Career Goal

What’s Your Career Goal?

You can’t get where you want to go if you don’t know where that is!

Our 1st & biggest step is to pick a career goal.

  • Not four – Yes, being an Art Educator, AND showing your Ceramics work in a gallery, AND pursuing an Animation Career, AND applying for that Museum Preparator training at The Broad are all great career choices. I believe the more careers you try to pursue at once, the greater the chances you’ll have no Art Career at all. Pick One. Focus. Run with it. 
  • Not Three.
  • Not even Two.
  • Pick One Career Goal and dedicate yourself to it.

Sophie’s Choice

This could be the hardest part of the class. Letting go of things you like to focus on what you want to accomplish in the next phase of your career. If you try to do “everything” it’s hard for people to connect to you. And it’s also hard for you to move forward with clarity.

Picking a clear focus lets you connect to people who can advance your career and it also gives you a clear mission. No more “deer in the headlights”! Define your mission and move forward with confidence!

Whether it is to Exhibit in a Gallery, Get Hired by an Animation Studio, Advertising Agency, Design Shop, connect to Private Collectors, attract Clients for your design, photography, illustration, or other work, or whatever your goals are, try to spell them out very clearly this week!

Not Sophie’s Choice

If you decide to put a couple possible Art Career paths up on the shelf so you can give full focus to your main choice, you’re not giving them up forever.

You can look back at those possible paths in the years ahead.

Maybe you put Leading Fiber Arts Workshops on the shelf because you felt that a Graphic Design career would be an easier or quicker path to paying rent and feeding your family. Or any other choice you may have made.

You can go back to the choices you didn’t make in the years ahead and reconsider them:

  • Perhaps you still long to run those Fiber Art Worshops and now would be a good time to return to that goal.
  • Or, perhaps you’re very satisfied with your Graphic Design career and those Fiber Art Workshops, while cool, were more of something that your college self romantically imagined doing, but now don’t need to.

It’s Always Your Choice

None of the examples I give here or anywhere else should suggest that Art Career A is “better” than Art Career B. The example above does not imply that I or anyone else thinks a Graphic Design career is “better” than a career leading Fiber Arts Worshops. It is only an example of a choice one student might make. The next student might make the opposite choice.

You do you!


It’s OK to be unsure. But make your best statement of what you’d like to accomplish in your career & life as you transition beyond the LBSU School of Art.

Changing Your Mind

You can change your mind tomorrow morning, next month, or next decade. The map you choose to follow is always up to you. You’re welcome to change your goals anytime during this semester.

As long as a specific career remains your goal, try to give it complete focus and commitment.

3 Categories within your Career Goal

Now that you’ve picked One Thing to focus on for now, pick 3 Categories within that career goal. For example:


  • Storyboards
  • Backgrounds
  • Character Designs

Graphic Design

  • Branding
  • Packaging
  • Typography

Gallery Artist

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Printmaking


  • Children’s Books
  • Posters
  • Cartoons


  • Portrait
  • Fashion
  • Editorial


  • Documentary
  • Photojournalism
  • Experimental

Performance Artist

  • Choreography
  • Collaboration
  • Site-Specific Works

Art Director

  • Film & Television
  • Music Videos
  • Commercials

and so on for any Art Career you want to pursue.

Elevator Pitch

Now that you’ve got

  • One Art Career Goal
  • Three Categories of work within that goal

Let’s write a 1-2 sentence “Elevator Pitch” where you succinctly tell me or anyone else, who you are, what you do, and why I should want to work with you.

The 4 C’s

Your 1-2 sentence Elevator Pitch should focus on “The 4 C’s”

  • Confident
  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Compelling

On as many of our weekly Zoom Meetups as possible we’ll start by going around the virtual room and have everyone do their elevator pitch. You can’t say this too many times. You can’t get too good at it.


Confidence is critical. You have to believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in you, I won’t believe in you. If I don’t believe in you, I can’t trust you. If I can’t trust you, I don’t want to work with you.

This can be intimidating!

Try not to stress! (any more than you have to! 🙂

As you build the elements of your portfolio you will gain Confidence as you assemble work to back you up.

As you repeat and refine your elevator pitch you will get more comfortable with it. You will believe it more and more.

When you finally have to give it to someone who can help advance your career, you will have Confidence!


Don’t over-explain. Take out all the qualifying words. Don’t “kinda-sorta” do something “in the vicinity of”. Just do the thing. A great tool for eliminating excess wording and getting to your clear and powerful point is


Clarity & Conciseness go hand in hand. Be as short and direct and to the point as you possibly can.

Being specific helps people rule you out when you’re not what they’re looking for — that’s fine! — they were never going to work with you anyway.

More importantly, when you are what someone’s looking for, being specific, being clear & concise helps them recognize that right away!

You have the rest of your professional relationship with this person, which could evolve into weeks or years, for them to learn about all the depths of you as an artist and a human being. But you’ll never get to those months and years if you can’t make a powerful connection first.


Now that you’re Confident,

Now that you’ve stripped away all those excess and qualifying words to be Clear & Concise,

add in one brief twist or hook to give your elevator pitch urgency. What can make your pitch, and you, Compelling for someone who might want to work with you?

Post on Canvas


  1. Your Specific Career Goal
  2. Your 3 Categories within your Career Goal
  3. Your 1-2 Sentence Elevator Pitch
  4. Any thoughts, discussion, or questions you have about these choices. I will respond to your thoughts and questions on Canvas. I will try to help you work through things and make sense of this often difficult and stressful choice. We can also chat by Email or on Zoom if you have questions: glenn.zucman@csulb.edu

Good Luck!

Image: Artnet News / The artist Hyon Gyon in her studio at Residency Unlimited. Image courtesy of RU.

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