In summary, you’ve achieved a good degree, created a nice portfolio and are ready to go and get your first creative job. You’re all fired up and with that 1st in your pocket, no doubt you’ll land a job soon… right?
Here’s the wake-up call!
There are 1,000s of students out there looking for jobs and internships, that’s in addition to other job seekers that flood the market. Getting on that career ladder, I’m afraid is going to be pretty hard. You’re also battling against those who already have that vital first year of experience. It’s almost a no win situation.
We have people apply daily to The Wonderland speculatively looking for work and yes, some have struck lucky here! It does happen, however the way they have applied is what got our attention.
Now don’t get me wrong, we have had some great approaches and sometimes we feel sad that we have to let such great candidate’s slip by. However like many agencies, we don’t have roles available to keep up with the demand, but when we do, it’s the innovative and the ones that stand out that we look for.
What this tells you is that it’s not only luck, timing can play a big part, however you have to help yourself too. If you portray yourself well, you do genuinely stay on file when we need a new recruit. Both Becki and Meg got the phone call after speculative applications. So did our very first Intern Emmy, who went on to a full time role here at The Wonderland, before she spread her inquisitive wings to go travelling.
Go out and land that job!
There are many things in my experience many Uni’s omit in telling you about how to go out and land that first job!
I have sat on both sides of that board room table, as an interviewee and interviewer. I once had those cold sweats as I tried to find a job out of Uni. It is tough and being outside your comfort zone is all part of being in the real world of work.
Even today I have to push myself to do the things I am less comfortable with, this never goes away but you learn to embrace the challenges and get on with it. No matter what type of person you are, motivation comes from within and to get what you want in life you have to go after it…but there are different ways of doing this. Some are better than others and Uni’s don’t always give you the basic skills to approach this right? Opportunities can arrive and you only get one go at them. If you do it wrong, then you may never get them back. A bit like an acquisition campaign in marketing, if you don’t get results the first time, it can be harder to get the results you want when you have to try again the next time.
Your C.V. is the first point of contact – get it right!
Putting a great CV together when you’re applying to work in the creative industries is not just a word doc (in fact a word doc may not be right at all), it’s your foot in the door, so if you don’t want it slamming in your face be innovative! You are not applying to work at a bank or law firm, you want to work as part of a creative environment, so show us your creativity.
Then, if you are lucky enough to get an interview, first impressions really do count. Overly relaxed attire may be agency code day to day, but turning up for an interview like you have just got out of bed is not cool! (Be quirky, your own individual style is fine, be you, but please be tidy!)
Be socially aware
Use social media to your advantage, don’t just see it as your online scrapbook or a place to vent your views. Remember that a job role in the creative industries may also mean you manage elements of a clients or an agencies social media offering. For this you have to show responsibility and trust. Like most companies, (know that at The Wonderland we will research you), we will try to find you on twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linked-in. What you post represents you, we want to know your personality, good and hopefully not too bad! Be careful about what you want your friends to see, because your future employer may also be watching too. Why not research us too? It works both ways, your own research could help you understand who might be interviewing you, and you can find out a great deal online if you just look.
Prove how good you are
Again, speaking from experience, bringing no evidence of your work and sitting eyeball to eyeball with me saying you’ve changed the world does not show me you will deliver for The Wonderland. In fact, it says to me you are not bothered. However, what we have learnt as an agency is that students at times need help with this! Work shown in portfolios does not always show an individual’s best bits! Students shouldn’t be frightened whilst at college or Uni to ask potential employers for feedback or help on their portfolio or even their CV if they can’t find an internship. Do some of your own projects, if you are passionate about a creative subject or have a particular skill, showcase this. A little common sense and perhaps some help from this wonderful thing called ‘Google’ could go a long way! Look at what others are doing, be inspired. Pinterest is a great tool for what’s currently happening creatively and also what’s on trend.
Go back to go forward
When pacing the streets to get a job, look into your own back yard, sometimes help is under your nose! We have previously advertised a job at a Uni and we were told by the career’s advisor that students leave and forget there is support at the Uni even when they have left (so students should check your Uni email more!).
Just because you have finished Uni doesn’t mean that your relationship with them or your tutors has to end. After all the Government has made you pay a lot for this education, so use it! Anyway, needless to say, we had very little in the way of applications when we tried this route to recruit. This was highly frustrating, all the new students leaving their course, going out into the big bad world, did not think to look at the jobs board at Uni, silly right? And the speculative applications we were getting were not what we needed at the time. We had a role that we could not fill and in the end we went to a recruitment agency, sadly money we could have spent on a salary.
Use your marketing skills, or just common sense
For what it’s worth, here’s my view… When you apply to a job opening don’t send a poorly written email about how wonderful you might be. This will not get our attention, nor will it when you, by accident, pop in the wrong agency name in a blanket email! (Yes that has happened before…) Sorry I stand corrected, it does get our attention, and straight away you are not right for us! Research the agency you are applying for, be innovative, and stand out for the right reasons.
Poorly spelt messages on our contact form and telling us you have uploaded a CV when we know we don’t allow people to upload anything does not fill us with a ‘wow this guy/girl is on the ball!’ Oh and sending us a CV, done in a Word document of all your science and PE qualifications will also not rock our world…We are a creative agency, so evidence of creativity or some form of marketing qualification is a must!
Our industry dictates that in an ever changing, digital led market, agencies look for gaps, for better ways to encourage brand engagement and new ways of delivering a message to get noticed. We aim to make a noise! We look at the audiences, what’s trending, what’s new without ignoring the old things that have worked. We want to be heard, by our clients and in turn their audiences, so we can deliver on the objectives and much more…
Right, so what does this tell you? To work in this industry you too have to do and be all these things. So do you still want to work in this industry? Then prove it, be innovative, be targeted, be everything your first campaign should be. Our clients expect us to deliver on a daily basis, so these attributes are important to us. If you show these qualities then you show potential to lead the way and grow our agency. We look for people that bring things to the table that we don’t have. We look for people that can teach others, including us, things our agency should be doing. We embrace change, show us something new, and show us something unique.
Written by Jules