Career planning includes key steps each year!

September 29, 2014

DuanesmallAs students meet with their advisors in the coming month to plan course selection, one of the most important topics for discussion then, and at every contact point with an advisor, is their career.

Planning is an integral part of MIAD’s Career Program of Study. Advisors work closely with the faculty and the Office of Career Services to help students progress through a targeted plan of specific career objectives during each year of study.

The tool, “Planning for Your Career, Your Design Profession, Your Artistic Life,” was designed by the Office of Career Services to provide students and advisors a “living four-year plan” backed by resources, services and experiences that lead toward a successful career. It is one of many pivotal linkages between the Office of Career Services and MIAD’s academic and advising programs.

Read more for a detailed list by year of study of the career-related activities students should discuss with their advisor during each of their four years at MIAD. After that, we’ll provide more information about MIAD’s career program.

Student-Advisor Career Checklist

First Year

  • Explore and identify skills, interests, values
  • Research types of careers
  • Identify professions of interest
  • Review career/professional information on Career Services Moodle web page
  • Register with MIAD’s Career Services web system (CanvassCareers)
  • Become involved with MIAD student organizations and activities
  • Consider working on-campus or off-campus (if doing well in classes)

Second Year

  • Investigate and learn about specific professions of interest, including common job titles
  • Learn of, and become involved with, associations and groups related to profession of interest
  • Find specific businesses related to profession of interest
  • Arrange informational interviews with professionals (especially MIAD alumni)
  • Learn about internships
  • Consider part-time, freelance, volunteer work related to profession of interest
  • Research local exhibition opportunities
  • Register with and use CanvassCareers web system and local job search sites
  • Start résumé, familiarize self with writing letters, emails, online profiles (LinkedIn)
  • Research and develop sample agreement form/letter for exhibitions and/or freelance projects
  • Learn about and practice interviews

The Career Services Moodle web page is a good resource for some of the above.

Third Year

  • Develop or update résumé (if applicable, create additional résumés for various professions)
  • Develop cover letter, email correspondence, and online profile
  • Identify samples to show professionals and use for internship/job search
  • Practice interviews, portfolio reviews, phone conversations
  • Become active (in-person & online) with associations and groups related to profession of interest
  • Attend (in-person & online) events and activities involving profession of interest
  • Learn about the skills specific to profession of interest
  • Identify specific businesses that are of interest
  • Conduct more informational interviews with alumni and other professionals
  • Become involved with an internship, part-time job, or freelance projects
  • Exhibit work at MIAD and/or off-campus
  • Use CanvassCareers and other creative job search websites
  • Use professional networking websites
  • Begin researching geographic areas of interest to live/work after graduation
  • Research graduate schools or residencies (if applicable)
  • Learn about business and legal steps for freelancing and self-employment (if applicable)

Fourth Year

  • Update résumé(s)
  • Update and prepare portfolio / samples for professional job search
  • Keep online profile updated
  • Be ready to use cover letters, email correspondence, and phone messages / conversations
  • Review and increase knowledge of professional interviews and portfolio reviews
  • Learn about salaries and benefits; learn about pricing
  • Continue involvement (in-person & online) with professional associations and groups
  • Continue to attend (in-person & online) professional events and activities
  • Continue involvement with internship, part-time job, and/or freelance projects
  • Continue exhibiting work at MIAD and/or off-campus
  • Contact specific businesses of interest (especially in geographic areas of interest)
    • Contact alumni involved with professions of interest (especially in geographic areas of interest)
    • Continue using CanvassCareers and other creative job search websites
    • Actively apply for positions and opportunities (full-time, part-time, freelance)
    • Keep active with professional networking websites
    • Inform family, friends, students, and faculty/staff about career/job being pursued
    • Research and consider employment agencies, staffing firms and recruiters
    • Continue researching and then apply to graduate schools or residencies (if applicable)
    • Proceed with business and legal steps for freelancing and self-employment (if applicable)
    • Establish and verify references / recommendations

In addition to these important activities, on the curricular side, students are exposed to professional practices and real-world experiences – presenting work to gallery owners and industry clients, and having professionals, including alumni, participate in critiques, classes and symposiums across all majors.

And of course all work culminates in the capstone senior project and exhibition, which is eagerly awaited in Wisconsin and beyond by those who hire creative professionals.

Through all points of contact – the classroom/studio, our office or an advisor – Career Services works with students to prepare them for all facets of employment and a successful career.

Another focus of our office is assisting students with on and off campus employment. For freshmen and sophomores, this may mean more traditional college jobs.

The Career Services Office maintains a database of more than 2,500 businesses and 3,500 business contacts that regularly post both paid and non-paid internship and employment experience accessible to students of all levels through the CanvassCareers website. It is the most highly populated career website for art and design students in the state.

So ask your student whether they are meeting with their advisor and Career Services staff, and how their plan for a life that is personally and professionally satisfying is progressing.

Duane Seidensticker, Director of Career Services



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