a Q&A with a junior designer

In May 2019, Kellyn Nettles graduated from the University of Missouri. She has a degree in journalism with a focus in design. She has always been fascinated by fashion, and she has been particularly intrigued by styling and creative direction. She was recently the creative director for Vox Magazine, but now she’s moved to pursue her goals in New York City. Read as Kellyn sits down with A Mag to share her trials and triumphs with her first job in NYC.

What led you to choosing this career field?

Kellyn: I was really into fashion, and my love for magazines like Vogue and Elle got me interested in creative direction. So I googled “how do I become Creative Director of a fashion magazine,” and most of the results involved majoring in journalism.

What is the name of your current position?

Kellyn: I am a junior designer for the magazine Time Out New York.

How long have you had your current job?

Kellyn: I’ve had this job for a little over two months. 

How did you go about getting this job?

Kellyn: After my first interview, I made sure to keep in contact with the recruiter around once every other week, to see if she was able to give me updates. It also helped that the recruiter and I had met at a different company and she put in a good word for me. I would say for the most part I was just really (really) patient and made sure that I kept reminding them I was interested.

Did you find the job hunt to be difficult?

Kellyn: Yes. A lot of it relies on being patient and that’s something I’m not good at. I moved to New York before I had a job lined up, and it’s not cheap to be here, so I spent like two months just watching Netflix shows and either applying to jobs, following up on job applications or trying to reach out to Mizzou alumni for help/advice. I’ll admit, it was definitely mentally draining, but having support from my friends and family definitely helped a lot!

Do you have any tips for job hunting and/or interview skills?

Kellyn: Make a spreadsheet to keep track of the jobs you apply to so you can keep track of people you need to follow up with, where you are in the hiring process or even just to keep track of all the different places you applied to. When it’s time for an interview, make sure you do your research on the  company beyond just the basics — knowing what they do is great, but knowing why they do what they do, what their performance numbers are or who their target market is will help you nail the interview. All of this information is available on their website, you just have to do a little digging! Also, for the ladies: don’t shy away from applying for a job just because you don’t have all of the qualifications. If you want the job and feel you have most of the skills, APPLY. Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. We gotta change the statistics!

Can you describe a typical day at work?

Kellyn: My day changes based on when we have magazine issues coming out, but when we’re in the thick of it I usually come in and start working on designing magazine pages so that my boss can approve them. I’ll also work with our photo editor to make sure that all the pictures for pages I design are available for me to use, and I’ll work with our editors to find a nice balance between text and imagery. On off days, I’m getting ahead on our upcoming issues by concepting ideas for page designs and working with (more like listening to) my bosses to create cover/feature story design ideas.

What are some skills that you find especially important at your new job?

Kellyn: All that patience I don’t have! (Joke). I was in charge of a lot when I was working at the magazine in my college town, and now that I’m not in a leadership position I had to really learn how to be more meticulous, and how to design for a much larger audience.

How long have you been living in New York?

Kellyn: I’ve been in New York for about four months.

Was the move from Missouri to New York difficult? And if so in what ways?

Kellyn: I would say it was hard but also very exciting. Finding my apartment actually wasn’t that bad, but it was fully furnished so I had to figure out how to move all of my stuff out of my apartment in Missouri to my house in Ohio but also figure out what I wanted to take to New York. It was also hard moving away from my friends and realizing that everything was changing so quickly! Moving here has been my dream for so long that all of the moving hardships felt worth it, which is big because I absolutely HATE moving. 

What is the most challenging part about living in New York?

Kellyn: Saving money. The combination of how expensive things are and how much there is to do here is deadly. If I really want to save money, I don’t leave my apartment hahahah (seriously though).

What is the most rewarding part about living in New York?

Kellyn: Knowing that I achieved a long-term goal. I’ll have days where I wake up and look out the window and it’ll all just hit me that I’m living here with a job… it’s wild and I’m so grateful. Also, the food is amazing.

Do you have any advice for people seeking to get into this career field?

Kellyn: Networking sucks, but it’s super important to helping you land your dream job! Try to make genuine connections with people who you admire, and it will pay off. Also, don’t be afraid to cold email people you admire for advice — you can even frame it as an interview! The worst thing they can do is not respond. 

Is there anything that you would like to say that we haven’t gotten to cover?

Kellyn: College is the best, but don’t be afraid of graduating. It’s just like graduating high school again, but this time you don’t have homework and you make your own rules (outside of work)!

You May Also Like