Talking from experience, I can safely say that securing your first job in the digital and creative industry isn’t just challenging, it can be very demotivating and can bring up those ‘why do I bother’ thoughts and feelings of self-doubt along the way. As difficult as it can be to endure repeated rejection – holding out for your perfect job takes dedication and persistence – you don’t have to settle believing ‘a job’s a job’. It is worth the struggle and focusing to find a role where you will be happy, doing something you love. This may sound familiar. You leave school, head to university and power through three years, maybe four, of stress and sheer pain, only to graduate (well done by the way!) and realise it’s now that the real work begins – job hunting. If you didn’t go to university, you shouldn’t automatically think that graduates are ahead of you. Your real-world experience and bank of skills are going to be your greatest asset, so make sure you’re building on these as much as you can. If, like me, you didn’t do any work experience while studying because you were busy juggling part-time jobs and assignments, don’t panic, here are some things I have learnt that will help you now.
1. Can’t get experience? Create your own… An important thing to remember, especially within the digital and creative industries, is that employment is heavily dependent on experience. You’re going to need a portfolio or examples of your abilities, so you can demonstrate your experience, rather than just stating what you can do on your CV. If you don’t have experience, create your own, just do something that demonstrates what you can do. This could be writing a piece about the company you are applying to, demonstrating your copywriting skills or creating a social media campaign to promote yourself.
2. Don’t be afraid of volunteering to get your foot in the door Don’t let unpaid work experience scare you. The trick here is to do your research and make sure that the internship or voluntary work you’re signing up for has value. Basically, make sure you’re going to develop your skills there and not be the office barista. Always value yourself and once you’ve got some solid skills together, stop working for free and use your new-found skills and experience to secure a paid role in the company or somewhere else.
3. Network! Network! Network!
A word I hadn’t really understood before joining Agent Academy, now my vocabulary is practically built around it. The importance of connecting and meeting new people in the industry is massive. Get to know your industry and the people involved. Good resources to use for this are LinkedIn, Twitter and Eventbrite. Look out for events in the city region that relate to your interests, and skills and remember first impressions last so present yourself well and be confident. You don’t need to wait to be in a creative or digital role to be at these events, make yourself known.
4. Don’t give up
I’m positive that if you follow these steps you’ll get there! Sometimes it’s going to feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle. How do you get experience if no one seems to be giving you a chance, right? Be persistent, keep in touch and learn everything you can about the companies you want to work for. Also, use your spare time wisely and learn something new, or build on a skill you already have. Google and Facebook have some brilliant online courses like Academy for Ads and Blueprint that are completely free!
I secured a place at Agent Academy and committed to two days each week, while at the same time working part time at B&Q and I can safely say that this was the best decision I have made. I learned so much, developed new skills and made so many connections across Liverpool City Region. Then, once I finished the programme, I applied for a role with Agent Academy and got it!
It might be a cliché, but you will get there in the end. Be thick-skinned and don’t let a rejection after an interview or no response to your emails hold you back. You will get the job you want eventually, and you will have completely earned it.