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Breaking into the Creative Industries

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Are you considering a career in art or advertising, music or media, theatre or TV?  Despite the recent turbulent economic times the number of people employed in the creative industries has almost doubled in the last 10 years.  However, breaking into the creative industries is still a challenge so try these three essential steps to breaking into these competitive sectors.

Be creative

It sounds obvious but you’re unlikely to get a creative job if you’re not already being creative. If you want to be a film-maker then take every opportunity to make films, would-be journalists should be blogging and getting articles published, musicians and actors need to find opportunities to perform.  Ideally you should get as much work experience as you can in your chosen field and it’s never too early to start looking for internships.  Don’t forget that relevant activities for student societies or any freelance/business activities you’re involved in are also very useful.  Make sure you showcase your skills and experience through a portfolio, LinkedIn profile, showreel, Twitter feed, website or blog – whatever is most appropriate to your sector.

Make contacts

The creative industries are all notoriously contacts-driven.  Get into the habit of networking all the time – keep in touch with classmates, lecturers and people that you meet through your creative activities/work experience.  With social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter it’s never been easier to make and maintain contact with people who might be able to help you now or in the future. If you make useful contacts, keep in touch with them – you want to make sure they don’t forget about you!

Do your research – know where to look

Routes into creative careers are varied and many people find their first opportunity through work experience, junior-level jobs and contacts. Knowing how and where to look for advertised jobs (and when to make a speculative approach) will help you make sure that you don’t miss out on good opportunities.  It’s also important to keep up-to-date with sector news and follow companies, recruiters and influencers on relevant social media sites. Our Creative Careers Information Landing Page will give you some good starting points including relevant jobsites and industry news feeds.

Getting a first job in the creative industries has always been challenging but with the right knowledge, contacts and strategies you can make it!

Suzanne Ball is the Careers Adviser for the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire.  She regularly tweets on all things creative via @careerview.

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