When speaking about a job in the creative field I mean Art Directors, Graphic Designers, Photographers and similar “art degree” careers. Check out my post about types of jobs you can do with a Graphic Design degree. The competition is so tough when it comes to creative careers that it seems as though 1,000 people are all vying for one single position. Obviously everyone will not make the cut. There are ways to up your chances though. Many of these tips are not totally specific to creative careers and can be used for all jobseekers.
Stand Out from the Crowd
Standing out is so important with so many applicants scrambling to get into so few positions. Read the descriptions for positions carefully, mirroring your cover letter to match their needs. If they are seeking an “Adobe Illustrator rockstar” state that you “possess rockstar abilities in Adobe Illustrator”.
Request updates on your application status. Unless they request no phone calls be sent, give them a call. Ask to speak with the hiring manager or for their direct email. Contacting a potential employer after submitting an application scares a lot of people. Use this to your advantage. I sure have!
A Strong Portfolio
When I first started applying to Graphic Design jobs, it was still the norm to lug around huge black vinyl portfolios of your work. This meant I knew fellow art students who had taken actual portfolio prep classes, all to land the perfect job.
The way our portfolios are viewed has changed with the times. You probably guessed that the most important form of portfolio for today’s world is the online portfolio. Don’t add every piece of work you’ve ever done. Think about quality as well as variety. Choose a variety of projects that show the different skills you bring to the table. If you are a photographer show the photographs you love as well as some ‘before and afters’ highlighting your editing skills in Photoshop. Your portfolio doesn’t have to include paid work. If you are just starting out, include contest entries and even student work you are really proud of.
An Attractive Resume
Creative professionals are expected to know the importance of aesthetics. Pretty sells for a reason. If your resume design does not reflect that, you won’t be hired. They won’t even contact you. It’s as simple as that.
Make sure that it is not all about aesthetics though. This is a mistake I made early on, believing that putting my name below the other information on my resume was more aesthetically pleasing. I found this out the hard way, after receiving zero callbacks. I had a friend in the Architecture field who helped me to see that my resume layout was all wrong. His suggestions made my resume easier to read and I started getting callbacks.
Make Your Skills Shine
Your skills should stand out in both your resume and cover letter. 90% of the reason you are being considered is the skills you bring to the table. Also, I recently read that Microsoft Office is not considered a skill for those in any creative field. It’s are a given.
Dress the Part
Look professional, though show a little of your creative flare. I once wore bright yellow glasses to a job interview where the company featured the same yellow color in their logo. I’m sure that also helped me to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t Give Up
Above all, work hard and don’t give up! Many job seekers will feel the pressure and give up. Remember that all interviews are learning experiences. The whole process of finding a job is a learning experience. Learn from the disappointments and improve with each new experience.