Getting hired in the creative industries — tips from the top

We chatted to industry professionals from major brands at our latest Creative Charge Careers Fair, to find out exactly what they want from a graduate, and how to secure that crucial foot-in-the-door.

05 Feb 2020

Where ever you are in your journey through UCA, it’s smart to have one eye on the opportunities on the horizon. On Friday 31st of January we hosted our annual Creative Careers Fair at UCA Epsom, welcoming teams from a range of brands in the creative industry to share their insider expertise on setting yourself up for life after university.

Chloe Tomalin — Assistant Creative Consultant at BDA LDN

“When we’re recruiting graduates, we always look at final major projects. We want to know what you spent your time doing in your third year. We’ll ask you to talk us through that, and your other experiences — just to gauge what skills you brought to the project, what you developed, what you’re really, really passionate about, and how all that can be utilised in our studio environment.”

“Creativity is really important. One of the great things about working in a creative environment is that everybody brings something different to the table based on their interests and experience, and it really enriches projects when you have multiple viewpoints on them.”

“In your second and third year, gain as much experience as possible and make sure you chart that online through LinkedIn and your portfolio. Make sure you’re ready to showcase what you’ve learned and created as you head into the industry.”

Sophie Bennett — Resourcing Advisor for White Stuff HQ

Sophie Bennett — Resourcing Advisor for White Stuff HQ

“When we’re looking for graduates at White Stuff a lot of the entry level roles are really competitive, so we really value people that have work experience. You can do a couple of weeks with different businesses in different roles to get an idea of what you’re looking for, and it really helps when you’re applying for jobs.”

“Creativity is really important in the industry as it moves so fast; people are always looking for new designs and fresh marketing ideas.”

Vicki Horne — Resourcing Manager, John Lewis Partnership

Vicki Horne — Resourcing Manager, John Lewis Partnership (pictured on left)

“At John Lewis we look for people who are passionate about our products, understand trends and the fashion marketplace, and have great, innovative ideas. We want to work with people who have lots of energy and enthusiasm, and love the John Lewis brand.”

“Having a creative mind is vital, particularly in the retail landscape that we’re in now. We need people who think creatively about cost, trends and our customer base and what they’ll be looking for.”

“If you’re coming into the job marketplace, my top tips would be to get experience in the area that you want to go into. If you want to come into retail, think about working on the shop floor so you can understand what it’s like for our customers. If you’re looking into a head office role, you need to know the commercials — for example, our brand, and who our competitors are. Do your research. Don’t go to any job interviews or assessment centres without knowing the company you’re applying for.”

Jade Ballantine — Junior Recruiter at URBN

Jade Ballantine — Junior Recruiter at URBN

“When it comes to getting into industry, I’d advise taking as many internships and work experience placements as you can. Contacting people on LinkedIn is really good when done in the right way, and making sure your CV is always completely up-to-date is super important. You never know when you’ll need it!”