Name: Anne Hiddema
Field of Study: Metals and Jewelry Design
Year of Graduation: 2008
Current Position: Jewelry Designer, New York, N.Y.
What was the most important thing you learned about your field while at Kendall?
I learned that there are endless possibilities. Your degree gives you a basis for almost any position in the field, but now it is your job to follow your passion and decide what it is you want to do every day. I also learned that there is never one single way to do something, so problem solving and the willingness to teach yourself something new are key.
What was your most shocking realization about your field after graduation?
That you probably aren't going to land your dream job right away–but that's OK. It is important to see how other jobs in the field can contribute to your skill set. It is good to get your foot in the door wherever possible, learn what you can in that position and begin to climb the ladder. You may see a side of the business that you never imagined existed, and you will definitely learn something new.
Give us your best interview tip.
Dress to impress. As a designer, you can get away with adding some personality to your look, but you must look polished and professional. You are asking your future employer to trust your aesthetic and sense of style, and your appearance is the first indication of what that is. Even if the position you are interviewing for requires you to sit at a jeweler's bench all day, your employer will want to know that you can dress appropriately for client meetings. I have seen more than one interview ruined by bad first impressions. This rule also applies for office visits and internships.
List three ways you network in your field.
- Real live and in person! Even in New York, this industry is surprisingly small. It is important to be friendly and keep in touch with as many people as possible as you move through your career. A salesperson might not know a lot about design, but they probably know the designers and buyers at most of the companies you want to interact with.
- I have also had great success at meeting people through social networking sites like LinkedIn.
- Volunteer and get active. Many art and design organizations need help for events. Even standing at a coat check for an evening could result in some amazing connections.
What was the worst interview moment you've experienced?
I don't know that I have one.
List three résumé "don'ts."
- Don't go longer than one page.
- Don't use a crazy font; you want it to be clear and legible.
- Don't lie.
List three résumé "do's."
- Do make different versions of your résumé. It is fine to change it in accordance with the job you are applying for.
- Do ask someone to proofread, and then ask someone else to proofread again.
- Do use heavy cardstock, or an interesting high-quality and neutral-colored paper.
Name the most essential skill, tool or software program relative to your field.
In my job, we design in a lot of different ways. Some days I will sketch by hand or on the computer, some days I am in the studio fabricating models and collections. The most essential skill, though, is being able to communicate with others about what you are designing. Whether you are working under another designer or you have your own business, you will always be expected to be able to explain your vision.
How did you make the first connection that led to a job in your field?
My first internship was at a company where another Kendall grad worked. It only lasted for the summer, but it was prestigious enough to be a great talking point on my résumé. From there, I just tried to stay positive about potential opportunities and passionate about using my skills every day.