Entering senior year is bittersweet. It might be your last huge research paper but it is also the beginning of a new chapter of your life: job searching. Job searching can be a challenge if you don't know where to apply and which companies to contact. So start now while there is time to plan, research, and network with the agencies out there. Within my first year after transferring to Grand Valley State University I jumped right into getting involved with organizations and clubs as much as possible on campus. These organizations were an outlet to figure out what I enjoy, network with people in my field, and open up great opportunities to gain experience. This past week I had the opportunity to go on three agency tours through a few of the clubs I am a part of; PRSSA (Public Relations Society of America Chapter of GV) and the art department (AIGA). I cannot stress enough the importance of getting involved with clubs related to your field of interest on campus. I wouldn't have been able to get an inside glance at the "day in the life" of a majority of these agencies without the connections through Grand Valley. Plus you get to travel to really cool places!
On Tuesday, the art department took a day trip to Chicago and toured the Bright Bright Great, an agency creating interactive media and branding for clients. The agency is small consisting of only about 9 people and located a small warehouse type building. Although for such a small team the turn around rate on projects is quick and the work is outstanding! BBG has worked with clients such as Cards Against Humanity, Argo Tea, Nike, and so many more huge name brands. One of the key points I took through the tour was to never stop learning and start creating now. The art department at Grand Valley doesn't offer much education in the interactive media, therefore as a student it is our job to start doing research on our own. Interactive media and social engagement is something that can be self-taught but requires patience and time outside of school work. After graduating the degree has to become more specific when applying for a job, rather than stating to be a graphic designer it becomes a graphic designer for medical field, rock bands, Meijer, etc. Employers want to know a specific job description of what you are interested and the skills you can bring to their company.
On Friday, I toured two agencies in Grand Rapids with the organization PRSSA. The two agencies were DDM Marketing and Lambert, Edwards, & Associates. DDM Marketing focused on staying persistent when applying for jobs. Connecting with employers early and sending small notes every once in a while to keep yourself fresh is a way to make yourself memorable when the hiring time approaches. Lambert, Edwards, & Associates is a public relations agency that wears the hats in a lot of public relation areas. They offer a wide range of services in Automotive, Health, Digital, Investors, and Financial. Interviews are be nerve racking but if you show your skill set and personality visually, be honest and brave then you have a good shot. And always come with questions. Doing your research before an interview is critical! Be prepared to answer questions about the organization and ready to question them as well. It shows you did your research and are genuinely interested and passionate about the position.
This is only part of agency tours that are planned for the Fall semester and I have already gained good information on the tiny steps that can make a difference in landing that job after graduation. Even if you aren't close to graduation I encourage you to start getting involved now and start building networks. Sometimes its not about what you know but who you know and who knows you. #AgencyTours