Associate Director, Career Services
What is your role as associate director of career services at Pratt?
I am the career counselor for students in Communications Design, both undergraduate and graduate, as well as Digital Arts, Photography, and the Associates Degree departments. I work on portfolio and resumé preparation and create workshops that will enhance students’ experiences in school as well as prepare them for a future in their industry.
When did you come to Pratt, and what background did you bring to this position?
I came to Pratt in 2005 after working as a designer and creative director in marketing and promotions at various media outlets such as Condé Nast, Gannett, and Ogilvy P.R. My background as a designer is the link. Having read through so many resumés and looked through so many portfolios while I worked at these companies now helps me counsel students on what they should include and omit from their materials when they’re job-hunting. Editing is equally important. I’ve also held most of the positions students will have throughout their careers, so we’re able to engage in a more fluid conversation.
What exactly does your job entail?
Since we are not a placement office per se, we work with students in obtaining and maintaining lifelong skills for their job search. That includes portfolio preparation, resume and cover letter writing, networking, and the all-important self-promotion. I also like to touch on how to read the subtext in a job posting. When students learn how to read between the lines they can make better judgments as to whether that position and or industry is right for them.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I’ve always enjoyed mentoring, so working with students entering the industry I love is very rewarding. It also keeps me current with design trends at a very early stage. Another fantastic thing about being at Pratt is seeing all the different art and design on campus. It’s very inspiring to drop in on M.F.A. thesis shows or to see great design within the other disciplines. It adds to being a better designer/artist in your own area of expertise.
Tell us about the Life After Pratt workshop series you created.
Two years ago I started a lecture series called Life After Pratt, which is a series of lectures given by Pratt alumni detailing the expected and the unexpected upon graduating and entering the professional world. What I think makes it interesting is hearing what recent graduates (no more than 5 years out) say about what students should know, pay attention to, or consider while they’re still enrolled. The series has really started to pick up and gets more and more interesting as the design industry changes.
What are the prospects for this year’s graduates entering the job market?
Despite all the bad news about the economy, the opportunities are endless. Right at this moment, motion graphics is very busy, as is designing APPS for mobile devices, such as phones. Web and experience design, motion and interactive work are pretty high on the list. Print with a Web component, and despite the changing rules of advertising ... advertising.
The key is to stay current and see where the opportunities are. The design industry is one of the fastest changing industries out there. What’s hot and relevant right now can change dramatically in six months or a year. Fortunately, Pratt students are taught to think, ideate, and problem solve as well as to design—all positive attributes for any job search.
What types of career services do you offer alumni?
Pretty much the same as what we offer our students. The main difference with alumni is that we brainstorm search ideas or transitioning careers. Alumni can call the main Career Services number (718-636-3506) to schedule an appointment with a counselor or go to http://www.pratt.edu/student_life/career_services/ for more information.
What are your top recommendations for job-hunters in this economy?
Network; join organizations, network, read, and network.
What do you do for fun?
I spend as much time as I can with my family. I’m also an avid collector of found objects such as dry cleaning and parking garage tickets. I see the beauty of typography, numbers or letters, in its everyday form. Found objects might even make their way into a collage.
Photo: Amy Aronoff