The hidden job market
According to research into how people get jobs, most roles are in fact not widely advertised but found through informal approaches and hearing about opportunities through the right contacts.
In the creative sector, where businesses are often small and recruitment practices informal, making links with your chosen industry is seen as essential.
The old cliché ‘It's not what you know but who you know’ is highly relevant to recruitment in the creative industries.
Remember, the most effective networking is done alongside a career plan that includes:
1. Learning about yourself.
2. Choosing a career path.
3. Identifying who you’ll need to meet.
4. Planning your networking and making sure you create a positive first impression!
Many students are initially unsure about how to meet and engage in a professional way, especially without much practice. Planning step by step what you will do is a good way to overcome nerves.
- Artwork Archive: 7 networking tips for artists is a good place to start.
- Creative Choices: Five promotion tactics for quiet people
- Guardian Professional Networks offers news and current hot topics for many jobs and professions – useful topics of conversation for meetings and gatherings.
- UCA Careers: Networking (Pinterest)
Events can be a great way to break the ice. Choose the right ones to meet people and share ideas in your field of interest. You’ll enhance your visibility and knowledge and hear about opportunities. You’ll also get the chance to impress.
- Creative Choices: Nervous before a networking event? has advice on planning and preparation for going to events.
Also look out for careers fairs designed to help employers to meet students and graduates - they are often a great source of jobs and advice.
Many careers are launched with the help of recruitment agencies. Their job is to match employers with suitable candidates. They can help match your skills to vacancies they source from employer clients. At their best, they offer something for everyone - short term, temporary and permanent jobs. At busy times they can even find work at short notice.
Specialist creative recruiters exist across the board as well as generic agencies that provide office work, unskilled and entry level opportunities.
Research what is on offer and identify agencies to approach.
- Employment for Students (E4S) have a list of agencies that have part-time work for students.
- Agency Central is a searchable directory of UK Employment Agencies.
UCA Careers & Employability:
- provides the listing of opportunities, employment agencies and job boards in good faith.
- will update listings of employment agencies and job boards from time to time.
- does not knowingly list any agency or job board that is known to contravene equal opportunities legislation.
- advises all students and graduates to check whether an agency subscribes to a code of practice, such as that provided by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation.
Social networking allows you to quickly promote work, get feedback, start dialogues with employers and is a research tool to begin to understand the industry. You might connect with people through social networking to break the ice before meeting face to face.
Online Networks for Creatives:
Self-branding and marketing
It is not always the most talented creative who is the most successful. Without an audience for your work or talents, you’ll miss out on opportunities.
CVs and applications
To land your dream job you’ll need to get to grips with what the recruiter wants, craft a quality application and present your CV in an articulate and positive way.
For most applications a covering letter/e-mail accompanies your CV.
- Prospects: How to write a speculative job application
- UCA Careers: Cover letters/applications (Pinterest) includes tips and cover letter examples.
- Careercake: 5 steps to an incredible cover letter (video)
- Glassdoor has reviews and insights into interview questions from real employers for real jobs.
- The Guardian: Interviews provides magazine style news and resources on interviews.
- Lynda: Projecting intelligence (video)
- UCA Careers: Interviews (Pinterest) has tips on technique and how to approach typical interview questions.
Portfolios and portfolio presentation
If you are invited for an interview for a creative role, chances are you will be asked to present your portfolio. If you are pitching for work as a freelancer you will often be asked to show examples of your work.
This needn’t be an ordeal – for tips and insights into presenting your work follow our links below:
Showreels are produced if moving image is central to your work or is specifically requested; film, performance and animation are the most common disciplines.
More techniques for self promotion
- Lynda: Giving your elevator pitch (video) shows you how to create a good impression quickly.
- Lynda: Projecting intelligence (video) offers tips for your behaviour and communication.
- Lynda: Building trust (video) introduces ‘circles of trust’ and offers tips on how to strengthen relationships.
- myUCA/myCareer includes video resources relating to self-promotion, including Using Linkedin and Alumni Videos (requires a UCA login).