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Roles & Work Environment

When exploring options in creative industries, it's important to do some self-assessment to figure how where you belong within the world of work.  Creative industries provide a wide variety of roles and types of work, and creative work can be done across many industries.  Here are some factors to consider when looking at first jobs or internships:

  • Museums provide exposure to curatorial work, art education, fundraising and event planning experience, exhibition design, research, and organizational planning.
  • Practicing studio artists provide opportunities for students to learn about managing a business, marketing artwork, networking, and time management between studio and business practices.
  • Local and national theatres provide students with a variety of experiences for visual artists from costume and set design to fundraising and playwriting and booking events.
  • Community art organizations encourage students to get involved in local communities by creating public art or teaching art in underserved communities.  They also involve the student in curatorial projects in their galleries and experience exhibition planning.
  • Multimedia design studios hire students to assist with various design projects, participate in creative team meetings, and interact with clients; interest areas are in graphic design, interactive media, web design, print and package design.
  • Local and national magazines and newspapers offer a range of experience to students studying illustration, graphic design, and photography.
  • Interior Design and Architecture firms and other Environmental Design internships provide experiences in the areas of planning, production, and design.
  • Students interested in Conservation find internships with museum conservation departments and with private conservators.
  • Production Studios often provide internships for students in video and film with documentaries, major motion pictures, and television series’ to learn from as production assistants. Include community television and radio in this category.

[from Maryland Institute for Creative Arts website, 'How to Find an Internship')

Additional resources:

  • The Secret Handshake
    Resource for student designers and young creative looking for insider insight, honest answers and solid solutions to go pro. 
  • Hindsight Project
    Collection of career wisdom provided by experienced professionals across creative fields with an emphasis on advertising, design, media, public relations, publishing and production. For folks entering the industries, seeking to move up, or starting their own business, these stories are wisdom and advice not available anywhere else.
  • The Gastronomes: Good Food Jobs blog
    Blog and professional community for food lovers who want to put their passions to work. We profile the most interesting, engaging, and unlikely food professionals out there, and we publish them here to inspire you. 

Lifestyle, Job Market & Salary

As you begin to research industries of interest, consider the realities of the market.  Knowing what to expect at the beginning or middle of a career path can help you to determine your job search approach and also identify key skills--like entrepreurship and technical skills--that will keep you on track.  By looking at trends and emerging fields, you will make active choices instead of passively waiting for opportunities to come along. 

Inspiring Alumni Stories

We know that beginning— or continuing— the job and / or internship search can be a daunting task. With the many steps required, students often find themselves wondering about the end result (i.e., the right job and / or internship for you) and how to get there. Below are a few narratives across various industries that show it’s possible— and well worth the effort.

Get Connected

The best way to connect to people and resources that will further your knowledge is to stay current.  Following blogs or industry news sites can help you connect to the profession and give you content for future cover letters and interviews.  Plus, you'll need to know these things once you're on the job! Whether you browse, subscribe to email lists, or follow these on social media, you will be better informed because of it. Here are a few suggestions:

Other ways to connect:

  • Virginia Alumni Mentoring program: Connects UVA students with alumni who can offer insights into their own undergraduate experience, career progression and current work.
  • LinkedIn: A professional social media site. You can use LinkedIn to research a company, see where alums land after graduation and connect with other professionals. Check out the Find Alumni section to see where UVA alumni are currently working.