With more and more people tapping into their ‘creative side’, job hunting can get a little tricky when going for a creative role. This is because there often isn’t a clear-cut recruitment process as is with more traditional roles, such as finance or engineering. However, there are jobs out there, and with enough passion and determination, one of them will be yours. Here are some pointers for breaking into a creative role. Have you considered going Freelance? Competition in the arts and for creative jobs is fierce. Companies have a big pool of talent to pick and choose from. Your chances of securing a role will be much higher if you already have a great portfolio. Whether paid or unpaid, freelance work is a great entry route to full-time employment. The great thing about this sector is that you don’t need much to start up on your own, other than equipment or raw materials. It may take time for the money to come rolling in, but it will pay off in the long-run, either in the form of securing a job or having a successful freelance career. Internships and Experience – Always a bonus It’s difficult to break into the creative sector without doing some form of unpaid work in order to get some industry experience. If you’re still a student, now is an ideal time to get some of this under your belt. If not, you may be able to intern at a studio on evenings and weekends. You may be talented at your craft, but a lot of employers are looking for new recruits with the raw skills as well as some real work experience. Approach any companies where you feel you could gain valuable experience and offer to help out for a few weeks. Not many people are going to turn down a free helping hand, especially in an industry that is often so manic and busy. You may even make some valuable connections for future job opportunities. Join the Right Communities – They will lead you to success A lot of creative opportunities aren’t listed on conventional job boards, usually, because the opportunity isn’t a conventional job. Luckily, pretty much any major UK town or city has creative hubs and networks where anyone is able to join. Getting involved means meeting lots of like-minded individuals who you can collaborate on projects with. Making new connections in the relevant industry also means an increased likeliness of finding out about the latest job opportunities. Whether it’s a more specific networking group, e.g. for photographers or animators, or a larger one open to all creative individuals, research online to find some in your area. Twitter and Facebook are also great ways to get involved in these groups. Be Creative With Your Application – Don’t be a Boring Betty Depending on what your ideal creative job would be, it can pay to be original and creative with your CV. For example, if applying for a design agency, they wouldn’t be overly impressed with a bog standard, word document CV. The creative industry is about pushing boundaries, so don’t be afraid to break the rules a bit to get what you want!
We all know it’s a question of when you should gain work experience, not if. These days, it’s a must-have for your CV, especially if you’re going for your first role. But knowing where to find it can be a bit of a minefield if you don’t have many industry contacts. Here are some tips to get you started. Choose Your Companies Before you start, compile a list of companies that you feel you would gain good experience from. There’s no point looking until you know what you’re looking for after all. If you’re interested in education as a career, for example, make a list of all the schools in the areas that you are able to travel to. You can then work your way through this list and contact them to organise a placement. Speculate Lots of establishments might offer work experience without advertising it. Similarly, it might be something they hadn’t originally considered but could be willing to take you on. Once you have made your list of suitable companies, don’t be scared to get in touch and enquire about placements. Ultimately, you are offering to help them out for free, so it’s as much of a favour to them as it is for you. If you never ask then you’ll never know. Offer Something When approaching a company, make sure you sell yourself to show that having you on board will be useful. In a cover letter/email, outline the various tasks you can do or will be willing to take on. This will remind the company that you can be a useful addition if there are any areas where some extra hands are needed. Pick up The Phone While sending a CV and cover letter/email is essential, there are also easily lost amongst the rest of the chaff that fills up people’s inboxes. You’ll be surprised how much more quickly things can get organised and sorted if you can get on the phone to a relevant person. Sending an initial email gives you the chance to the call-up and check if the addressee received it, so you’re not calling out of the blue. Don’t Forget the Little Ones Lots of people compete for placements within big, well-known companies when they are smaller firms out there which aren’t being inundated with applications. If you’re interested in law, for example, and having trouble getting through to the big players, try smaller, family run or independent law firms. The experience you have will likely be just as valuable, and your relationships with the staff there will be closer. Widen your search and see what crops up! Work experience is very important, but it’s equally important to remember employers are more concerned with the type of experience you have rather than the prowess of the company you gained it from. Consider all options in your search, including voluntary work, and sure enough, you’ll find something that can give yourself a much-needed boost.