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Get References Without Art World Experience

Get References Without Art World Experience

Paul W. Barada /

Choosing Your References

If you’ve been a full-time art student, what types of references can you give to prospective employers?

Choose two professors who are familiar with your work as a student. Pick those faculty members who are willing to discuss things like punctuality and absenteeism, and who can talk about your class participation and how you completed projects or class work on time. As a third reference, pick a faculty adviser or sponsor you’ve worked with on a campus project, someone who can talk about your talent, organizational and leadership skills, ability to work with others and dependability.

If you were involved in any type of ommunity service activity,c from helping design a brochure for the local Boys’ and Girls’ Club to heading up a fund-raiser for some worthwhile cause, use someone from the community with whom you worked as a reference. The point is, if you were involved at all — in class, on campus or in the community — the basic qualities most employers are looking for will show through.

If you’ve had a summer job or worked during the school year, ask someone you worked closely with to be a reference for you. And it doesn’t matter whether the job had anything to do with your field of study, because those same basic qualities already mentioned will be the focus of most recruiters’ inquiries. While it would be unfair to say recruiters never try to match the degree to the job, it is far from being a hard and fast rule.

Providing references to recruiters can easily be done, even if you’ve never had a job in the literal sense. Just line up professors, advisors, coaches, counselors or community members who know you well enough to comment, not so much on your past job performance as on your future job performance potential.

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