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August 24, 2017

Fine tuning for success

Career Center helps students and alums sharpen job-search skills

Fine tuning for success

Heather Golden, director of the Career Center, reviews work by Zhongyang Li '17, who is ready to put his biomedical art and industrial design training to work.

By Karen Sandstrom

Zhongyang Li ’17 has two degrees under his belt and five years of skill building in industrial design and biomedical art. When his best job-seeking efforts delivered lackluster results, he consulted an expert — CIA’s new Career Center director, Heather Golden.

“I talk to recruiters all the time, so I know what they’re looking for, as well as what they don’t want,” says Golden.

That's just the beginning of what Golden brings to the Career Center, a resource available to everyone from the first-year CIA student to the well-seasoned alumna looking to turbocharge her career. Even if students or alums aren't sure what kind of assistance they need, she can help them figure it out.

Golden aided Li in connecting with companies on the hunt for new talent. She also conducted a mock Skype interview with him, and reviewed his resume and portfolio. Before long, he had an offer for freelance work, and was in the running for a position at a product design company.

He treated his search like a full-time job. “As a problem solver, I have to find a way out,” Li says. “If I can’t solve my own problem, how can I solve a problem for another company?”

Golden loves that attitude almost as much as she loves her career.

Educated first as a designer at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Golden turned her talents toward higher education administration out of a wish to spend more time helping people realize their dreams. She’s finishing work on her PhD, and says she brings her art school training to her work every day.

“The way I solve problems is very much user centered — design thinking, rapid prototyping.

Those were ingrained from my training in art,” Golden says.

Golden recently hired Danielle Rueger as a career specialist. Rueger earned a bachelor’s degree in digital media and design at Baldwin-Wallace University and a master’s degree in higher education administration from Kent State University. She maintains the college’s job board on College Central, has established a Career Center Facebook page, and is helping Golden plan the first CIA internship fair for Monday, September 11.

Most of their work focuses on readying current CIA students for the job market, but alumni of any age or professional stage can call for help with resumes, portfolios and social media accounts, mock interviews and general search advice.

“There are things that Danielle and I learn, and we will share with you and give you that fresh perspective,” she says. Golden’s objective is to help art and design professionals — regardless of age or career stage — find the kind of work and life they’ll love.

“For some of our students, their idea of success is to get that job in their industry and have the title of graphic designer, product designer, curator,” Golden says. “But then I work with other students whose goal is just to find something that pays their bills so that they can paint all night and weekends. Everybody’s idea of success is different.”

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Princeton Review, Money Magazine and Payscale place the Cleveland Institute of Art on their lists. https://t.co/dRY6T2k6W9

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