Four-Year Plan for Career Success!
Achieving success as a working artist is not just about tackling your skills in the studio but also includes activities like developing relationships with professional working artists, gaining career-related experiences, focusing on what is the right path for you as an artist, and developing a sense of who you are and what you can contribute as an artist. To provide a structure for building your own career success, click on the Career Services four year plan and work on the items listed for each year throughout your degree program.
If you need assistance or have questions, be sure to ask for help! Contact Career Services at email@example.com or call 901-272-5160.
Internships are an invaluable experience practically, technically, and artistically. They are the number one way MCA students get hired after graduation. Through an internship, undergraduates and masters of fine arts students gain real-world experience, learning the ins and outs of a profession in their chosen field of interest. Students build professional networks that can last throughout their entire career.
With over 80 approved sites in Memphis alone, there are many opportunities to support each student’s individual career path. Students can work at sites approved outside of Memphis, from New York, to London, to Hong Kong! Over the last several years students have interned at sites including the Gagosian Gallery, Polaroid 20×24, Creative Time, and Kate Spade in New York. To discuss specific internship sites and the benefits of the internship program further, to review listings or to get a site approved, visit or contact the Director of Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know you’re a busy student and making the time to do independent research on all things career-related is not always on the top of your priority list. With this in mind, the Department of Career Services offers workshops every month on the essential things you need to know to get your career plans jump-started. At just an hour long and usually held during lunch, these sessions fit perfectly into your active academic schedule. Heck, you can even bring your lunch, so you have no excuse NOT to be there. Check out just a few of the workshop topics offered below.
Graduate School Workshop: Wondering if you need to go to graduate school for an MFA? Don’t know how to choose an MFA program? Wondering what to include in your portfolio? Can’t decide where to start when it comes to applying for an MFA? All these questions and more will be covered in MCA’s Graduate School Workshop. All are welcome, so bring your lunch and munch while you listen to the whys and ways to go about finding your ideal Graduate Program. Professionals will give a presentation on how to simplify the seemingly-complex process of choosing a Graduate School. If you’re ready to apply, or are just wondering what an MFA is all about, don’t miss this excellent hour of information.
Networking Workshop: Networking: you’ll hear this word a lot if you come to any Career Services events, but what exactly does it mean? The Networking Workshop is your chance to find out! We’ll talk about what a network is, how to find one for yourself, the professional tools and local resources at hand, and much more. This workshop is essential for all artists, particularly Fine Artists, looking to make it in any art market today.
Calls for Entry Workshop: You hear about calls for entry all the time, but why are they so important ? Calls for entries, proposals, and contests are excellent ways to get your work and your name out in the professional art world. Judges and curators for most events are usually top curators, gallery owners, critics, and artists themselves – so get in their orbit by putting your work out there. This workshop will not only cover the importance of these opportunities, but also how to choose which events to enter, how to find events, and the proper way of presenting your work or ideas to judges or a committee. Don’t miss it.
Portfolio Workshop: As important as the resume, the portfolio is the artist’s ticket into the competitive, professional art world. This workshop will cover portfolio composition, preparation, and presentation, including alternative medias and their pros and cons (i.e. slides versus digital images, paper copies, etc.). Not only will we cover the technical aspects of your portfolio, we’ll teach you how to talk about the work within it by seeing professional Memphis artists present their own working portfolios. This is a workshop you can’t afford to miss.
Interviewing Skills Workshop: Anyone, from artist to law student to sales rep. – the interview can be one of the most intimidating aspects of the entire job hunting process, but it doesn’t have to be! In this workshop, we will talk about everything from answering those hard questions (So tell me a bit about yourself.), topics you should avoid, how to spin answers to make you the shining star of the interview, to handling salary negotiations. We’ll also cover body language, appropriate attire, the importance of researching the company or business you’re interviewing with, the rules of basic interview, and just some general tips (like fill your gas tank and plan your driving route the day before) so that your first interview experience, and everyone after it, will be no sweat.
