Trying to get into the creative industries is like off-road cycling in the mountains, all by yourself with no map to guide you through the terrain. You have to figure it out as you go.
"There's a lot to do to land the job of your dreams, besides just studying it."
When cycling in the mountains you are constantly trying to follow a path someone else has been before you, with no promise of where it might lead you. Being creative and trying to get into the creative industries is a rocky road, and you have to be able to handle mud on your knees and sore hands from trying to steer the wheels in the right direction.
After graduating and pursuing my dream of landing a job in advertising, this is how I feel. Honestly, I don’t think people are really aware of what is meeting them after they graduate. There's a lot to do to land the job of your dreams, besides just studying it. You have to add an extra set of gears on your journey. The most important thing I have learned from this is that networking is king. Talking to people from the industry on your way helps you in the right direction, because they know the landscape.
From the day I started to study marketing and advertising, I knew this was a difficult industry to land a job in. But, who would say no to climbing Kilimanjaro with a bike? Preparation is key, like doing that little bit of extra effort on top of merely delivering assignments. It can be reading different books, creating a website and portfolio, doing work for free and networking with the industry. Doing these things helped me a lot to get my first work placements and a three month paid internship.
"You just have to keep on going – be a fighter all the way to the top."
While you are applying for work placements, internships and jobs it sometimes feels like you are sliding sideways down from the mountain, trying to hold the brake, but instead you end up face planting all the way down to the bottom. You wonder how did that happen? Frustrated over how close you were to the top of the mountain. When you have managed to get up and are a step closer to your goal, the good feeling is as strong as your frustration was yesterday. You just have to keep on going – be a fighter all the way to the top. Because you know that when you finally arrive at the peak of the mountain, you will get a much better view.
Getting in touch with the creative industry is not really rocket science. It is about people and behaviour. A lot of industry professionals are very friendly and happy to help you anyway they can. So go out there and talk to people, send emails, follow-up and ask for a chat over a cup of coffee. If you don’t get those wheels rolling, how will people know that you exist?
"The most important thing I have learned from this is that networking is king."
Personally I have found this very helpful, and it has opened many doors for me at this point. I have also learned a lot from it. Meeting up for a coffee and talking to people who know the field, gives you a lot of encouragement to keep going and at the same time good advice for which road you should go down next.
When you are lost in the middle of nowhere and you need directions, a natural thing is to stop the first person you meet on the road and ask for directions. This is what networking is!
Just imagine if you were lost and hungry on the forth day, alone in the mountains, you would definitely try to do anything you could to find something to eat. It's similar trying to get into the creative industries. You have to show that you are hungry enough! If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
So go out there and climb those mountains – and remember to have an empty stomach.
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