How to get a career in the creative industry.

Creative careers are highly sought-after, but vacancies are few and far between.

By Farzan Salimian1st October 2015

The first semester has started at university. You’re there getting to grips with your professional self. What you do with your time now and the decisions you make will determine your career path later on in life. For some, that’s a time not so far away. Irrespective of how much time you have until graduation, there’s a few things you should be doing. Or at least start thinking about doing if you are to break into the creative industry.

If you have a destination, you have to plan the journey and take the steps to get there. In this instance, it will include doing extra-curricular work. The good thing, though, is that if this is your passion then doing these things will be fun. Just like the creative industries itself.

So if you’re a student in design, IT, advertising or media, here are 10 tips passed on by some of our creatives here at Sequence to get the career you want.

Set up a website/blog.

First stop, you need a web presence. Whether it’s a blog to share your thoughts or a portfolio website to showcase your work, you need something digital that represents you and what you're capable of. One to give you a voice that can be heard by the people that matter. Just by having one you’ll stand out from the rest – just remember to keep it up to date like any other CV.

Read books.

We’re big fans of books here at Sequence. We’re fans because reading books not only give you snippets of wisdom, ideas and motivation, but they improve your communication; the way you speak. This is precisely the business we are in; speaking to customers. To get started, see a previous post on recommended books to challenge your thinking.

Become a familiar face.

Throughout UK’s cities lie pockets of small groups and gatherings from all creative disciplines. The are there for you to build your network. Here in the Cardiff region you’ll find Design Stuff, Marketing Network and Creative Mornings. In these events, you can get to know the people already in the industry; ones that may hold the key to your next role. Equally, don’t shy away from your social profiles either. Be proactive; be visible.

Start a side business/project.

If you’re in an interview and can demonstrate that you’ve started your own business (no matter how small) then you’ve already got one foot in that vacancy. It doesn’t even have to be profitable, or even a real business for that matter. Provide a service that people can relate to and you'll soon see the benefits of doing it that you wouldn’t think possible.

Get experience.

Employers like to see experience within real-world situations. If you can’t get that from starting your own business, then request work experience or freelance work for free – at least to begin with. Eventually, you’ll start to work on projects that recruiters can relate to. It will also give you a conversation topic on your website, social channels and within those networking events.

Get a mentor (and learn from them).

In this industry if you reach out for help, for the most times you’ll receive it. Without this help, you won’t go very far. So take the advice of others. Use your family and friends first, and then reach out to people within the industry and learn from them. You are trying to go somewhere that they have already been before don't forget.

Keep honing your skills.

Life is a journey of discovery. If you’re not learning, then you're not developing. The creative and digital industries are ones that are constantly changing. Changing at a rapid rate at that. So stay ahead of the game, keep testing yourself by learning new skills and honing current ones.

Be a brand.

At this tender time, everything you say and do will be scrutinised, discussed and compared to with other candidates. To really make an impact, consider your personal brand. Your voice, tone, image, personality and brand narrative is your strength. It what makes you different so you can stand out. And that’s exactly what you want.

Try new things.

Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t have that same curiosity you had whilst a kid. Life is there to find and experience new things. You’ll think differently about yourself, and even your career by doing so. Be open to all things new, don’t be afraid, and experiment with everything.

Take a holiday.

There sometimes comes a time when you need to rediscover yourself. To take a little time away from studies and from work to think about the bigger picture. This time is priceless. Even we at Sequence – who love our jobs – value this time. Because it’s a time that gives us the opportunity to take a back seat and assess what we’re actually doing – and realise what we must do to achieve our future goals.

The real secret for a creative career is to do something and do it now.

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