Career Creative — 01 August 2012
4 steps to staying positive when looking for Creative work

Job-hunting as a Designer can be difficult at the best of times, but particularly more so in this ever-changing and always competitive industry. It can be a challenge to stay positive and motivated and you may even be at a point where you wonder what else you can possibly do to land that dream job? As disheartening as it can seem, the last thing anyone should do is give up on his or her passion. You’ve been dedicated and have invested time and money into your career, so if it’s what you really want to do, don’t let a few setbacks stop you from achieving your goals.

Here are a few things you can do to help keep your chin up and achieve your career goals.

1. Create

As the saying goes, sometimes in life you have to create your own opportunities.

If you love design, then build up your portfolio – be it freelance or ‘mock’ jobs. Keep your mind active and your passion burning. Don’t wait for the work to come to you. Writing a mock brief and designing something for the types of brands or people that you want to work with will show others what you are capable of. Learn about their brand and think about what they would like to see. Remember, if it’s not in your folio – the people you want to work with may assume that you can’t do it.

If you are using a PDF folio, it should contain your top 10 design pieces (keep it under 7mb). It should just give them a taste of your work. Many people provide their website url that has all of their projects on it. The problem with that is, when they come in for the interview, they don’t have anything new to show or talk about – you don’t want to give away all your tricks at the very beginning!

Remember: work, knowledge, and opportunities flow through people. Who we know and how we know them can be our most important asset!

2. Learn from the bad

Ok, you didn’t get the job. Yes, it can be hard to deal with the rejections, but job interviews are probably the best way to brush up on your sales pitch.

Never let rejection keep you from what you want.

There will be ups and downs and you may hit roadblocks, but don’t consider a rejection as something 100% negative. It can be used to gain insight into why you weren’t successful this time around. If you can, find out why you didn’t get the role. Ask the question. The answer may be hard to swallow, but it is in your best interest to know – it will then allow you to re-evaluate and work on any areas that might be lacking.

3. Up skill, up skill and up skill

A good designer always improves their skill-set; it’s imperative to remaining relevant and employable. With the horde of digital devices now available, print designers need to increase their skills to stay in the game. This is a new era, one that calls for a new era of designer, so one of the best things you can do as a job seeker is use this time to learn. Pour over blogs, devour books, watch video tutorials; you can increase your skills with online courses such as lynda.com or adobe.com, as well as a myriad of other free sites.

If you’ve been feeling uninspired, stuck in a design rut or there are areas in your folio you’d like to bulk up, consider enrolling in a course or master class or attend a local InDesign User Group event (IDUG) to collaborate with other industry professionals. Use the time to build new skills, create an outstanding portfolio and increase your creative confidence.

4. Live your passion

Finally, we all get burnt out. There are always going to be days (maybe even weeks) of feeling lost, tired and uninspired. Life is go, go, go and it doesn’t help when your career isn’t panning out the way you’d hoped. Opportunities can arise at anytime if you are open to them and the inspiration will always come back if it’s something you love.

Remember: creativity is not a talent or a gift – it’s simply a choice – a way of operating. Be confident and don’t be afraid to take chances and live creatively everyday. It can be daunting but nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.

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(8) Readers Comments

  1. “Good professionals will always find work” as my university lecturer would say.

    Again, creative roles are defined by the 4% rule, that being on 4% of creative roles end up being advertised by traditional means. The best way of finding IMHO is via networking (digital of course) so I am surprised you hadn’t mentioned Twitter, TheLoop or Linkedin because the last job I landed was via a headhunter on Linkedin and then checking my Behance portfolio.

    Still good points though.

    • I absolutely agree with you. Social media plays an integral part in networking today, not only to reach out to people but also as a way to get yourself out there and get noticed. This post was more focussed on what to do whilst you’re waiting or in limbo and how to remain positive in this tougher climate. But social networking is definitely not one to be overlooked! – thanks for your comments!

  2. On point 3. I would recommend a $20 subscription with CreativeEdge.com – I have spent some time there upskilling and learning and being inspired.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Current climate can make creativity in work an ever up-hill challenge. despite the rah-rah nature of the article there are some good sense ideas

  4. Pingback: Papa Loves Mambo by Perry Como | because life is awesome

  5. Pingback: 4 steps to staying positive when looking for Creative work | Tech News

  6. I’ve tried most of the above and yet still over a year I still can’t find empliyment. I’ve done courses, kept myself busy, learning new things (nearly completed a marketing course, finished responsive design, completed a social media course).Been to several interviews and never get feedback. Its brcoming frustrating because I know I can do the job (I am a graphic designer with over ten years experience). What am I doing wrong? I don’t understand.

    • Hi Stephen, where are you located? If you are in Sydney or Melbourne, perhaps one of our Firebrand Talent Agents can give you some advice? http://firebrandtalent.com/agents Otherwise a specialist recruiter in your city?

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