We had an incredible visit from Bento Box Entertainment!  They produce Bob’s Burgers, The Awesomes, Brickleberry and much more!  They are a totally all computer animation studio.Bento Box has three locations and is expanding to a fourth!  One is in Burbank, CA, one in Los Angeles and one in Atlanta.  The fourth location hasn’t been revealed yet.Sidney Clifton, Head Recruiter talked about what it takes to work at Bento Box. It is SIMPLE:S = software skills.  Toon Boom, Harmony, Photoshop, Storyboard Pro are all key. I = Integrity and Intelligence - mental and emotional. M = Motivation and Maturity.  P = Portfolio and Preparation.   L & E = Life Experience. They are hiring freelancers now too, and even if you’re not an animator or illustrator, animation companies still hire directors, DP’s, set designers, production designers, production assistants, sound, music, post, etc. 

We had an incredible visit from Bento Box Entertainment!  They produce Bob’s Burgers, The Awesomes, Brickleberry and much more!  They are a totally all computer animation studio.
Bento Box has three locations and is expanding to a fourth!  One is in Burbank, CA, one in Los Angeles and one in Atlanta.  The fourth location hasn’t been revealed yet.

Sidney Clifton, Head Recruiter talked about what it takes to work at Bento Box. It is SIMPLE:
S = software skills.  Toon Boom, Harmony, Photoshop, Storyboard Pro are all key. I = Integrity and Intelligence - mental and emotional. M = Motivation and Maturity.  P = Portfolio and Preparation.   L & E = Life Experience.

They are hiring freelancers now too, and even if you’re not an animator or illustrator, animation companies still hire directors, DP’s, set designers, production designers, production assistants, sound, music, post, etc. 

What I Wish I Knew About My Job Search: Insights from Five Recent Graduates

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Later this afternoon, the Portfolio Center will be welcoming back five recent graduates: Michael Alexander - Film and Video (2013), Kendra DeKuiper - Fashion Design (2012), Gigg Hemwattakit - Graphic Design (2010), Mark Leja - Film and Video (2013) and Hannah Rebernick - Graphic Design (2013).

They will be speaking as a panel about things they’ve learned about the job search since being out in the world after graduation from 4-5 PM in 623 S. Wabash, Room 311.

However, we were able to get a few tips in writing from them which we have included below. Enjoy!

From Michael…

  1. Create a professional web presence and business cards.
  2. Check freelance sites and job postings daily.
  3. Attend industry night and other events with people who have what you want and put yourself out there despite being uncomfortable.

From Kendra…

  1. Don’t think too narrowly. There are a lot of great jobs out there. All the jobs I have worked since finishing school had been design related, just not always fashion.
  2. Make as many connections as you can with fellow artists, designers, or others in your concentration. Those connections could be so helpful after school or down the road.
  3. Don’t get discouraged on your search. It takes time to work up to your dream job and that’s okay. 

From Gigg…

  1. Do lots of research about companies that you want to work for.
  2. Participate to your design community.
  3. Be nice to everyone!

From Mark…

  1. Utilize the Internet to find job opportunities.
  2. No job is beneath you.
  3. Build a large group of Producer and Director contacts, and Production Manager and Coordinators. They are the ones who hire.

From Hannah…

  1. Treat (the job search) like a job, it takes lot of time to do a good job with applications and interviews, if you’re not treating it seriously and putting the time into writing a personalized cover letter, then what’s the point?
  2. Have realistic expectations. I got a little crushed when my first interview at an upscale studio didn’t turn into a full time offer before I even graduated, but that wasn’t realistic, you need a solid first job, you can always move up from there. 

Wise words from some folks out there doing it!

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU: HOW TO TALK ABOUT YOURSELF

