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GIA 19th annual Jewelry Career Fair fed advice for job seekers
Industry experts advised on the attitude one should adopt for such a profession
By: Diamond World News Service
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Nov 21 2009 3:43PM
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Reference: 4397  

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The GIA 19th annual Jewelry Career Fair gave some advice on what approach should job seekers adopt when seeking success in the gem and jewellery industry. Kathryn Kimmel, GIA vice president and chief marketing officer encouraged attendees to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about today’s career choices from the leaders of the industry, present on the occasion.

Vatché Fronjian, president of The Jewelers 24 Karat Club of Southern California, a co-founder of the event, said the industry is more vibrant than ever, despite an ailing economy. He said job seekers must actively educate themselves and strategise what their capabilities are based on the needs of the time. “My advice is to constantly educate yourselves through GIA and industry news and associations,” he said.

The keynote session, “Job Success in Today’s Market,” brought together retail, coloured gemstones and fashion experts to offer guidance on how job seekers can “take our industry to creative new heights,” said Donna Baker, GIA president and CEO. She reminded attendees that potential customers are facing a new reality when it comes to making jewellery purchases. “With money much dearer, people want to feel good about their purchases, not just their products,” she said. “And they want something that speaks to their individuality, not just their status.” Baker offered these insights on the state of the industry and what job seekers can do to adapt and thrive: Create designs at popular prices that complement today’s fashion, Instill confidence in the product, Stay on top of product knowledge, People want to feel good about their purchases, Take advantage of global opportunities.

DOUG HUCKER, CEO, American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) said “You are entering one of the most exciting and wonderful businesses you could possibly get involved in – at the worst possible time.” He told attendees he was going to concentrate on the wholesale coloured gemstone business and anyone interested in it needed to focus on getting a job first. His advice was to -

Update your resume every week, Your cover letter is critical, Take advantage of electronic tools, Network, You need to become a coloured gemstone professional. He offered specific advice for those aiming to be coloured gemstone buyers. “The only way you can become a buyer as an entry-level person, is to have a whole bunch of money and hope it holds out until you know how to buy properly,” he said. “The way you become a buyer is by learning how to sell. What is romantic about the product, what drives the product, what excites people about coloured gemstones, what are the particular needs of the retail jewelleer that you’re working with, who are your customers? “If you can get that and learn that, then you can become a buyer,” he added.

MARY TODD-MCGINNIS, vice president of sales and e-commerce, Ben Bridge Jeweler illustrated the way trends and culture affect people to buy jewellery. She used music, interest rates, fashion accessories and television to shows as examples. She shared seven aspects that would make a person “irresistible” to an employer: Associate yourself with the best in the industry, Do your very best, Use Facebook and Twitter, Be the character you are, Read, continue to learn, Find out what makes you happy, Show passion.

KARA ERICKSON, sales manager for Tiffany & Co. Pasadena, California shared five key concepts she used to build her career: Create your vision, Stay focused, Take action, Be prepared to make sacrifices, Get support.

MICHAEL O’CONNOR, jewelry and style expert, television commentator, consultant to Platinum Guild International said Seize the opportunity. Michael O’Connor, known as the “King of Bling” at Hollywood’s red carpet events, added “All of us are presented with opportunities in our life we have to seize in order to get ahead. Sometimes those opportunities are not really presenting themselves as opportunities,” but as obstacles to take advantage of, he said.

The GIA Jewelry Career Fair, 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. This fall’s event included three panel sessions: “Job Success in Today’s Market,” “From Design to Finish” and “Creative Careers.”

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