It is tougher than ever for students (and graduates) to find jobs in the creative industry and it can be just as tough finding an internship. But it’s also important for the industry to create a better platform for jobseekers. After all, they are the future and it is already evident that here in the UAE we are allowing our homegrown talent to fall by the wayside because very little is being done to help graduates make the transition to full-time work.
We receive emails from students everyday asking for jobs or internships. Unfortunately, being a small boutique consultancy we are unable to reply to everyone and so only those applicants that take the time to do some simple research on our business are the ones that we try to reply to and take and interest in.
Here are some ideas that can help potential candidates. They are not a secret sauce but they will increase the odds of landing a career in design or the creative industry…
Spend as much time as you can in the studio. Good work comes from the effort and hours.
Make the most of your universities facilities. This is your time to experiment with ideas. Design studio are often less well-equipped.
Find out what disciplines within the creative industry interest you?
Who are the companies who do that work – regional and internationally?
Find out about the other companies within that creative field. Who is good, bad, innovative.
Form an opinion and talk about it in your interview.
Start building a portfolio. It’s never too early.
Start your own personal projects. They are a great talking point in an interview.
Do whatever you need to to keep the fun in your work.
Travel if you can. Visit art galleries and museums wherever you go. Gain life experience!
Read about artists, designers, architects. Read about manufacturing or print techniques. Knowing this will help you develop your own techniques and will improve your employability.
Go to a design studio. Ask if you can just hangout. Ask if you can make the coffee. Ask if you can help out for one morning a week, even if it’s not paid, get experience early on, and lots of it, it’s in your hands..
Keep a sketchbook. As an employer I want to see how you think. A sketchbook show me you are passionate. It show me that you can articulate your ideas visually. I want to see that you can experiment and the journey it takes you on. Sketchbooks are more interesting than final pieces of work.
Enter awards – if you win it will help you stand out and provide free PR.
Build up a network of companies, designers that you like, write to them and ask if they would mind giving some advice about design, finding a job, build relationships. Invite the same people to your end of year exhibition.
Subscribe to industry magazines.
Keep an eye on industry blogs.
www.booooooom.com / www.changethethought.com / www.theculturist.com / www.computerarts.co.uk / www.designiskinky.co.uk / www.ffffound.com / www.formfiftyfive.com / www.itsnicethat.com / www.lostateminor.com / www.motionographer.com / www.septemberindustry.com / www.thunderchunky.co.uk
Form a collective, create your own pop up studio.
Go to art openings and art fairs.
Creative industry nights. There is one organised at Media One hotel by Campaign ME in Dubai, another called -ING.
Go to networking events
Take a placement (with anyone).
Become an expert in an area related to your chosen field. i.e. Take a placement with a the local printer if you are a graphic designer lean about techniques and processes.
Go to portfolio review nights. Editing your own work is difficult. Being able to edit work effectively will help you grow throughout your career.
Promote yourself. Goto www.campaignmonitor.com and put some work into a newsletter and send it out to people who’s work you like.
Get on to LinkedIn or build a profile. One of the first things employers look at is your online presence. Help them find you.
Find an agent – Creative Animals
Look on the job sites – bayt.com
Create your own art design exhibition, invite potential employers.
“Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with. And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes. And the changes are what you become. Change the outcome by changing your circle.” – Seth Godin
- Keep your CV simple. Make it relevant.
- Write to the companies you’re interested in.
- Address it to the right person. Do they have published work or a portfolio online like on Behance.
- Do some research – Show an interest in the company you’re applying to. What do you like about them, their work, their style, their philosophy.
- Attract their attention in other ways. Mail or FedEx them something clever and make it relevant.
- Write an actual letter to the person you are applying to. It will show that you’ve made an effort and the personal touch will solicit a response.
1. Create a strong portfolio of work that is well edited and focused on your target job. If you are applying for a designer position include design projects, NOT photography or work from your embroidery class, unless it is the best work ever. Furthermore, DO NOT include every project and application you have ever done.
2. Research the design, advertising and marketing industries in your city or country.
3. Find out what projects interest you.
4. Send an enquiry to that company about vacancies or internships.
5. Send your work to other designers and creative directors. Don’t ask for a job ask them if they would mind giving you feedback on your work. This can be a more effective way of building a relationship with potential employers and it can help you improve your portfolio.
