The creative industries are possibly the most competitive, and therefore the most difficult areas to get a foothold in. Building a solid career in fashion, a strong reputation as an in-house designer, having your own brand, or being a successful freelance designer is just as hard as breaking into the world of art and music. Though, as everyone who tries will know, the rewards and excitement of the industry are the payoff that makes it all worth it.
Even in this fast changing and competitive market, it is still possible to make your mark and earn a living from a very rewarding career. Once you have finished your degree, displayed your collection at graduate fashion week, maybe even organised your own photo shoots and catwalks, the world awaits you!
So, what are the priorities that you need to concentrate on to maximise your chances of having your talent recognised? Here are some of our top tips for making that all important breakthrough:
Be a commercial creative
Design Managers, Heads of Design or Directors and Agencies see lots of CV’s coming from young designers. Although it is important to display the creativity of your work, you also must emphasise its commercial relevance. If you can demonstrate that you understand current trends and fashions and how your work is applicable to this, your work and your industry understanding will stand out above others. Creative work is about art, but it’s application is often about business, be willing to recognise this and even if your work doesn’t fit their current focus, your ability to understand the commercial relevance will get you noticed.
Create a strong online presence
When showing your work, show quality rather than quantity. Show a very select variety of your best work and profile this as often as you can across every available online channel. Social Media is a highly effective way to showcase your work to the world. Try to learn the process of using social media effectively, so that you are using each platform to its best effect, as a poorly maintained social media presence can sometimes be as bad as not having any at all! Where appropriate, consider creating your own website to showcase your portfolio or use platforms like Behance. You can also use websites like CreativePool to promote your work and creative profile.
Stand out by talking about yourself and your industry
Show that you live, breathe and sleep design! If you are able to take the time to create passionate written pieces that show how much you love the creative world, then you will stand out far more than people that just say that they do on a CV or in an interview. Remember to embody your dream to work in the industry and be willing to put in the work to get yourself recognised.
Make time and get out to networking and creative events
This may be hard at first but it will get easier as you meet and mingle with more people in your industry. There is no substitute for face to face interaction. Be confident, knowledgeable and interested. People will often want to talk a lot about their own work, be willing to take the time to listen and show that you take an interest. Remember you never know who you are talking to and their influence in the industry. Build genuine rapport and connection and remember to always take a business card, rather than giving one! Lastly, don’t be afraid to remain focused, ultimately you are there to meet people who can help you in your journey, avoid getting trapped with a few people and take the time to work the room.
Focus on your specialty
Ensure you are showing your specialisms off to their maximum effect, rather than trying to cover all areas by focusing on on your core skills. Don’t confuse the message of who you are and what your skills are by trying to be all things to all people. Know yourself!
We have an experienced team of consultants based in London and Manchester working with today’s leading fashion and retail brands. They are all looking for talented graduate designers to expand their existing design teams across multiple areas of their business.
To register with us upload your CV and Portfolio here. We look forward to hearing from you and getting your design career off to a great start.
If you would like to have an informal discussion, please contact Sally Dawson here about the design roles we are currently working with.