By Michael Goode
By now you’re likely familiar with the numerous ways we’re expected to share and express our work and ourselves. Resumes, portfolios, websites, social media profiles are ways in which we display (hopefully) a branded & consistent presentation of our work, creating a glimpse into our person.
Some of the aforementioned formats are relatively brand new. For instance, utilizing social media profiles to find work was pretty unheard of when I was a freshman in college way back in 2006.  However, something that we’ve always been able to count on and likely will continue to lest we begin to rely on robotic avatars (I don’t count anything out at this point) is talking about ourselves.
Tell me about yourself
Simplicity aside, discussing ourselves is intimidating and even downright frightening to many people. As an introvert who primarily relies on writing to express myself, it’s easy for me to recognize how daunting it can be to clearly and succinctly hold a conversation with strangers about what I have to offer. One of the most challenging interview questions is the classic,  “Tell me about yourself.”  Where do I even begin with that? When someone asks that question, are they wanting me to tell them about the time when I first discovered my love of vintage bobblehead dolls and how I expand my collection by around 20 every passing year?
More realistically, when we’re faced with an initial conversation with someone who wants to get to know us on a professional level, we have a tendency to summarize what we know or what we’ve done. In mock interviews that I’ve conducted with students, many will even fire off a list, spitting metrics back at me about the things that I read about on their resume five minutes ago.
Go a bit deeper…
When you are in an interview, whomever you’re speaking with has already seen that information. Reiterating that you were the highest seller of organic gluten-free red velvet vanilla swirl muffin tops at your bakery gig isn’t going to reveal any new information about yourself or what you can contribute. What we want to give those who are unfamiliar with us and our work is a glimpse into are our vision, our values, and what we hope to contribute.
You can get to those by delving into your past accomplishments, but I’ve recently found that the best practice in such situations is to remain present and focused in the moment. If my goal is to secure a job at a college or university where I’ll have an opportunity to be working with students, I’ll begin by briefly providing an overview of my experiences before discussing what I like about working with students, what I find interesting about working with students, ways in which I hope to improve services provided to students, and on and on and on.  Well, not on and on and on, as another issue that comes up with this question is being cognizant of time, but you get the idea.
When working in a creative industry, effectively communicating these concepts is especially important. If you’re interviewing for a position as a contributing writer for a magazine, for example, you don’t want to simply provide a laundry list of the work you’ve done in school and internships. It’s more important to discuss exciting trends in the field you’re going to cover, ways in which the field is changing and innovating, and referencing those whose work you admire to express that you have more than just the ability to write, you also are a committed and knowledgeable aspiring professional.
Stay true to you!
In a time when we can go even as far as creating relationships with other people without meeting them face-to-face, there cannot be enough said about the value of confidently and effectively holding a conversation with other professionals about ourselves. Millennials especially (although I believe unfairly) have a reputation for lacking the social skills necessary to not rely on more impersonal communications. This makes it even more important and impressive when you’re able to entice someone through the gift of gab.
With a bit of practice and preparation, talking about yourself doesn’t need to be nearly as scary as it might feel. Don’t think for a second that these opportunities arise simply through interviews – it doesn’t end there! While networking with others or even when on the job, it’s important to remember that this skill is one that requires some consistent tending to.
Most important, remember to stay true to your own voice.  It can be easy to fall into the trap of becoming a phony talking head who repeats meaningless buzzwords in order to just have something to say, so take confidence from the knowledge that you are currently in a position where you have an audience listening to what you’re talking about. You got there for a reason – because you have something to offer, something that others want and need.
Now go talk about it.
With internship, full-time job interviews and Industry Events quickly approaching, talking about yourself is more important than ever! Schedule a mock interview with Michael by calling 312-369-7280. 
For further reading, check out the following links:
How to Answer “Tell me about yourself”
How to be the college grad worth hiring
How to answer interview questions about yourselfWhat you wish you’d known before your interview - infographic

LET’S TALK ABOUT YOU: HOW TO TALK ABOUT YOURSELF

By Michael Goode

By now you’re likely familiar with the numerous ways we’re expected to share and express our work and ourselves. Resumes, portfolios, websites, social media profiles are ways in which we display (hopefully) a branded & consistent presentation of our work, creating a glimpse into our person.

Some of the aforementioned formats are relatively brand new. For instance, utilizing social media profiles to find work was pretty unheard of when I was a freshman in college way back in 2006.  However, something that we’ve always been able to count on and likely will continue to lest we begin to rely on robotic avatars (I don’t count anything out at this point) is talking about ourselves.

Tell me about yourself

Simplicity aside, discussing ourselves is intimidating and even downright frightening to many people. As an introvert who primarily relies on writing to express myself, it’s easy for me to recognize how daunting it can be to clearly and succinctly hold a conversation with strangers about what I have to offer. One of the most challenging interview questions is the classic,  “Tell me about yourself.”  Where do I even begin with that? When someone asks that question, are they wanting me to tell them about the time when I first discovered my love of vintage bobblehead dolls and how I expand my collection by around 20 every passing year?