TAILORED RESUME MEETING
Bring your resume by the Career Center for a quick look-over and see what you can do to make your resume truly stellar. If you have no clue where to begin, make an appointment and you and the Director of Career Services can work together, step-by-step, on the full realization of your resume and/or cover letter. The computer in the Office of Student Services is exclusively for students who want to write their resume or cover letter, or do a full job search, with assistance from the Director of Career Services.
ALUMNI MENTORING PROGRAMS
They’ve been where you are if you’re about to graduate from MCA, so let them help show you the ropes. If you know you are headed into a specific field or to a different city, let the Directors of Alumni Relations and Career Services work to find an alumni who could serve as a mentor. Your mentor is there to offer guidance and advice about becoming a professional designer/artist. And the terms of the relationship are up to you, it can be as casual as a few emails her and there for particular questions, on up to actually shadowing your mentor in his or her office/studio. Your mentor is more than just a sounding board-–they can be the beginning to your professional network as a working artist. Remember, your mentor may be 5, 10, 15, sometimes 20 years into his or her career after graduating from MCA, so they know the ins and outs of being a successful artist–from what to do to whom to know. So don’t hesitate to use all the resources that your mentor has to offer.
INTERVIEW PRACTICE SESSIONS
Ask anyone, from artist to law student to sales rep.-–the interview can be one of the most intimidating aspects of the entire job hunting process, but it doesn’t have to be! Making an appointment for an Interview Practice Session is the first step to alleviating that stress. In the practice session, you will have a real mock interview with the Director of Career Services, so you can experience what it’s like to be put in the spotlight. Each session is video recorded for a post-interview review and analysis of your body language, the answers to your questions, and the general impression you make on a potential employer. You can see for yourself how you come across in an interview situation so that you can learn how you can improve and practice until you get it right!
ONE-ON-ONE COUNSELING SESSIONS
Not sure of where your college experience is taking you? Want to know what markets and skills are in demand? Haven’t clues as how to go about looking for a job? Don’t know what classes will best enhance your capacity for success? Get those answers and more from the Director of Career Services.
This single day event, held every April, is perhaps the most important Career Services event any student could attend. Why? If you’re looking for a job – full time, part time, freelance, or internship – you can interview on the spot, meet representatives of companies and businesses where you’d like to work, and do a little self-promotion all at one place in one time. Even if you’re not looking for a job, this event is an excellent one to attend because it will give you both great interview experience and insight into the contemporary job market: what kinds of companies are hiring? What kind of skills and qualities are they looking for in their employees? What are the trends in the current art markets? Businesses from all spectrums of the art world attend: from galleries and museums, to graphic design firms and ad agencies, to individual fine artists looking for studio assistants with everything in between. This event is not to be missed, even if you’re a freshman or sophomore, or not currently looking for a job because the better you understand the job market, the better prepared you’ll be when you’re ready to enter it.
GIVE BACK PROGRAM
While our students at Memphis College of Art study the principles of art and design and begin to emerge as accomplished artists and designers, we believe they can further develop their education with the experiential knowledge that can only be gained outside of the classroom. We currently have over fifty approved national and international for-credit internships based on our school’s areas of study, but also hope to nurture many of our students’ desire to contribute their time and efforts servicing the diverse and often undeserved populations targeted by area non-profits. The Give Back Program is a work study options for students interested in working for local non-profits while allowing them to earn their alloted work study scholarships funds. Through their services our students develop new interpersonal skills, gain a greater sense of his/her role in a community, and started lasting relationships with organizations at which they are placed. Give Back Program participants work with Big Brothers and Sisters of Greater Memphis, Volunteer Memphis, Youth Villages, St. Jude’s Target House, Mid-South Minority Business Council, and United Cerebral Palsy of the Mid-South. They teach art; create promotional videos, brochures, and programs; painted murals; taught literacy in after school programs; and most of all, helped under funded organizations and their clients.
P2: PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES COURSE
This three credit hour class examines methods for assembling a portfolio for specific applications, writing and designing a resume and interviewing with prospective employers, clients or galleries. Business procedures, artist resources and job-hunting skills are discussed.