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References Available Upon Request

May 24, 2013

If you’re applying for jobs or internships, you will likely be asked to provide references. Many people include the line “References Available Upon Request”, but are you ready to provide those references?

References vs Letters of Recommendation

Some companies will ask you to fill out an application including contact information for all companies you’ve worked for. References, on the other hand, are hand-picked by you. This is great if you have a mostly-stellar work history, but one blemish – a supervisor you didn’t get a long with or a job you were fired from. You choose 3 – 5 people you think would speak well of you and your skills. Letters of recommendation go one step further, and this is where your references write a brief letter outlining your strengths and skill level. Typically when a job asks for “References” they are looking only for contact information, and not a full letter.

Read more…


The Scoop on Industry Events so Far

May 8, 2013

Now that a few of the 2013 Industry Events are behind us, we’d like to take a minute to show off some photos and offer pointers.

Moving Pictures last night brought together Chicago film industry professionals with graduating students. We showed off students’ reels, heard keynote speaker Navid McIlhargey’s advice on navigating the industry, and witnessed many professional relationships beginning. To add to the tips we shared earlier this week, we have a few more pointers for making an impression based on what we saw last night:

  • Practice that handshake. How you shake hands says a lot about you as a professional, so practice a firm-but-not-crushing handshake.
  • Travel light. Most of our events don’t have much space for depositing large bags and coats, and baggage can make it hard to navigate the room. Stash your things somewhere before you arrive if at all possible.
  • Don’t come for dinner. Yes, most events have food, and yes, we hope you eat it. But heads up that the bruschetta is garlicy, and it has a tendency to drop on your shirt. So try to network first – eat on your way out.
  • Follow up. Keep contacts going if you can- too many professionals report back that they never hear from you. Grab business cards and follow up the next day. Thanking professionals for coming helps us get them back next year. Asking them for additional feedback on your resume and portfolio helps you build a lasting connection. Win/win.

And most importantly:
It’s easier than it looks. Professionals arrive excited to meet young talent and help you launch you careers. If you approach them with professionalism, positivity, and curiosity, they can’t help but love you.

Check out photos from our Music Industry Event on 4/9, Fine Arts Open Studios on 4/18, and Moving Pictures last night.

Industry Events & What You Should Know

May 6, 2013

Last Friday, we held an Industry Events Prep Session where we talked about some of the most important preparation pieces we felt you should know about.  In turn, students that attended had some great questions.   Both our thoughts and the student questions are summarized below…

Top 5 Most Important Industry Events Prep Items You Should Know About:

It is not too late to attend.  If you are a Dec. 2012, May 2013, Aug. 2013, or Dec. 2013, you are qualified to attend at least two Industry Events.  However, you need to register.  You can do that here.

What does my industry event entail and what should I be prepared for  (for specific times and locations please visit

  • Moving Pictures | Tuesday, 5/7 – A Keynote Speaker, Navid McIlhargey, President of Film Engine, followed up by screenings of students reels, FrameWorks and networking reception.
  • Journalism Reception | Thursday, 5/9 – Networking reception, showcasing of broadcast reels and an opportunity to show your portfolio to professionals.
  • Radio Reception | Thursday, 5/9 – Networking event, Club DJ class spinning and an opportunity to play your demo.
  • Interactive Arts & Media Showcase | Thursday, 5/9 – Students will be tabled with their portfolios and work, Game students will be showing their games.
  • Senior Showcase of Theatre Designers, Directors & Technicians | Monday, 5/13 – Students will be tabled showcasing their work.
  • Marketing Communication Reception | Tuesday, May 14 – PRSSA is hosting a keynote from 5-6 from Fred Cook of Golin Harris.  6:00-8:00 Professionals will be seated and students can walk around to network and showcase their work to them.
  • Photography Review | Thursday, May 16 –  Students will be tabled with their portfolios as professionals view their work.
  • Fashion Industry Breakfast | Friday, May 17 – Students will be tabled with their portfolios as professionals view their work. There is a curated runway show at 9:15, followed by a breakfast reception.
  • Senior Showcase of Graphic Design, Illustration & Advertising Art Direction | Friday, May 17 –  Students will be tabled with their portfolios as professionals view their work.

If you don’t have work to showcase, you should still attend.  You won’t be seated or tabled in any of the review scenarios, but you will be able to talk to professionals as you view your classmates’ work.  Bring your resume, a business card, and most importantly the ability to talk about your experience so you can be remembered.

Dress it up a little bit.  No, not full on job interview attire, but dress to your industry.

Have things to say about yourself, but learn about your industry through our guests.  This is your opportunity to learn first hand from those who are already out there doing it.  Ask them questions about what they do, what their company/organization does, and how they developed their current role.

The Wrath of Finals Week

May 6, 2013

It’s that time of year again…

Finals time is different for all of us. Every once in a while I run into somebody who thrives this time of year, excelling in the rush of a packed schedule and four different 40-point projects. Then there are some who wait until the the last minute, let the anxiety get the best of them, and build it all up as their own personal End-of-the-World.

Well I’ve come to you this week with some calming words and advice to get you through…

FINALS WEEK. Read more…

Ending Your Internship on the Right Note

May 2, 2013

As you wrap up classes for the semester, you may also be wrapping up your internship.  If all has gone well, you were busy learning, doing, and connecting. But how you leave has a big impact on how you are remembered. Don’t lose the great momentum- here are a few to-do’s as you approach your last day.

Organize Your Projects

Projects often don’t work on a semester schedule like your internship does. Take time to make sure you leave things in a good place – finish projects when possible, or leave detailed notes and organized files for the next person if there is still work to be done.  Your boss, coworkers, and successors will appreciate your professionalism!


Even if your supervisor does not initiate it, see if you can set up an ‘exit interview’. This will give you a chance to recap what you worked on and solicit feedback about how you did.  It’s also a great chance to address any logistics that remain, including: can I list you as a reference in the future? I’m really proud of my work on ___. Would you allow me to use it in my portfolio? And finally…

Read more…

Avoiding the Summer Snoozefest

April 29, 2013

Summer is a time for Instagram at the beach, music festivals, mimosas at brunch and short shorts abound.

OR it’s a time for Tumblr in your bed with the blinds closed and gummy worms for breakfast because your bank account is a little too low to actually do any of the aforementioned. Or maybe you simply just lack the willpower to get yourself out of the apartment.

We have three weeks left of the semester and a whole summer ahead of us. So how can you make sure that the thrill of endless time doesn’t die down two weeks in? Well, I’ve come with some ideas for you…

  1. Read more…

Time for a Resume Revamp

April 25, 2013

When it comes to resumes, your work is never done. It’s likely you at least a draft together – maybe from your part-time job or internship search- but if you’re graduating in the next 6 months it’s time to look at your old resume from a new angle. It’s time to shift from you: the student to you: the professional.

In case you missed our resume workshop last night on Resumes for Industry Events, here are a few pointers for revamping your resume to pursue jobs after graduation. Read more…