With a lot of young creatives adding graduation to their list of stresses around this time of year, it’s time to consider the current industry climate for jobsearching in 2020. If you’re a soon to be graduate from a creative course in advertising, fashion, graphic design or similar, relevant job openings will be like hen's teeth given the current pandemic. But that doesn't mean that they can't exist! Read on to learn how to create your own job opening at a business you want to work, with only one applicant – you.
How do you know where you want to work?
First and foremost, you’ll need to ‘study’ the industry in the city where you’ll be jobsearching. Mumbrella’s database of Australian creative agencies and marketers is a great place to start. For AUD$79 per month, you’ll have access to a thorough database of potential workplaces, including individual email addresses of the top level staff. This will save a lot of time trawling job sites and ‘discovering’ as you go. Use it to get what you need, then cancel when you get the job!
Really though, research is crucial to finding a job that suits – not all roles you find on listing sites will be suitable for your career path. You should also solidify your asking salary by researching graduate roles on Payscale, and reaching out to other individuals in junior roles for salary advice. Don't be shy to ask what your peers are earning, and remember – what a company is willing to pay you is not always a reflection of your worth. Starting out can be tough.
Make your self brand rock solid
Your self brand must be strong before you approach any potential employers. A logo, professional headshot, business card, website and all-star LinkedIn profile are mandatory!
You’ll need recommendations from as many respected industry connections as you can – never underestimate the power of referrals. Any collateral you create should compliment this self brand, whether it’s your Instagram account, digital portfolio or blog.
Hone your pitch with feedback sessions
There are some great industry professionals out there that don’t have the time to mentor juniors, but are still willing to do what they can do help young creative get a leg up. Reach out to potential mentors and ask for a ten minute coffee meeting to get feedback on your portfolio. Not only will you get some great advice, you may even get referrals to other contacts that can offer you employment opportunities.
Make sure you email them after any meetings and thank them for their time, as chances are they’ve had to move some things around to meet with you.
Networking is probably the most underrated job seeker tool ever
Time to pull in your contacts. Who do you know who knows someone who can give you ten minutes for a feedback session? Who do you know of that could benefit from your skills, or that would make a great mentor? Reach out to as many people as you can. Keep in mind that right now is a tumultuous time for some businesses, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a response straight away. You should also go to as many (remote) workshops and industry events as you can afford, and introduce yourself to other creatives to help generate these leads.
Plan your campaign
Treat your job search like a fully integrated advertising campaign. You’re the brand, your objective is to find a job that is relevant to your career goals, where you’ll have great mentors to help you grow and learn. Your unique selling point will be your proactivity and total commitment to becoming a useful team member. You must have a solid timeline in which to dedicate yourself (and your budget) to reaching your goal. One month is a good start – this will complement your subscriptions, such as LinkedIn Premium, where you can get a one month free trial to Jobseeker premium. Your campaign will be measured on your response rate, the number of ‘leads’ and your ability to land an opportunity within the timeframe.
Stick it to the man
There will be a lot of people telling you that you’re a junior and your options are limited. This kind of talk is not productive. Aim high, go for jobs you love the sound of, not just jobs that you think you’ll excel at.
Be honest in your application. You may like to offer a low asking salary as a compromise for your lack of industry experience – it should be less than what they were expecting to pay and therefore provide a reason for them to take you onboard and train you. You’ll need to demonstrate humility, talent and a drive to learn. If you can prove this, they should see it paying off for them.
At the end of the day, there will be a lot of people putting in their two cents as to what you can and can’t achieve. Use your filter to categorise the information you’re given, and listen to senior professionals as their advice is invaluable to your cause. Use LinkedIn and job listings such as Seek, the Loop, Mumbrella and Scout Jobs to hone your professional language and define your skillset. Communicate succinctly and with grace, and be always be single-minded about your reason for contacting senior professionals. Never forget to follow up, and put their time first.
If you set your mind to it and throw in everything you’ve got, you may just be able to convince a great employer to create a job opening for you. And if you’ve got talent, a foot in the door is all you need.
Leah graduated a Bachelor of Design Arts in 2014 and got her first break at Shabbadu Pty Ltd, where she was mentored by copywriting extraordinaire and industry vet Chris Taylor. Leah now works as a fulltime copywriter at HBK agency.