Finding Work in the Creative Industry after University

March 9th, 2015

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So you’ve either just left University, or that end date is looming close and  you’ve got to get yourself out there to find work. Can seem like a daunting task, however there are lots of ways you can make yourself stand out in the creative industry, whether you’re a web designer, developer or a filmmaker.

So here are some tips on how to get your foot in the door.

1. Address an actual person!

Running an agency I get a LOT of people contacting me looking for jobs and work experience. I can tell you that 99% of them don’t get read past the first line. Why? Because on the About page of my website clearly has my name, and yet I still get generic ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ emails. If the email starts with ‘Hi Jo’ I’m 100% more likely to read it, as it shows you have at least done a bit of research. I can’t stress how important this is.

If you can’t find a contact name, then have a snoop around Twitter or LinkedIn. If you still can’t find a name, chances are they probably don’t want it to be public knowledge so you’re good to go with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or other generic opening lines.

2. Put it in writing

Personally, I find getting phone calls asking for work / work experience stressful. I’m usually in the middle of something and would much rather have an email or letter sent via post that I can read in my own time. If you’ve sent an email and don’t get a response, maybe then you can give a call to follow up.

3. Do your research

Following on from point number 1, it’s worth looking at the work that the company have done and mention it in the email / letter. Employers can easily sniff out a prospective employee and whether they really do want to work for the company or not, so make sure you mean it!

4. Get an introduction

If you know someone who knows someone who works at the company, see if you can get an introduction. It will make you memorable and already gives you a head start.

5. Attend networking events regularly

You knew that one was coming… but seriously, it’s the best way to meet other agencies and freelancers from the local area. A lot of them are there looking for prospective employees and they will already appreciate the fact that you’ve taken the time to be proactive and go networking.

6. Offer them a cup of tea or a pint

Not in a creepy way, but if you email someone from an agency or a fellow freelancer, explain you are just starting out, appreciate the work they do and just want to pick their brains over a drink, chances are they will let you! In my experience it’s one of the most successful ways of getting your name out there.

7. Have a portfolio ready

It doesn’t have to be a huge portfolio, but having a website with some examples of what you’ve been working on will give potential employers an idea of your skill level. Don’t worry about not being top of your game yet, there are plenty of roles for juniors out there. If you don’t have any work to show off yet, then create your own projects!

8. Send a CV in PDF format

Nothing worse than getting a Word document you can’t open, or opening it and the formatting of the CV ending up all over the place. Export it as a PDF and you should be good to go!

9. Be yourself!

Injecting a bit of personality into your emails and CV’s goes a long way in the industry. We read hundreds of emails a day and if you can raise a smile then you’ve done something right!

Got anymore tips/advice?

Interested to hear your experiences, whether a student / graduate looking for work, or whether you’ve successfully found work – just comment below!

Written by:

Freelance front end developer, organiser of Portsmouth Freelancers Meet, Director of Starboard

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