More realistically, when we’re faced with an initial conversation with someone who wants to get to know us on a professional level, we have a tendency to summarize what we know or what we’ve done. In mock interviews that I’ve conducted with students, many will even fire off a list, spitting metrics back at me about the things that I read about on their resume five minutes ago.

Go a bit deeper…

When you are in an interview, whomever you’re speaking with has already seen that information. Reiterating that you were the highest seller of organic gluten-free red velvet vanilla swirl muffin tops at your bakery gig isn’t going to reveal any new information about yourself or what you can contribute. What we want to give those who are unfamiliar with us and our work is a glimpse into are our vision, our values, and what we hope to contribute.

You can get to those by delving into your past accomplishments, but I’ve recently found that the best practice in such situations is to remain present and focused in the moment. If my goal is to secure a job at a college or university where I’ll have an opportunity to be working with students, I’ll begin by briefly providing an overview of my experiences before discussing what I like about working with students, what I find interesting about working with students, ways in which I hope to improve services provided to students, and on and on and on.  Well, not on and on and on, as another issue that comes up with this question is being cognizant of time, but you get the idea.

When working in a creative industry, effectively communicating these concepts is especially important. If you’re interviewing for a position as a contributing writer for a magazine, for example, you don’t want to simply provide a laundry list of the work you’ve done in school and internships. It’s more important to discuss exciting trends in the field you’re going to cover, ways in which the field is changing and innovating, and referencing those whose work you admire to express that you have more than just the ability to write, you also are a committed and knowledgeable aspiring professional.

Stay true to you!

In a time when we can go even as far as creating relationships with other people without meeting them face-to-face, there cannot be enough said about the value of confidently and effectively holding a conversation with other professionals about ourselves. Millennials especially (although I believe unfairly) have a reputation for lacking the social skills necessary to not rely on more impersonal communications. This makes it even more important and impressive when you’re able to entice someone through the gift of gab.

With a bit of practice and preparation, talking about yourself doesn’t need to be nearly as scary as it might feel. Don’t think for a second that these opportunities arise simply through interviews – it doesn’t end there! While networking with others or even when on the job, it’s important to remember that this skill is one that requires some consistent tending to.

Most important, remember to stay true to your own voice.  It can be easy to fall into the trap of becoming a phony talking head who repeats meaningless buzzwords in order to just have something to say, so take confidence from the knowledge that you are currently in a position where you have an audience listening to what you’re talking about. You got there for a reason – because you have something to offer, something that others want and need.

Now go talk about it.

With internship, full-time job interviews and Industry Events quickly approaching, talking about yourself is more important than ever! Schedule a mock interview with Michael by calling 312-369-7280.

For further reading, check out the following links:

How to Answer “Tell me about yourself”

How to be the college grad worth hiring

How to answer interview questions about yourself
What you wish you’d known before your interview - infographic

Finding Good Resume Templates

“Do you guys have a template I can use to start my resume?”

This is one of the most common resume questions we get, and I will admit that we can be pretty obstinate about it. Resume templates are usually Word documents that are pre-formatted so you can plug in your content. They save you the time of deciding on a design, and the aggravation of getting all of your content aligned properly.  Ultimately, templates can be good or bad depending on how you use them. Here are some pointers for choosing an effective template, and making it your own.

We have good reasons for being skeptical about templates. Resume templates CAN be a bad choice for a few reasons:

  • There are some truly bad templates online. The bad ones can be unattractive, list inappropriate sections, or structure content in the wrong place.
  • Templates can be inflexible. Sometimes the formatting and tables are locked in and make it difficult for you to make changes. This causes even more headaches.
  • Most templates are unoriginal. If you are using one, chances are someone else is too. And as we just pointed out, making changes to personalize them can be very difficult.

As better designs emerge online, templates have become a more attractive option. Here are some things to look for:

  • Templates should look good. There should be a neat, clean layout that is easy to read.
  • Templates should be malleable. Look for templates that do NOT include charts, tables and hidden formatting. These make it very difficult to make changes.
  • Templates should be industry-appropriate. If you find a two-pager, something with content in strange corners or a required Objective section, it’s probably not the template for you.
  • Templates should be customizable. Think about the template you choose as a framework you can use to launch. Making small changes like adapting font or colors can help ensure that your resume is not identical to your competition’s.

