I set myself a target this year to give more of my time to supporting and helping others through mentoring, as well as offering advice.
I was approached by a newly formed networking community, IdentityCreates, and asked to take part in an event to help hopeful, young and talented creatives get a footing in the creative industry. The event was a sell-out and was so much fun to do alongside two other panellists Jayne Andrew from outdoor media agency Jack and Reuben Turner from cause-related creative shop The Good Agency. We met loads of wonderful people and shared our stories. Here are some of the top tips we shared about getting into and progressing through junior positions in the creative industry.
Getting a foot in the creative industry
- Work experience and internships are essential. Start this as early as possible and aim to get 2-3 short placements – the ones done at school count too!
- Understand the type of agency you think you want to work in – and research them. Research what they do, not just the brands they work for.
- Show work that is relevant to what the agency does – it doesn’t matter if you think it’s boring or not very creative. As much as there’s the fun stuff to do, they’ll need someone that can do the simple stuff too.
- Whether you are introverted or extroverted, you need to find a way to make yourself stand out.
- Show that you are keen to learn and prove it. Highlight what you have learnt or are learning that is relevant to the job (motion, video editing, UX). Added skills are a bonus. There are free and cheap ways to skill up;
Progressing within the creative industry
- Don’t just respond to job ads. Send speculative emails to relevant agencies as you might get lucky.
- When you get a job offer, negotiate for the things that will make you happy at the start – you’ll get respect for it (whether you get what you want or not).
- If you are frustrated in your job – remember it’s just a job, there are loads of agencies in London – if you have a good CV and portfolio you’ll find your happy place.
- If you are unhappy with your progression at work, don’t let it spiral out of control. Talk to your boss, it’s their responsibility to manage this.
- You don’t always have to leave to be happy. Conflicts with line managers could stem from a clash of communication styles or misaligned expectations. If you are stressing out, talk to your boss, it might be easily resolved by management/teamwork training. Most line managers are shocked and surprised when they are made aware of the negative impact they have on others.
But really there’s no one way of getting into the creative industry. There’s no big secret, but opportunities may arise from attending events and networking both online and in real life. We’ve all had our own weird and wonderful ways of getting in, and with that brings a range of different experiences. So don’t stress that you haven’t found the perfect role yet – if you’re hungry for it and persistent enough you’ll find it. Then when you do, you’ll love it even more for having worked hard to get yourself there.
In a world that's always evolving, stay one step ahead.
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