All week long, we’ve been showcasing creative work from the Class of 2022 and featuring exciting job opportunities at top brands. In this week’s special edition of our Q&A series, we’re sharing advice from leading creative brands and visionaries on how to jumpstart your creative career with your best foot forward.
To help graduates navigate the journey of finding meaningful creative work, we spoke to individuals in charge of recruiting, hiring, and mentoring creatives at Billy Reid, Old Navy (Gap, Inc.), Legends, Colossal Media, and Tapestry (Coach, Kate Spade New York, and Stuart Weitzman.)
Learn more about the Creatively Class of 2022 here on Creatively and @hellocreatively on Instagram and TikTok.
What key things should Class of ‘22 graduates be looking out for when starting their job search?
“Do people stay for a while? Have they been promoted? What are the current openings they have? These days, I would also encourage a recent graduate to look beyond the traditional ‘well established’ organizations. Be open to start up companies where you might get more responsibility and wear many hats. And don’t just look at organizations in your city. Expand your search as many companies are hiring remotely.” – Diana Costescu, Director, Talent Acquisition, Tapestry (Coach, Kate Spade New York, and Stuart Weitzman)
“Your first job after college—although important, exciting, & nerve wracking—is just that: your first job. Keep in mind that your career will evolve, you will take wrong turns and right turns, you may change your mind, and if you’re diligent you will have many jobs throughout your career that each fill a specific piece of what you need and want at different points along the way. As you begin your search, just remember: it’s likely not forever so don’t feel the pressure to fulfill all your hopes and dreams in one role. There will be more.” – Nick Perrotta, Art Director, Old Navy
“Graduates should be looking for companies or job roles that align with their values and offer job growth. It is important to do some research and find out how the company is doing financially, what does that company value, and how do they treat their employees.” – Karis Jones, VP of People and Culture, SKIMS and GOOD AMERICAN
What’s one creative project / career milestone that taught you something about yourself?
“I realized that keeping things real and personal is the best approach for me. You don’t have to make things up if it comes from that perspective. Our Levis project taught me that you never stop learning. You can have a voice, even when collaborating with something as an established brand.” – Billy Reid, Founder and Fashion Designer, Billy Reid
“When leading the Old Navy Men’s design team, I learned that communication and collaboration is integral to growing and inspiring those around you. It is important to hear all voices and to create safe spaces for creative thinking and dialogue.” – Ali Otto, Senior Director Design, Old Navy
What’s something creative graduates can do to stand out from other candidates?
“Present a solution before the company asks for one. There’s so much public information about companies on their social and websites. Look at what they are currently doing and come into the interview with a better solution proposed and some creative ideas to show.” – Shaina Shiwarski, Co-Founder, Legends
“Be excited about the place you’re applying for. At this stage in the game, your enthusiasm for the role really can be the difference maker. No matter how qualified you are for a role, if you’re acting blah or aren’t able to explain what excites you about the role, the hirer will notice. You can’t teach enthusiasm!” — Michael Small, Senior Editorial Manager, Old Navy
What positive differences do you see in today’s working world from that of your parents’ generation?
“These days you can be multidisciplinary. I have met people that graduated with a journalism degree who ended up being the head of ready to wear design at a prominent fashion brand.” – Diana Costescu, Director, Talent Acquisition, Tapestry (Coach, Kate Spade New York, and Stuart Weitzman)
“There is a paradigm shift that is happening between the employers and the employees. In our parents’ generation, the corporations held all the power. They told you where you needed to live and the process and structure you needed to follow to accomplish your financial and career goals. Now the power is shifting to the individuals. With the increase in remote and digital work – you have the power to decide where you live, what job(s) you want to explore and the values that are important to you within an organization. Access to freelance opportunities, like one’s provided through Creatively, also empower hybrid work environments where you can explore different projects with different companies and create your own brand.” – Shaina Shiwarski, Co-Founder, Legends
“We have seen a trend in flexible work schedules and more regard for employee mental health. This is very positive for employees overall, but also offers more options for working parents, people with disabilities, and candidates living in rural areas. We have also seen support for BIPOC employees with the passing of laws like the Crown Act and businesses offering company wide training on bias and anti-racism.” – Karis Jones, VP of People and Culture, SKIMS and GOOD AMERICAN
What’s the best piece of advice you’d like to share with the Creatively Class?
“At the onset of a creative career it is important to remember that you have a voice—and yes you will use that voice to build a portfolio, create a professional network and exceed client expectations—you will also use your voice to create change. Change the practice, change the aesthetics, change the landscape, change the industry. My best advice to accomplish this is stay attentive. You can learn something new from everyone you interact with on a professional level so learn to pay attention early, this will prove invaluable.” – John Samels, Creative Director at Colossal Media
“Be true to yourself and trust your instincts. When you feel aligned with what you are doing the magic happens!” – Stephanie Daniel, Co-Founder and CEO, Legends
“The worst advice is also the best — it’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen. Sometimes, when you’re looking for a job, it can feel like it’s just never going to work out. You’ll get rejections, or ghosted by recruiters and it’ll all feel hopeless. And someone will tell you, “Hang in there, it’ll happen!” And inside you’ll die a little and probably hate them for giving you such empty advice. But what sucks is that they’re right! Something will happen. It’s the crappiest part of this whole deal — you’ll do everything right and sometimes it won’t matter. You’ll hear crickets. And when it feels the most hopeless and you’re ready to say screw this, you’ll get an email asking if you’re free to interview and just like that, you’ll have a job. You just had to wait.”— Michael Small, Senior Editorial Manager, Old Navy
Explore All CC’22 Jobs Here
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