The UK’s creative industry alone, is worth £111.7 billion and its’ growth surge currently leads the UK workforce according to a study conducted last year. Despite this, breaking into the one of the largest industries in the world can be somewhat difficult. The most common reasons include:
It's fast paced in nature, making it difficult for entry level job seekers to find an opening that suits their level
Due to the growing popularity of the industry, it's become a super competitive job market
The goalposts change - As we continue in the age of evolving tech, there's so much more demand for broader technical skillsets and qualifications
The majority of our clients hire directly at a junior or entry-level which means they don’t need us to support them with candidates at this level. Which in turn means we often can’t support your first job hunt as much as we’d love to!
Do not fear though, we have asked our Talent Partners and Directors, to share their insights on how candidates can secure their first role in the creative industries.
What you can do to secure your first role?
1. Invest in you - CPD and Folio building
Haven’t had much formal experience? Generate your own briefs and learn a new skill in the process. Tailoring your portfolio before applying to roles can also help you to stand out amongst other candidates, instantly upping your chances of being shortlisted. This top tip comes directly from our Creative Division’s Senior Talent Partner, Amy Clarke:
“Create your own projects for your portfolio - If you have the skills and the resources, but not the commercial experience, imagining up a brief to work against and adding it to your folio will show employers your capabilities and the creativity flair you can apply to briefs for their clients.”
2. Internships, work experience and voluntary work
Gain those crucial first experiences in a comfortable and less pressured environment by doing voluntary work. Our Creative Business Manager, Robyn Smith, explains why she recommends shadowing or interning:
“A candidate I worked with previously, expressed that she wanted to move into a new role as a creative but had trouble piquing interest from employers as she didn’t have direct experience. She started shadowing and interning in the roles she was interested in, in her own personal time for free, and has now landed a fantastic creative director role.”
Building experience through voluntary work can effectively develop your skills, experience level as well as giving you direct access to industry professionals who you can learn from. Working at this level is also helpful as fellow colleagues may be able to signpost you to future contacts, service opportunities, or jobs – a potential opportunity goldmine!
3. Networking and putting yourself out there
Networking is key. Networking not only builds bridges, but it can also bring community. Making connections with the relevant people can really help spotlight your work and your services, so make the most of creative-orientated social networks like Behance and The Dots, alongside trusty and reliable LinkedIn.
Fostering like-minded connections not only helps you leverage relevant event and job opening information from your next potential employer but also help you connect with people within the industry you can ask for guidance, support, and advice!
4. Narrow your focus, expand your knowledge, and keep up to date with the creative industries
Staying up to date with the industry involves seeing what is happening day-to-day in the industry, following the trends and developments, as well as some of the biggest companies in the space. By keeping your fingers on the pulse, not only are you able to identify skill gaps in the market, but you can also stay ahead of the curve, keeping track of influential people and their moves.
Our freelance director, Jess Parker, adds “use industry news (Campaign, The Drum, Creative Bloq, Design Week etc.), to ensure you’re always informed of what’s going on in the market and what upcoming events there are to attend!”
5. Tailor your applications
For every role you apply to – ensure you are tailoring your application to the role and company hiring. It's also important to focus your answers on the WHY. Why are you applying for this particular role and why you are suitable?
The ‘why’ is particularly important because this is your chance to sell yourself! So much of creating compelling work in this industry is having insights into the consumer market – so pull on your own experiences and knowledge to demonstrate how you are going to add value to your next employer and their business.
6. Follow up
Lastly, don't be afraid to follow up on your applications – Calling up or connecting with the relevant person on LinkedIn can really help put you forward as a confident, engaging person who is definitely interested in the role!
Ready to take your first major leap yet?
We hope these tips help you on your journey - Don’t forget to connect with us on LinkedIn for the latest opportunities we have on offer straight from the biggest creative brands and agencies in the UK as well as industry events and news.
Need a 1-1? Contact our Freelance Director firstname.lastname@example.org advice and support on transitioning into the creative industries or register for our free support portal for career transitioning here.
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