How to turn your abilities into opportunities

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Published:  September 30, 2014
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Looking for your ideal design job, but not even getting called back for an interview?

Getting in the door can be tough, but here are some ways to improve your job prospects… from an employers’ point of view… ranging from tightening up your CV, to dressing the part, to ‘doing your homework’.

Written by Adele Leah, Business Manager at  Become Recruitment

POLISH YOUR CV

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This is the first thing people will see when they interact with you, so make sure it’s good. Start with a profile or mission statement, capture your ‘essence’ in that initial paragraph and sell yourself.  Give an overview of your experience and your personality.  Avoid overused corporate jargon. Check and double check for typos, check the dates and always list your employment in reverse order. Keep it under 3 pages long, be honest and make sure it matches your LinkedIn profile.

 

KNOW YOUR MARKET

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Creative companies are usually very social and like to share their successes. Try following their blogs, tweets, announcements, and make insightful comments by way of an introduction. Don’t randomly try to link with people you don’t know on LinkedIn, you can send an introduction email or join a relevant group and interact. Get networking, there are so many social networking events and gatherings currently, it’s much easier to get out and meet people. Sign up for industry newsletters to keep up to date with current developments, who is working where and who is winning awards.

 

INTRODUCE YOURSELF

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Don’t wait for vacancies, get out there and make contact.  Look for agencies that you like the look of and where you feel your work is a good fit, drop them a line to introduce yourself. Creative agencies are busy places with everyone multi-tasking. Recruitment is very often an after thought and time consuming. If your details hit the right screen at the right time, you could make someone’s life much easier. By researching the market you’ll know who is busy and if your skillset will help an agency, improve their current offering or bring a new innovative approach to the table. Added value cannot be underestimated.

 

YOUR APPLICATION

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Make each cover letter personal, don’t blanket email a whole bunch of agencies.  Explain why you are interested and why the agency might be interested in you. Make the letter relevant but keep it short and sweet. Keep track of where you have sent your CV, as you don’t won’t the same agency getting your details multiple times.  It doesn’t enhance your chances of getting a job and it really looks unprofessional.  Follow up a week or two later, never pester or stalk.

 

THE INTERVIEW

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The interview is key as it really is the first impression. Make sure you have a professional voicemail set up on your phone so you don’t miss the call, and be ready for the call by knowing where you’ve sent your CV so you seem on-the-ball. Do your homework, this is perhaps obvious but is all too frequently forgotten.  Before going into the interview make sure you do your research into the agency and the people you are meeting, check them out on LinkedIn.  Practice some interview questions and presenting your experience. Have your story ready to tell and in an engaging way.  Be sure to let them know why you are interested in the role and the business. Also, why you are passionate about your chosen career and your plans for developing professionally.

 

DRESS THE PART

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The importance of how you present yourself can’t be underestimated, but is all too often overlooked. Rule of thumb; dress smart but casual. Wear clothes that you’re comfortable in, as this will help you to portray confidence. If you’re meeting a creative, don’t wear a suit because they won’t be wearing one. Conversely, if you have a client side interview, flip-flops and shorts, will only speed up your exit.

 

PRESENTING YOUR WORK

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If you have a folio to show, the iPad is the best thing to happen to creative portfolios for a long time, so have your PDF folio on hand with around 10-12 of your top pieces.  Have the strongest three in mind so that you can confidently talk those through if time is short. How to order it? Strong start, strong middle, strong end.  Less is more if you haven’t got a collection of strong pieces, avoid padding it out with work you are not happy with.  Any nice printed pieces you can take to show is also a great idea.

 

NEVER STOP LEARNING

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Your career development doesn’t stop with your degree. There is so much opportunity to learn new skills, via seminars, events, webcasts etc. If you’ve determined to be successful don’t stop learning and going which in the industry today is essential.  Take the initiative and learn by trying, don’t be afraid to throw yourself in the deep end. One of the advantages of working within the creative industry, even in its broadest sense, is that we are at the edge of innovation. Even though it can seem to move at a bewildering pace and can feel overwhelming; there are lots of really good sites that can keep you up-to date with what’s new and what’s yet to be new, all providing as much or as little information as you require.

Chase your creative career, with the help of Become Recruitment.

All images: The Noun Project

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