Just weeks after graduating from Merrimack in 2023 with his B.A in Graphic Design, alum Jeff Converse had a full-time position at ‘47 Brand as a Headwear Production Artist.
Converse started his first internship with ‘47 Brand during the summer of 2022. His position was one on a small team, where he mainly worked on presentations, day-to-day tasks and projects, and assisting his teammates on what they may need assistance with. Getting a feel for the company and their dynamic, Converse says he started embedding himself more into the company “to build relationships, and to understand [everyone’s] creative process.” As the summer progressed, and more in-depth connections were made, Converse was given opportunities to assist in designing seasonal products, give his creative input on various projects, and more.
Now, graduated with his B.A. in Graphic Design, Converse has welcomed a full-time position in a similar job to his internship. As a Headwear Production Artist, “my position is tasked to use creativity to accurately translate all headwear styles and graphics across all leagues and other areas… [which is] an integral role in achieving efficiency, accuracy, and meeting deadlines for seasonal global lines and product initiatives.”
The experiences from his internship gave him some insight into design fields that he didn’t think of before. There were the soft skills that developed over time, such as communication, research, teamwork, and the design process as a whole. On the other hand, his hard skills in Illustrator and InDesign further strengthening his understanding of graphic layout and typography, fabrics, and the overall embroidery process.
Though learning so much, Converse discussed he also felt that he was falling behind. Because there were so many folks advanced in the software, some of them being “the most skilled users… I have ever seen,” he began to develop what he calls ‘imposter syndrome.’ “Immediately entering a professional creative environment, you are met with highly skilled individuals that are quick, seasoned, and well-versed into the process and expectations of the company… As a student, my abilities were not that of those around me… [which] slowed my thinking and performance as I was attempting to achieve perfection to prove my worth.”
However, he did not let those feelings stop him from growing and learning more. After months of hard work and growing within the company, Converse was given the verbal job offer during his end-of-year review. He remarked the experience as extremely unexpected: “As a student, I was not expecting to have a professional opportunity nearly a year before finishing my academic career!”
For students looking to get into the field of design, Converse cannot recommend internships enough. “Not only do they give you experience in the field, but they heighten skills, provide personal connections, and even open professional opportunities post-graduation.” Recommending LinkedIn, Handshake, and company websites, he also motivates students to check out on-campus resources that can connect them with opportunities. Most importantly, he pushes folks to go beyond the ‘LinkedIn Quick Apply,’ and reach out to the hiring manager or folks in the department. “In my experience, reaching out to individuals through [hiring sites] helped push my application along, connecting a face to a name, and showed a desire and interest for the position!”