Industry Experts Share Encouraging Advice with Job Seekers


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Students plan their day before the start of “Job Success in Today's Market,” which kicked off the event. Photo by Eric Welch/GIA
Act with integrity. Adapt to change. Know what your next job will be. Don’t be afraid to fail.
 
These are just some of the words of advice offered to job seekers at GIA’s 20th annual Jewelry Career Fair on Oct. 22. The event, held at the Institute’s world headquarters in Carlsbad, is a free, one-day-only opportunity for attendees to connect with companies through panel discussions, one-on-one career coaching sessions and networking. It also included three panel sessions: “Job Success in Today’s Market,” “From Design to Finish” and “Creative Careers.”
 
Here is some of their best advice:
 
Alan Bell, managing director of The Bell Group, Inc., shared principles he learned from his father: “It’s not enough to conduct yourself with integrity in the jewelry industry. You must conduct yourself in a manner that leaves no doubt about your integrity. You must always do what you agree to do.”
 
Douglas Kazanjian, CEO of Kazanjian Bros. Inc., on how to get into the estate jewelry business: “(Look for) the company that has the most turnover of goods. You really want to go in looking for the experience first. Salary and compensation should be the last things you think about – it takes a long time to become valuable (because of your knowledge) in the estate business.”
 
David Pomije, chairman and CEO of Top Hat, Inc.: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
 
Mark Smelzer, publisher of JCK magazine: “Take advantage of the slower economy to rethink, replan, reimagine. Think about what your core strengths are, do your homework, think about how you present yourself.”
 
Jewelry designer Erica Courtney: “You can’t get lucky if you don’t get out there. You can’t get lucky if you’re sitting at home waiting for someone to discover what a genius you are. You have to make them know you’re a genius.”
 
Steven A. Mindel, managing partner of Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt & Klein, LLP: “There are a million different opportunities for people coming into the jewelry industry. You’ve got to keep your eyes really open because there may be a strange path to get in.”
 
Steve Shonebarger, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Montres Corum USA, always had his next job in line: “I always had aspirations to work for the next big company, but you don’t want to have a resume that shows you’ve changed jobs every year or two. You want to have at least 4 to 5 years with every company.”
 
Debra Dolphin, director of fulfillment for Blue Nile: “Give yourself a break if you fail once in a while. You’re going to learn from it, pick yourself up and be better next time.”

George Blodwell, celebrity stylist: “We’re already successful just being human beings. We are gems; we are so special and priceless. Remember that when you’re waking up in the morning. Be happy, be yourself – people respond to that authenticity. Don’t try to be something you’re not, don’t try to be impressive. Just be a real person and say what comes from your heart.”

Amanda J. Luke is a senior communications manager at GIA. She is the editor of the GIA Insider and Alum Connect and was the editor of The Loupe magazine.