Getting work in the creative industries

Large_format_camera_lensThe creative & cultural industries are pretty diverse including: Theatre, publishing, art, music, gaming and creative IT roles, film & TV, journalism, social and cultural enterprises.

They all work in slightly different ways depending on funding, private or public sector, not for profit and of course self employment and this can govern to some extent how you will find work.

There are some common themes:

  1. It’s a small world –  be nice to people, tomorrow you could be asking them for a job.
  2. Unpaid internships and working for free to get experience are all too common.
  3. Starting your own business or freelancing is likely to be part of your life at some point.
  4. You are unlikely to have a job for life, portfolio careers are the way forward.

In the creative industries, especially when you are starting out it’s not that easy to find the perfect paid job. You may not have the skills or portfolio of work yet, so how do you get a foot on the ladder?

Working for free still seems very common in the creative industries, from working as a runner in the media industry to DJing a local pub, everyone is trying to make a name for themselves in order to build up contacts and a portfolio so that they will be taken seriously in the industry.

You do not have to be a starving artist, there is another way.

  1. Volunteer while you are a student – working for free is distinctly less palatable when you graduate.
  2. Seek out entry level paid opportunities in organisations related to your area of interest.  Work as an usher, in the box office, behind the bar, anything to be in the right place at the right time.  Help people, be useful and get yourself known so that when another job comes up you are in the right place.
  3. Get a day / night job to pay the bills and work on what you are passionate about around it.  Yes you won’t get much sleep but if it is truly your passion you will make it work. As an added benefit find jobs that give you customer service, financial, administrative and marketing skills you will need all these for your own projects.
  4. If you are freelancing or able to volunteer by all means offer a freebie if you will get something out of it too; learn a new skill, get something to put on your CV or portfolio, make new contacts etc. But know your own worth and consider carefully how you will survive while you do this.  Find out more 

Getting noticed

  1. When applying for jobs recruiters are looking for:  Passion, resilience, potential (skills can be taught), someone with an opinion who can back it up, someone who knows themselves, initiative, people who get things done.
  2. Upload your portfolio, create a website and compete for prizes or other opportunities:
    eg Noise festival offers free exposure and the chance to get an industry mentor
  3. Ask to meet someone for a chat. You are not asking for a job, this is an opportunity to meet someone who you are genuinely interested in and respect. They may be someone whose career path you are interested in or whose work you admire. If you are lucky you may be able to get a short meeting with them. Emails that get responded to are:
    – free from spelling errors
    – polite and genuinely interested in the person – so do your research, be passionate about what they are passionate about
    – ask for only 30 minutes of their time
    – specific and practical about what you want to meet about

More  advice  and jobsites for the creative and cultural sector 

Don’t forget you can talk to us

If you can’t find a job, create one – go freelance!

Next blog this week … Creative Entrepreneurship









One response to “Getting work in the creative industries”

  1. Reblogged this on voicetonemood and commented:
    Creating a way…

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