When you are an art student, finding a job or internship can seem difficult as there are so many others trying to stand out. Promoting yourself is key for people to see your work. Nowadays, we have social media, which makes it 100 times easier for you to reach out to a broad audience. During my last project ‘Professional Context’ on the Graphic Communication course I learned a few things about promoting yourself and your brand, so here are my tips:
1. Create an identity
When you create an identity it should represent yourself and your style. For instance, if your work is mostly handmade, you could incorporate this by using calligraphy in your logo. On the other hand, if you have more of a perfectionist style, make sure your CV and business card design reflects this with a clean and precise finish. This way, when someone sees your CV for the first time, they will automatically create an idea of what your work is going to look like. Also your CV, business card and portfolio should all match so make sure you are very consistent with everything you make.
2. Create a portfolio
Probably the most important step, you need to have something to prove you are good at what you do. For this, I would highly recommend behance.net – it’s really simple for anyone to put projects online along with just a little project description. Plus, with the tags, it’s very easy for people to find your projects. If possible, use a good camera and edit the pictures slightly rather than using a phone camera. MyPortfolio.com is another great site to create your own little website and will give you more experience. Base it on pictures and use short annotations – people don’t like reading loads when having to look through many CVs.
3. Believe in yourself
Cue motivational speech – never think you’re not good enough to apply for a job, or worthy of someone’s time when showing your work. Don’t give up easily and if you get told ‘no’ keep trying! There are plenty of jobs out there so go and hustle! Make calls, send emails, go visit them. If you’re sitting in your room waiting for someone to magically offer you a job, it isn’t going to happen. J.K. Rowling got her Harry Potter book turned down by 12 different publishers, just saying.
4. Social media
Shamelessly go onto Instagram and Facebook and show everyone what you’ve been working on – Tweet about it, go crazy. It’s worth having a professional account to display your work so potential employers won’t find pictures of how drunk you got the previous weekend. On the same note, make sure your email address is professional – I’m sure employers won’t be very inspired when you email them from the ‘artymonkey98’ email address you created when you were 14. Using @yourdomain.com is the holy grail of email addresses. You could also make a blog to show that you’re passionate about what you do, but just make sure you update it regularly. The more stuff you have the better, but remember not to choose quantity over quality – quality always comes first.
Don’t seek praise, seek criticism. Always ask for feedback to see how you can better your work. Maybe you believe this is the greatest thing you’ve ever made because you’re too attached. If you don’t succeed in an interview, ask what you did wrong and what you could do to better your portfolio. Ask your peers to comment on your work. Lastly, don’t be afraid to make changes, changes can be good.
Useful books – we have both of these at all of our libraries:
UCA's Creative CV Guide by Jan Cole
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden