trumps skills every day of the week. Skills can be taught, but passion is found in your blood, sweat, and tears.” Dale Berg

“Treat yourself to the coolest pair of shoes…then use them. Start putting your name and your work in front of those who you respect. Visit every agency, every producer, every art director and every editor, whose work or ethos you admire.” Grant Robinson

“My advice would be to collect references and explore your connections! Ask your instructors if they’d be comfortable being a reference prior to graduation so that you’re fresh in their mind. Exploring connections could help you land not only a great job, but a job that is a great fit for your specific talents and personality (these people know and like you!).” Carrie Kiesewetter

“Some of you won’t get scooped right out of school for a job, and that’s ok. I mean, it’s gonna feel bad, but getting your foot in the door is hard. There are two things you should focus on, making connections with people who DO have a job in a studio, and focusing on improving your portfolio.

[During the hiring process] you will get tests to do, and a time limit on when you need to get them done; and, if you have to decide on getting a job in a studio or making it to your 8 am grocery store shift, follow the path that will lead to where you want to go. You can do it.” Vanessa Woodford (Animation Alumni)

“Connections! Connections! Connections! Industry nights are huge for meeting new people, getting your foot in and leading you in the right direction for where you’d like to see yourself in a workplace. Apply for everything and DON’T be afraid to take on something smaller because, in the Event’s industry, it always takes you further and leads to bigger doors filled with great opportunities. Work hard and go above and beyond if this is your passion. It is always noticed and turns into something that you thought would take years to achieve.” Gabby Urban (Electronic Music Production Alumni)