When people think of the Office of Career Development, they most likely imagine internships, résumé writing and job search strategy workshops. While these are, of course, important services that the office provides to SVA students and alumni, there is another side to the story. Through frequent industry outreach we build relationships with external creative professionals—to familiarize them with the caliber of talent coming out of SVA and to create convenient pipelines for these employers to hire the College's graduates. Additionally, we stay closely connected to SVA alumni who are in positions to hire graduates and are eager to support their fellow alumni.
The Career Development staff not only interacts with New York City-based employers on a daily basis but extends its outreach well beyond the New York metropolitan region—indeed, around the world. One major area of focus is the West Coast of the U.S., particularly Los Angeles. Although New York City has been called the "art capital of the world" since the 1920s, Los Angeles is now a peer in many regards—and is home to the majority of the nation's film and animation studios. Additionally, whether they have moved to the West Coast for career opportunities or better weather, Los Angeles and San Francisco are home to the second and third largest number of SVA alumni, respectively, after New York City.
The director of Career Development frequently organizes outreach trips to California. These trips are attended not only by Career Development personnel, but also representatives from the Office of External Relations, the Office of Alumni Affairs and two or three studio departments. This mix of SVA staff and faculty creates a team that is able to cover a great deal of territory in one week—connecting with SVA alumni and employers and bringing a wealth of knowledge and diverse backgrounds to each meeting.
During these trips, SVA representatives reacquaint themselves with alumni at intimate lunches, at studios where they work and at receptions. The goal of these interactions is to learn from alumni about their experiences after leaving the College, including the resources they took advantage of from SVA and also the tools they found on their own or learned from other alumni. Each year, the SVA team learns new ways to better support students and recent graduates. Additionally, we learn how important (or not) the SVA community has been for recent graduates and discuss ways to help them stay better connected. Sometimes these interactions bring together alumni who have worked on the same projects without realizing they shared the same alma mater.
When visiting potential employers, the goals of the SVA team shift somewhat to ensure these employers are not only familiar with the latest developments at SVA, but also that they have convenient ways to tap into the College's talent. These meetings allow the team to explore new opportunities to collaborate with employers on educational projects and to trade knowledge about the latest industry developments—from hiring trends to technological advances. Such information is valuable to bring back to campus and better prepare students to step into today's dynamic workforce.
On the most recent outreach trip to Los Angeles, Career Development coordinated a week of activities for representatives from Career Development; External Relations; Alumni Affairs; BFA Film, Video and Animation; MFA Computer Art; and BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects. The trip was a great success, packed with alumni
meetings and a reception in West Hollywood. Additionally, the team visited nearly a dozen studios, including DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Animation, Cartoon Network, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Titmouse (founded by SVA alumnus Chris Prynoski).
Whether it involves a flight to California or just a subway ride uptown, Career Development is always eager to meet with employers interested in hiring SVA's talented students and alumni. Additionally, technology such as videoconferencing makes it easier for staff, faculty, students and alumni to stay better connected between in-person visits. Employers or alumni interested in scheduling a meeting with a representative from Career Development are encouraged to contact the office at 212.592.2370 or email@example.com. ∞