Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Non-profit and Branding

While sitting at Starbucks I noticed an individual adjusting signs and meticulously placing art around the cafe. Being the curious guy I am, I asked the gentlemen what his story was.

Turns out this guy, known as Mark, works with non-profits through larger corporations. Mark will find various non- profits, construct a strategy that will benefit a corporation by sponsoring that non profit, then will do the branding work that comes from this unique marriage. In a nutshell, he finds corporations with non profit set up, to fund various non profits. It’s very interesting that mark has found a way to create work through his love and desire of non profits.
Mark was very willing to sit down with me for a bit and give advice to this blog and that was so awesome! Even though his advice is a bit ‘designer specific‘ I know that anyone can gain something from his unique point of view.
This is a sample of some of Mark's work.

On creating a WOW factor while in the interview:

Mark told me that someone who has taken the time to prepare is a great way to generate a wow a factor. One can do this by researching the company and then reflecting on potential questions that may be asked in the interview. The interviewee should have a good idea on what to talk about during the interview process. Also, always try to be one step ahead. Listen to the conversation being had and try to grasp an understanding of where it is headed. Mark says enthusiastically “be ready to play ball!”.
Most importantly, show eagerness. No one likes to interview a boring, flat individual. Be excited to be there are let that excitement shine.

General Interview Advice:

Go on as many interviews as you can, even if they are not directly related to your field. The more interviews you perform, the better you will get at “the game” and the more you can predict the next steps in the process of finding a job. Even if the interview doesn’t go well, you will understand how to better communicate you skills and talents for the next time. As Mark says “you have to strike out before you can succeed”.
Mark also says, be weird and let your personality quarks show. Employers want to see that what you do for a living is an extension of yourself. On a designer specific note, employers expect you to be a bit off. A boring person = a boring designer.
To be more specific, these personality quarks should be related to your field. For example, Mark will straighten crooked picture frames because as a designer, that bothers him. This quark, in turn, works to his advantage because it expresses that design is a part of him.
What’s one thing you know now that you wish you knew as an entry? “It’s not a short trip, but a long journey. Do this because you love it!” Mark expressed to me. We all need to remember that finding a job, for most of us, is not an ‘instant thing’. It is indeed a process.

On the resume:

“The resume and portfolio need to work with one another.” Was another great piece of advice mark threw out. The resume itself should have a good blend of form and function. Also, think about who is receiving it and make the resume look, read and feel the way that person would want it to.
Doing little things to the resume to show off your personality is a great way to make it stand out among the pile. This could be as simple as a signature font, or a quote at the top of the page that expresses who you are. Be sure to keep the ‘traditional'; resume as a base and stem from that.

Free work? WTF?:

Free work was an interesting topic Mark brought up. Free work is the best way to show a client what you are capable of. Prior to an interview research the agency’s clients, and create some free work based upon this. Presenting this at the interview is a great way of showing that you truly thought about and love the company. Also, use free work as a concept; Show the client something they haven’t seen before.
Mark stressed the importance of knowing when to draw the line with free work. There is a fine line between showing your interest and being taken advantage of. Finding this line comes from common sense and practice.

On Networking:

“There is no other way. If you don’t like to network the industry won’t like you.” Stated a very passionate Mark. Don’t be afraid to talk to people… You never know what kind of connections you will make and how they may benefit you.

To close, Mark wanted to express the value of opportunity. Never turn one down, even if it isn’t exotically what you are looking for. Keep in mind that a way in is a way in.

Thanks Mark for your unique insights on the job market.

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