So, your three years of student life has come to an end. It’s time to say goodbye to Super Noodles by the dozen and using Hula Hoops as croutons, it’s time to get a job. Leaving the comfort of your slightly grubby student house and entering the real world of work and earning money can be a daunting process. Finding a job upon graduation can seem like the be all and end all. A lot can rest on the shoulders of a job hunt, but ensuring you stand out and landing the job you deserve is possible.
So, what can you do to really catch the attention of your future employer and make the process altogether less stressful? Here are my top tips on landing a job in the creative industries as a recent graduate:
1. Have two CVs - a creative CV and a conventional CV.
As you can imagine employers can receive hundreds of applications a day, so a creative CV can help you stand out that little bit more. Pinterest is great for inspiration when it comes to creative CVs - remember the kind of industry you are trying to break, these employers see a whole bunch of creative work every day so try and think of something a little different. Don't be afraid to get your personality across, that's what makes you unique.
However, take note, many online recruitment sites such as Indeed.com use an automatic filter to reduce the amount of CVs that get sent on to an employer. An online tracking programme scans uploaded CVs and reads them before sending suitable ones over to the employer. So, uploading creative CVs here with big title fonts and shapes won’t work. Keep your conventional CV for recruitment sites to ensure tracking systems can scan your document and use your creative CV only when you are submitting directly to a company.
2. Don’t leave part time work off your CV.
Don’t underestimate the relevance of part-time customer facing work on your CV. Many people have side jobs while they’re at university or college and often these kind of jobs are great for showing character building and people skills, both of which are transferable skills that hold up in any job application process. Many employers would prefer to see these kind of job roles on your CV than not, so don’t feel these positions are irrelevant or spoil a creative CV; they are just as valuable and may even be the deal breaker between you and another applicant. Although, do keep in mind if these range from lots of different job roles, only mention a few and keep the role summaries brief - a CV should never really be more than two pages long.
3. Start your own blog.
This may be a daunting prospect and one that might take a little more time and effort but, employers like to know you can write. Copywriting is another really transferable skill and again, may be what seals the deal between you and another applicant. Writing about your industry is great, it shows knowledge and passion, but don’t be afraid to explore other topics too, its shows variety in character and ability. Don’t feel the need to go all out journalism, just two or three posts are enough to demonstrate your skill to a potential employer.
4. Experience is important.
Hopefully you’ll have a little bit of experience already under your belt by now, but it’s also a good idea to use the limbo time in between graduation and finding a job to gain extra experience. This might be interning or just arranging a chat with someone who inspires you. Use LinkedIn to contact relevant employers and people within the industry and ask for a chat; even if they don’t have any positions available, showing initiative and an eager approach might just land you in a meeting room with your ideal boss (even if it is to just ask a few questions or to gain a bit of advice).
5. Choose a USP
Just like you might brand a product, chose a defined USP for yourself and stick to it. Creating a self brand is another way of making yourself stand out in a crowded and busy recruitment space. Think creatively about this, make it specific and defined, think about what you’re good at, what you enjoy, what makes you tick. You might be a practically moral marketer, one who stands by their ethics. Or, you might be an account manager who only talks luxury. Whatever you chose, mould every aspect of your application around this one USP, show potential employers that you truly mean it, that you live and breathe it. Make it believable, sell yourself on it. It makes you unique. However, bear in mind that if your USP is at odds with the role you’re applying for, it might not be right for you. It’s all about landing a job you can flourish in.
6. Make the most of LinkedIn
Don’t just think about LinkedIn as a way of contacting potential employers directly, but think of it as a way to recruiters too. Setting your job status to ‘Looking for new opportunities’ will attract recruiters who could just lead you in the right direction.
Keep your profile fully updated and on public mode. As much as you might not want people to know you’ve been stalking them, it’s really helpful to know who has shown an interest in you.
7. And last but not least, don’t be afraid to be you.
Above all else, employers love drive and passion. They want to see fire in your soul. This is something that can't be forced, it’s transparent and the only way to truly get across your passion is to just be you. If you are right for a job, this will show; it will come naturally. You’ll fit in with a company's current team and it will likely become a place you are happy to spend your time, somewhere you can stay and progress. Painting a picture of something you are not will only land you in a job or office that just doesn't suit you, which could land you back in the job market sooner than you’d hoped.