iThere are many considerations for the creative professional who is ready to strut their stuff upon entering the job market. It’s more than just pulling together a creative resume or portfolio; making an impression requires professionalism. Showcasing your ideas and passion for the craft requires some foresight in order to be seen and taken seriously as a creative industry professional. It’s a hard mix to blend together but when done correctly, a creative career can launch up and onward. Take Rob Lawrence for example; currently Vice President at Mandrake, Rob previously worked as an Art Director for over twenty years in the advertising world. We’ve taken a few pages out of his creative book so to speak as motivation for creatives to keep moving forward.
Being creative and being passionate are two different things. It’s much akin to liking pie and loving pie. When talking pie, you’re going to take the person who loves pie more seriously than the latter. They’ve tried them all and their passion is infectious. It’s the first thing creative directors and hiring managers look for in a candidate. “You need passion for everything you do and a real interest in the business.”, Rob reveals.
It’s a tight rope to walk and many creative professionals struggle to find the balance. Especially as an emerging creative, you’re bound to get distracted by all the roles available to you. That’s why really investigating the ins and outs of the variety of creative jobs available will provide direction. Pay attention to the job descriptions that excite you and spark your interest. This genuine response will be reflected in the interview process once you get there. It’s not a fake it until you make it mindset. It’ll be an authentic display of your creative passion.
Much like other professionals who want to stand out, creatives also need to have a few professional checkmark items ready to go. When put together, these work harmoniously to create (pun intended) a creative professional identity that takes on a life of its own.
After all that, it’s time for the interview and your enthusiasm will want to take over. However, Rob advises on approaching the interview just like any other professional would. If you’re looking for some pointers on how to handle virtual interviewing, we have the blog just for you here “What Are Video Interviews, How Do They Work & Why They're Here to Stay".
Beyond the basics, what else should a creative professional strive to do? For Rob, it’s all about listening to what’s going on. He points out that the way a creative director talks to you will give you an indication of how they’ll want to see your work. Don’t take over the conversation even if you are keen on flashing your work. Follow their lead and you’ll be surprised at how smooth it will go. If there seems to be a lull in the conversation, perhaps that’s the right time to ask, “How would you like me to present my work?”
The last piece to the interview puzzle is when you are given the spotlight to talk about your work. According to Rob, knowing how to effectively describe your work and thought process is what will really impress creative directors. Communication is a vital soft skill for any professional and for creatives, it may be a heavier punch than Mona Lisa’s smile. Pick something out of your portfolio and pitch it to a friend or even yourself to get a general idea of what you would say. Don’t overcomplicate it. We’re not all artists after all.
At the end of the day, being a creative professional is defined by you. It’s natural to feel intimidated by the competition but by being yourself and showing your value, you’ll find the role that fits like a glove.
As the semester winds down, you realize your professional image still needs work. If you’re wondering what to do next, maybe it’s time to start working on your brand.