MEET THE TOP VCU & RIT GRADS
At Working Not Working, we pride ourselves on bringing together the world's best creatives. With thousands of creatives trying to join the community, we end up giving the green light to only about ten percent. But as you can imagine, evaluating the portfolio of a Creative Director with tons of years of experience is a bit different than reviewing a student who has yet to graduate. We're excited to find the best up and coming talent and watch them grow into those leaders. WNW's Director of Talent, Ashley Nowicki, discusses the process for selecting schools to scout and what goes into evaluating recent grads.
How did you choose VCU and RIT as schools you wanted to scout for talent?
AN: The grads from these schools are coming out with different types of skill sets, different strengths and weaknesses. We wanted to bring a well-rounded group of grads into the community this year, since the creative landscape is so expansive and companies are looking for many different types of fresh creatives to add to their team. Because these schools graduate their spring classes at different times, we will be releasing our 2016 picks in two phases to give companies a chance to scoop them up as quickly as possible.
How do you evaluate recent grads vs those more established in their careers?
AN: We’re looking for hunger, thoughtfulness and polish. Some students do a really good job of showcasing these aspects in their portfolio but some do it better in person or in conversation. Because of that, we work directly with schools to gain further insights as needed, like how well a recent grad handles feedback or if they can maintain a positive attitude under intense circumstances.
What was the best advice you were given when you graduated?
AN: “You don’t know shit.” The best thing recent grads can do is work hard and absorb as much as they can from those around them. Also, once you start making work for real clients and add it to your portfolio, make sure you indicate what is student work and what isn’t. Creative Directors and Recruiters request these details regularly. They tend to want to know your involvement in projects too so it’s a good rule of thumb to point out what you contributed to the work.
AN: “It’s all about the money.” As graduation gets closer, it’s common for students to start feeling financial pressure. These days, it’s also common that grads will end up having more than one offer to choose from for their first job. Don’t make the mistake of misunderstanding value. Student loans can be substantial and big cities are expensive but focus on mentorship and growth. Choose the place that is going to give you the freedom to fail but also the support to learn from your mistakes. Go with the company that has the people you want to learn from, not the one with the biggest hiring budget.
Virginia Commonwealth University
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Rochester Institute of Technology
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RIT New Media Development