Landing a job is about the whole picture: skills, self-knowledge, preparation, and, of course, presentation—everything from your resume to your confidence to your clothes. The four alumni shown here, each looking for work, are thinking about all of it.
The director of FIT’s Career and Internship Center, Andrew Cronan, says the dire economy is bringing many alumni to the CIC. At the center, counselors with relevant industry experience can “help you identify your own personal interests, values, and goals, and determine which companies are looking for someone like you,” he says. “Career planning is a lifelong process, so you’ll use what you learn here again and again.”
Self-analysis is critical, but surface matters, too. The right style can impress an employer, so Hue turned to Nicole Grippo ’09 and the CIC to help four alumni at different career stages step up their game. Grippo, a beauty editor at Sephora, has worked as a beauty and fashion editor for Woman’s Day, Redbook, and Life & Style.
Helping Grippo in her mission was Nancy Alusick, who studied Apparel Design at FIT and teaches in the Fashion Styling certificate program offered by the Center for Professional Studies. Photographer Christopher Hall ’11 captured the results.
The alums, the experts, and the Hue team gathered one warm September day— and voila! A transformation was effected. Afterward, the four subjects consulted with CIC counselors. Meet the four here— and hire them!
The Career and Internship Center offers free lifetime career services, including a job bank, to alumni. Check out the CIC web page at www.fitnyc.edu/cic, or call 212 217.3000.
The Creative Type
Background: T-shirt, logo, and character design; concept art for video games— all for small, independent companies
Immediate career goal: Concept artist/character designer for a triple-A game company
Style: Creative types don’t need to wear a suit to an interview, but they still need to look professional—even if the firm is dressed down. Dark denim is okay for an interview when accompanied by a tailored button-down. For a more corporate company, throw on a casual blazer. And polish your shoes.
Counselor’s advice: It’s hard to find fulltime work as an illustrator, so be willing to consider other professions that require drawing skills if you’re looking for more than freelance assignments. • Networking is far more effective than online job boards. Contact people you’ve lost touch with. Set up informational interviews— talk to people who are in the field that interests you, and find out what their job is like. People like to talk about themselves, and they’ll feel less awkward if they know you’re not asking them for a position. If you demonstrate your passion, curiosity, and knowledge of the industry, they might offer to help.
The Stay-at-home Mom Who Wants to Get Back in the Business
Danielle Mastroianni Callari
Background: Six years as account executive for accessories at Liz Claiborne; out of the industry seven years; now doing part-time billing for local doctor
Immediate career goal: Account executive in apparel or accessories
Style: Danielle said, “I feel like I need some edge, and to not look like a soccer mom,” so Nicole gave her a classic sheath dress—but in leather, for a fashion twist.
Counselor’s advice: Catch up with industry changes by reading trade journals. • Take computer classes at your local high school or community center; list your specific computer skills on your resume, or it will raise a red flag.
The Seasoned Pro Challenged by the Economy
Background: Art director, production director, and consultant, for editorial/print; laid off as creative director for Microsoft in corporate downsizing, 2009
Immediate career goal: Creative director at mid-sized marketing firm or department
Style: In Valerie’s industry, the day of the business suit is long gone. Instead of a blazer, try a sweater with a skinny belt; a silk blouse in a jewel tone adds punch.
Counselor’s advice: If applying for jobs in various fields, make sure the language in your resume is targeted to each one. You might think your skills are obvious, but some might not be. For example, Valerie’s experience with all demographics, from millennials to boomers, needed to be called out in her resume. • For an unemployed older candidate, it’s especially important to stay upbeat and busy. Get a sales job, volunteer, take classes, or attend networking events—get out of the house every day.
The Recent Grad
Background: Part-time work at a cosmetics retailer, freelance makeup artist
Immediate career goal: Coordinator or assistant in product development
Style: Yvette wanted to look sophisticated, not so trendy. In this fitted blazer, with metallic threading and updated cut, she looks creative and professional at once.
Counselor’s advice: Young job hunters can appear more authoritative and confident by honing public speaking skills. • Be organized! Keep a journal of companies and contacts you send resumes to; note dates of interviews.