6. Research the design/media company you are applying to.
7. Find out who to send your CV and portfolio to, and include a link to your portfolio.
8. Standout, get noticed, but avoid stalker-ish behavior.
9. Follow up with call or email a week later to check in with that company. They might be busy with no time to respond.
10. Connect with the consultancy/agencies on social media.
11. If you receive a reply, thank the company for their time.
12. If you get an interview, be passionate and enthusiastic in your communication with the employer.
13. Prepare some questions that you’d like to ask during the interview. It shows you’ve taken an interest.
Common Interview questions
1. What design consultancies agencies you admire and why?
2. What design projects interested you?
3. Who do you admire?
4. What is your opinion about design in the region/globally?
5. What would be a dream project for you?
6. What would be a nightmare project for you?
7. What kind of design disciplines are you best at?
8. What kind of design disciplines are your weakest?
9. How do you normally start your design process after receiving a brief?
10. Can you draw? How do you articulate your ideas?
11. Why do you want to work for us?
It’s good to know how the creative industry works before you start selling your services as a freelancer or business owner. What services do creative agencies and individuals offer? How much do they charge? How is quality judged? Learn how to work efficiently. Learn from others. Learn from the projects. Learn to work in a team. Learn to support your colleagues. Learn what it takes to beat the competition. Experience company politics. Challenge yourself. Inspire people.
(a) Get an internship with a company that does the type of work you want to do. I recommend you try out a number of different sized companies in the field you’re interested in. You may find it’s a lot more hands on with steep learning curves at a smaller company. In larger businesses you might have the opportunity to move around departments learning different skills and a broader experience.
(b) Work in your chosen field for a couple of years. Get a feel for working with others in a team learn form these people. Get some industry insights go to meetings learn how to present your work.
By Mark Woodward, Owner & Creative Director, AirSpace Studio.
We love sketchbooks and couldn’t help but buy a fare number of these beauties from Sri Lanka recently.
Postcard inspiration galore. Dropped in on a client of ours on a recent trip to Sri Lanka.Couldn’t resist the chance to buy some limited edition film posters.
We’re busy building our hospitality insights and inspirational ideas website ‘Major Hobbs’. Coming soon!
Development of guidelines for Linktia – A holding company for well know media brands in the Middle East. Brands include bareface – the largest model agency in the MENA region, Magnet Photo Production, Alchemy Films, arabianEye, Corbis, Aperto Middle East and BuyDubai.
We created Magnets original brand back in 2011. Since then Magnet has grown increased its reach internationally. So, we were invited back to help them build a design kit to reflect breadth of the business services and also tackle design challenges that have come up over the years. We began the process with a visual audit to determine what still works, what needs replacing, and any addition design components to create. Following this phase was design development of all Magnet’s look & feel graphic elements. A guidelines was produced to put some rules in place for using the brand elements with visual inspiration for the marketing team.
We explore the future of hospitality with some fictional ideas…
Airlines are operating like hotels and hotels are refining the guests journey to their destination. One of the emerging BnB hospitality brands recently bought rental car company Wurtz to complement its global reach and dedication to providing guests with the best all-round ‘one-click’ vacation package. A BnB spokeswoman explained “We are removing the middleman to provide our customers with the most competitively priced rental car service globally”.
Asian Airline Fourth Element launched their Zephr Airship today catering to the family group travellers between China and Europe. Families are no longer restricted to the confines of an airline seat with their children. Our fleet of airships are a microcosm of hospitality and entertainment. Guests travel in compact family apartments in amongst amenities of swimming pools, a micro theme park, kids clubs, cinema, a food hall including 2 premium restaurants and a fun zone as large as a football pitch.
Last night went along to support a very personal photo exhibition by AirSpace Director Katarina Premfors. Here are photos of the opening night and a selection of images exhibited.
An active commercial photographer and photojournalist in the Middle East for more than twenty years, Katarina Premfors has long supported photography as a catalyst for positive social change. Working with various NGO’s including UNICEF and Photographers for Hope, Katarina has put forth a variety of photographic essays focused on humanitarian initiatives, depicting sensitive issues that include HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and disabilities throughout the MENA region.
Communicating challenging and often emotionally charged subject matter is a task for which Katarina comes well prepared. In this case it is no wonder she picked up her camera shortly after her father Kenth fell victim to a stroke in 2011. A familiar and cathartic process for Katarina, documenting her father throughout this period was not only something that she felt was important to do; her father also encouraged her to take photographs. Her images recorded his progress in physiotherapy, a process he was determined to continue even after his cancer diagnosis. Katarina continued to photograph her father through to his passing away, seventeen months after the initial stroke took place.
Pappa is a delicate and emotionally charged series depicting touching moments with Kenth and his infant granddaughter, his wife and children, portrayed alongside the daily challenges faced in the wake of a stroke and later following cancer treatments. Tackling a subject seldom approached in conversation, Pappa visually explores the undeniable truths tied to our own mortality. Katarina celebrates each moment, valuing both the struggles and victories that occur within each day.
Opening night for Pappa will be January 19 from 7:30pm onwards. The exhibition is free to visit and open to the public January 19 – February 22, 2014.
Images and content are © 2014 Katarina Premfors. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate.
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