This site includes a few great templates you can download and customize. Once you’ve started and want some pointers, come in for Resume Spot Checks in the Portfolio Center, Tuesday through Thursday from 2 – 4 pm in 623 S Wabash, Room 307.

Turning Tacos into Networking

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Hey Columbia, Dustin here at the front desk of the Portfolio Center with some quick thoughts before we all check out for Spring Break.

With Graduation looming, a lot of us are likely encountering this word ‘networking’ more and more and just as often being confounded by what exactly it means. It’s vague, important sounding, and we’ve been told it is absolutely necessary for success. But still, what is it? With this in mind, I thought I’d share my own recent experience with networking and tacos.

For my Writer’s Portfolio class, yes this came from a class, I was assigned to contact and interview someone who had a job that I wanted to have myself. Dream Job was the assignment name. After several weeks of talking with my co-workers, getting suggestions, and making email contact with my interviewee, Ben Tanzer btw, a great author and equally great person, I found myself (way under-dressed) at a party for his new book’s release.

Who else was at the party? A ton of people from the writing and publishing scene in Chicago and elsewhere and absolutely nobody that I knew. So, after listening to the readings and saying hi to Ben, I was ready to go home, content with the night. But instead, I decided to introduce myself to someone standing nearby. Turns out we had both done NaNoWriMo before and were both in the middle of writing some big projects. He then introduced me to someone else, then someone else. By the end of the night, it was just me, the author I was there to interview, and three or four of his fellow writers and editors, all of whom were more than willing to talk to me not just about writing and books, but as an equal, an experience I won’t forget.

This led to a long, hilarious, and eye-opening conversation between us all in the lobby of the hotel the party had been held in, before finally being capped off by myself, Ben the author, and his friend, a writer from Kentucky, all walking down the street for midnight tacos at Five Faces. It was the best networking experience I have had thus far, mainly because it showed me how simply the whole process can snowball. And just so it’s clear, I hadn’t even done the interview with Ben yet, this was all just an added event I decided to check out last minute.

So my point with all of this? As one of my new-found acquaintances put it, any opportunity, no matter how small, is better than no opportunity at all. This whole night came from a class assignment, and a random literary event on top of that. So if you’re in the position I have been, not feeling fully immersed in your industry or just wondering how to get your network going more, don’t fret. Search out any opportunity you can, treat class projects like this one as something more, a real chance for you to grow, and I think you’ll be surprised by what happens. Just don’t treat anyone like you want to get something out of them and odds are they’ll treat you well back.

And most importantly, when somebody new to your network asks if you want to go get tacos with them at midnight, Hell yes you do!

Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Media [Infographic]
Christie Barakat on February 3, 2014 9:45 AM

All social media are not created equal. Each social network has different kinds of users and their daily activities vary. Determining when to post on social media requires that you consider your product or service and the kinds of messages relevant to your customers. A local business, for example, may find that the ideal time to post updates is different from that of a national brand. Always keep track of analytics and try mixing up your social media schedule.
Tools like Hootsuite let you automatically schedule your updates according to your audience’s online habits. SocialBro provides daily reports on when most of the Twitter community is online, not just your followers. Similarly, Timing+ analyzes your historical post data to determine what time of day your posts will have the greatest impact on Google+. Topsy lets you search, measure and analyze from conversations and trends on public social websites like Twitter and Google+
Understanding when to post on each network means considering more than research and statistics. Do not underestimate trial and error when it comes to assessing when your audience is most receptive to your messages. To assist you in scheduling your social media posts and updates, the following infographic by Social Marketing Writing includes the networks Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Media [Infographic]

All social media are not created equal. Each social network has different kinds of users and their daily activities vary. Determining when to post on social media requires that you consider your product or service and the kinds of messages relevant to your customers. A local business, for example, may find that the ideal time to post updates is different from that of a national brand. Always keep track of analytics and try mixing up your social media schedule.

Tools like Hootsuite let you automatically schedule your updates according to your audience’s online habits. SocialBro provides daily reports on when most of the Twitter community is online, not just your followers. Similarly, Timing+ analyzes your historical post data to determine what time of day your posts will have the greatest impact on Google+. Topsy lets you search, measure and analyze from conversations and trends on public social websites like Twitter and Google+

Understanding when to post on each network means considering more than research and statistics. Do not underestimate trial and error when it comes to assessing when your audience is most receptive to your messages. To assist you in scheduling your social media posts and updates, the following infographic by Social Marketing Writing includes the networks Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumblr.