It’s well known that securing a job in the creative industries is no easy task. It’s renowned as a sector of constant change, contacts and even ‘cliques’, but is that really the case? If you do your research, demonstrate your passion and meet lots of people along the way, you’ll be well on your way to securing that creative role.
Getting work experience
The first step is to work out which creative role you’re chasing and why; this is where work experience is key! Work experience is the only way to work out if you actually want the job, or not. Try to get work experience in a range of creative settings and roles to allow yourself to judge which is the best one for you.
If you can get work experience at a company that you aspire to work in, even better! This will confirm if you’re suited to the working environment and culture of the company, which are just as important as the role itself. For example, we have a ping-pong table and beer fridge in our office, but that might not be to everyone’s taste….
Getting work experience is always a bonus when applying for any job. But gaining work experience relevant to the creative industries that demonstrates that you are proactive and have shown initiative. This is an important factor for any employer when considering a candidate. But a CV full of relevant and varied work experience will only get you so far in an interview, you’ll need to have something show for this.
Building a portfolio
Start building a portfolio of work as soon as possible, whether this is an article written during a week long place or a longer campaign achieved during a summer internship, it’s all relevant. Portfolios look professional, show that you’re serious about the application and are an easy way for a potential employer to see as snapshot of a candidate.
If you can create this portfolio as a website then this is also an opportunity to demonstrate the web design, copywriting and SEO skills that are sought after by employers in the creative sectors. The same applies to a blog, which can act as a showcase of your passion and digital expertise. Creative people are passionate people by nature and having specialist knowledge in a certain area can often make the difference in an interview situation.
Start simple with a free wordpress site. Populate it with content on your specialist area, which demonstrates copywriting skills, and then make sure that this content is optimised correctly to enable it to rank in the search engine results pages. Just this activity alone demonstrates knowledge and application of search engine optimisation. You can then move on to gain web design experience by changing elements of the website.
If you’re maintaining a blog or a portfolio, then you’ll already be hitting my next recommendation – practise! It sounds obvious, but if you’re employed in the creative industries, or want to be, you should be practising your craft and reading about it as often as you can. You could also consider volunteering to build and maintain a website for a local charity, and this would also demonstrate good client relationship skills.
Finally, network, network, network! Get out there and meet the people that you could be working with, or for, years down the line. Networking isn’t just important for climbing the career ladder however, talking to others in your field is an invaluable way to gather inspiration and knowledge to use in your current role.
Thanks to Tom Craig from Impression for this fantastic advice and contribution to our creative hub.