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Are You Wicked Talented?

What does it mean to be wicked talented?

If you think it’s having the perfectly designed resume, portfolio, and business card… spending countless hours getting your leave-behind up-to-par and finding the perfect personal logo… think again. These steps will help in landing a design job. However, in order to become sought and fought after by the top design firms, we must become WICKED TALENTED.

While attending the Art Director’s Club Career Day yesterday, I had the pleasure of getting my portfolio reviewed by Trish Donnally, Quentin Parrish, Anne Kerns, Tom Osborne, and Mark Franklin Fertig. I can’t stress enough how important it is to attend these events – and not just when you are about to graduate but throughout your years in the graphic design program. It’s such a meaningful experience to talk with professionals and get input on how to better yourself and how you present yourself. The more reviews you have and the more connections you make, the more wicked talented you’ll become. Which leads me to the next phase of the event… our presentation on how to become wicked talented.

Michael Gardner, CEO of Gardner and Partners, (A DC Based Staffing and recruiting firm representing the highest caliber online marketing, advertising, and PR talent) presented on the topic of being WICKED TALENDED during this event. I will cover a few points that I found the most impactful from his advice.

First, he discussed how we must WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER. Instead of spending countless hours perfecting our business card, devote the time to actually attend an event, such as an AIGA Schmooze Day Happy Hour event, where we can hand out our business card. Or, instead of applying to several jobs with the same mock-up cover letter and attached PDF, spend the time researching a few of our favorite firms, personalize the presentation and hand-deliver something meaningful for consideration. These are examples of working smarter. And, after I ‘publish’ this blog entry I will follow-up with a note to Michael Gardner, all part of his advice to becoming wicked talented.

Next, Gardner advised to BE CONSISTENT AND PERSISTENT. Make sure you follow-up after meeting someone by adding them into your network on Linked-in, Facebook, and if you have a Twitter account as well. All of these connections are vital. Once you get into the habit of consistent follow-up, it will be easier to grow your network and, as a result, your connections for potential jobs! After this event I was at dinner with my husband and got a kick out of the newly opened restaurant’s logo and designed materials. I found the restaurant manager to ask who the designer was, returned home to Google search the design firm, and sent one of their designers a note of praise about their work. This is exactly what Gardner was talking about… to be persistent and consistent.

And finally, ASK YOURSELF, WHAT MADE MY PAST JOBS SO GREAT? He told us to close our eyes and recall back to our favorite past jobs. As we considered these positions, we were asked to ponder what aspect of the job made it so good. He said to hone in on these characteristics of the job as we search for future employment. He also said that once we DO land a design job, to remember how much time and devotion it took to get there.

Overall, I found Gardner’s presentation WICKED interesting, inspiring, and overwhelming. I’ve taken his advice to be consistent and persistent and have already written thank you notes to all of my portfolio reviewers as well as a thank you to Gardner himself, for presenting. So, his words have rubbed off!

If you’d like to be ‘in the know’ for future events such as this Career Day, join the Facebook Group: “AIGA – GMU.”