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Thursday, July 22, 2010

A look at an up-and-comer: Bridget Aymar

Meet Bridget Aymar a University of Minnesota graduate. Bridget won a PRSA Student Classics Award for her work with Operation Black Book for the Uptown Art Fair.

1. Tell me about the jobs that you held while at the University of Minnesota.

In 2008, in the early stages of my professional career, I was lucky enough to land an internship with Uptown Association, the producers of the Uptown Art Fair. I dove right into the nitty gritty of event planning, by managing and executing the youth component of the art fair. I was responsible for Tomorrow’s Stars Seen Today, a youth art fair for artists ages 8-18. I also took the lead on a new event, Operation Black Book, which involved educating youth on how to create art in a graffiti style, legally.

I won a PRSA Student Classics award for my work with the event. When the summer came to a close, I got hired as a copy editor at the Minnesota Daily. I edited news content for grammar, spelling and AP style, I wrote headlines, and I laid out news pages. Although getting paid to read was just about the best job I could have asked for, I decided to spend my last summer as a student serving pizza and beer at Old Chicago in Uptown. After I graduated, I returned to Uptown Association for a short period of time to manage social media, write content for the website, and execute various events include the Uptown Art Fair jury process. I currently work as a freelance writer/editor at Horizontal Integration, a consulting and staffing firm in Minnetonka. I also continue to serve pizza and beer while I look for the right full-time position.

2. Which accomplishment in your professional career are you most proud of and why?

I was most proud of managing and executing the Uptown Art Fair jury process. Because the fair is a fine arts festival, each artist who applies must submit photos of their work and an artist statement which is judged by a team of art professors, museum curators and professional artists. Although more than 1,000 artists apply to the fair, only around 350 are selected to show their work.

I independently managed the event from beginning to end. I selected jurors, collaborated with the jury venue, studied up on the technology needed for the anonymous voting process and even set up the equipment used to project each artist’s images on a six-foot high screen. After three days of jurying, Uptown Association had selected the artists who were to show their work at the 2010 Uptown Art Fair. I was most proud of this accomplishment because the artists are the most important component of the fair, and I made a large contribution to selecting those artists.

3. How did your education from the University of Minnesota prepare you for a public relations career?

My classes and professors prepared me for the high expectations that I would have to meet in the professional world. I learned how to conduct market research, how to write everything from a basic news release to a feature story, the implications media law could have on my work and so much more. At the University of Minnesta, I produced videos for a real-life client, conducted public relations research, learned basic graphic design, and produced advertisements, speeches, scripts, and so much more. Beyond the tools I would need in a public relations career, I also learned how to land a job by attending resume and interviewing workshops, conducting informational interviews and maintaining a professional portfolio.

4. How is your job search going?

My job search has involved a lot of hard work. It’s true that they say finding a job is a full-time job in itself. I spend a lot of time staying in touch with those in my professional network, scanning online posts and keeping my resume up to date. Since I graduated, I have been freelancing, and performing the occasional task for Uptown Association. So far, I am still looking for that perfect position.

5. What would be the optimal employment opportunity for you?

As long as I can write, be creative, and work with others who like to do the same, I’ll be happy. I would love to work somewhere that values original ideas and isn’t afraid to consider the unconventional. I am a very committed person, so I would love to work somewhere where I can channel my enthusiasm into results. Although I’m still young, I plan to grow substantially throughout my career and meet new challenges.

6. What advice do you have for fellow job seekers?

Never overlook an opportunity to learn. Although the job search can seem tedious, discouraging and thankless, you can always learn from a given situation. Also, sometimes it’s about being in the right place at the right time. Almost every job I have ever landed, whether it was at Horizontal Integration or at Old Chicago, I got it because I knew the right person. So conduct informational interviews, talk to family and friends, keep in touch with professors and attend networking events  PRSA holds several events throughout the year. Also, talk about your job search to others. You never know when you’ll meet someone in a position to offer you an opportunity. If networking seems difficult, just remember, every professional was once in the same position you are now, and most are happy to impart their wisdom to help a student.

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