Parsons Paris

Alumni talks: tips and advice

During our Study week, alias Prep week, some Parsons Paris Alumni gathered over a Zoom talk and shared some very useful tips with future graduates. After giving general advice to all attendees, the meeting was divided in 4 different rooms, one for each program. Check them out! Participants: Lama Alissa, Alec Smith, Lea Germano, Emanuela Potorti, Jamie Marte, Laura Zelmanowicz, Nicolette Kabitsis, Melissa Vorndran, Suzanna Spertsyan, Elisa Tordjmann and Livia Schriber.

General advice

  • Network. Talk about your activities.
  • Accept you don’t know where you’re going.
  • Try different things, different internships, it might give you insight into the future.
  • Be open to where opportunities can take you.
  • Practice thoughtful networking and keep up with people. Be helpful, don’t expect an immediate outcome. 
  • Be open and apply to a bunch of places, your first job might not be your dream job which is okay. Apply and see.
  • Just know you’re valuable as a Parsons student. Be confident and try a lot of stuff to understand better where you want to go.
  • Everything is possible, go for it, don’t be ashamed, if you really want it, you’ll get it.

Tips to AMT students from AMT Alumni

  • Portfolio : focus on five very good pieces, the ones that represent best who you are and your work, a portfolio is stronger if you have a few pieces of work that you are able to explain rather than a bunch of different works where you don’t know exactly where you’re going.
  • Reach out to people, personalize your message. Don’t be ashamed to reach out!
  • Learn how to present your work to people.
  • Always be ready to talk about something that you are working/have worked on.
  • AMT students have a unique profile to explorers!

Tips to FSH students from FSH Alumni

  • Tailored CV will always catch more attention.
  • Leverage your graphic, editorial skills such as Illustrator, InDesign or Photoshop.
  • Apply to anything, no matter what! You never know where it takes you. Here is Livia’s example, from her past experience : “Isabel Marant was searching for a textile design intern, I applied even though I hadn’t done so many textiles in my thesis work, I asked 24 hours to make a sample of a textile design. The recruiter appreciated my motivation and I got the interview with both heads of designers. During the interview, they saw the rest of my work and thought I would be better suited for an assistant design position than a textile design assistant, which is what I was researching in the beginning!”
  • Keep an eye on your phone as people like to call, check your voicemail. Amanda’s example: “recently, I applied for an internship at Lanvin and I saw two days later that the recruiter had called me and left a voice message. I called her back, left a message, two days after she called me and I had the interview over the phone. So be ready for any interview at any moment! And check your voicemail”.
  • Apply as soon as possible.Livia: “I applied to so many jobs in June and July and I still receive emails from them asking me if I’m still available. Even if you’re already working, keep checking and keep applying because  in 6 months you’re probably going to search for another job position. It’s good to already build a network”.
  • Be attentive to the key-words in your CV.
  • If you can find the email of the recruiter, email them!
  • Don’t be afraid to do short term and unpaid internships.
  • Start with something small, a small company, where you can ask questions and learn. Make your way little by little.
  • If you don’t get a paid job, get an internship. It’s better to have something than nothing. 

Tips to SDM students from SDM Alumni

  • Do not underestimate how long and difficult it can be to find a job. At the beginning, my full time job was searching for a job. I didn’t have the option of getting an internship, financially, I needed a job. I got my job through networking! 
  • Don’t underestimate looking at job applications outside of Paris or New York. Apply to the most job opportunities as possible. Be open to new or different opportunities. You can end up in different places and be happy in places you didn’t think you would be happy in, whether it’s in a job position or a physical place.
  • When I was at Parsons, I did not plan on being a Producer. I got into production by accident. Try to broaden your understanding of the job. We come out of Parsons very well equipped to  assist producers or talent agents. Art buying, talent management, production : these are jobs I would advise to look into. So for people who are interested in communications, looking into talent management or talent representation can be interesting.

Tips to Master students from Master Alumni

  • ‘History of Design & Curatorial Studies’ is a great program but a lot of things we learned in that program weren’t really related to communications, hospitality or luxury hospitality. And I have been able to take those things and bring them in my interview. I had to say “this is what I can take from these experiences that will help me learn”. That has been my best guidance that I’ve given anyone.
  • Use the things that you’ve learned in your program and that you can bring to the table. In France, you’re not just competing with international students you are also competing with french students so there’s kind of two different layers.
  • Definitely Parsons made a big difference.
  • I’ve always wanted to work for an auction house so it happened! One day, I wrote a post on LinkedIn, and Virginie actually made a comment and she tagged my boss with whom I’m working with now. So with that minor interaction, I got an interview over the phone and I got the internship. The team is so small and The company that I’m working with, I never heard of it and it’s close to my house.

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