A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to come to IUPUI and be on an alumni panel for a freshmen class in the program I graduated from in 2009. Well, the panel turned into a solitary speaking event, so I got to talk about real life in video and new media for a while.
The advisor who asked me to come speak told me to just tell the truth and tell them things I wish I had been told when I was in their shoes. Needless to say, I didn’t hesitate or hold back. There’s no need for sugar coating. You’re investing 4-5 years of your life and a few thousand dollars in this education, and the rest of your life in the field. You should know exactly what to expect.
Here’s a brief summary of what I talked about:
- Do not leave school until you have at least two internships.
- Update your portfolio constantly.
- Learn and experiment on your own outside of school.
- Consider yourself as a brand and learn about SEO.
- Get active in social media, especially Twitter.
- Start a blog and put it on your portfolio site.
- Actually pay attention in classes that might not seem relevant, because in smaller markets, any additional skills you have to offer make you invaluable.
- Never stop learning. There is so much stuff you don’t learn in college.
- Make yourself known. Do fun things outside of school. Have fun.
- Realize that you are on your own to find your
career. The school has career counselors, the government offers placement assistance sometimes…but ultimately, there are no hand-outs. You’re on your own to make it.
- Take the time to approach people in your industry
now when you have the time to do so. Spend your free weekday shadowing someone.
- Take advantage of anything the school might offer.
You ll be paying for it for 40 years anyway.
- Practice phone interviews and actually go to a
- Nobody really cares how you dress for interviews, so don’t obsess
over it. Your best professional judgment is probably right. Move on.
- The job market is abysmal. Be prepared to fight for a job and do
what you have to do to get by, even if that means taking irrelevant work to survive.
- Don’t take an internship that doesn’t seem right just to get
internship experience. (And don’t stick with one that isn’t working.)
- Do not offer to work for pennies just to get paid work because you
only hurt other members of your industry. And you get paid dirt.
- Don t be afraid to ask for exactly what you want. Be direct and
- Don t be negative or self-deprecating all the time.
- One person s opinion on how something should work is not the
- It’s going to be really difficult, but it s totally worth it if you’re in it
for the right reasons.