Article | 3:25 min read

5 Tips for Creative Job Seekers

Life Events

While the nation's job outlook continues to improve for many young professionals, finding employment is still a tricky subject to broach for those in a creative career path.

A person looking at a large flow chart

It's no longer enough to just have a sharp, concise resume and a strong digital portfolio, according to HOW magazine, a publication that serves graphic designers and creative professionals. The source stated job seekers also need strong references to stand above the pack.

1. Find strong references for your resume

It's a question in many job seekers' minds: How should I go about collecting references?

CareerBuilder stated it's crucial to choose wisely. You'll want to find a person who is willing and enthusiastic to sell your deeds to another company. While a manager might sound like a great reference, if they are busy and can't remember any of your individual accomplishments, it would be better to ask a coworker or colleague who knows you, and your work. Colleagues will be able to touch on your skillset and your ability to work well as a team.

If a person is not very familiar with your work, they likely won't be the best reference, no matter how impressive their professional title may be. HOW stated the last thing any job seeker should want to do is send an employer a reference who doesn't have much to say or can't remember your work.

2. Be sure to ask permission before listing references

Always ask for permission to list someone as a reference before sending their name and contact info to a hiring manager. After you've asked them via telephone, email or in person, the next step is to quantify their level of interest or excitement.

If the person seemed genuinely thrilled or willing to make an investment of time toward your job hunt, that's a great person to list as a reference. If they agreed but sounded a little hesitant, you might want to think twice before sending their contact info to a hiring manager.

3. Build relationships with as many people as possible

The hiring manager isn't the only person you should want to get to know and impress. When you interview for a new role, multiple people might have a say on whether they think you are a good fit. That's why it's important to make sure you get to know other people around the office, especially those you believe you'll be working with directly or on a day-to-day basis.

David Parnell, a communications coach and legal consultant, told Forbes building a relationship with an administrative assistant can really pay off.

"A terribly underutilized resource is an employer's administrative assistant," Parnell said. "As the manager's trusted counterpart, there is often only a slight social barrier between the two. They know the manager's schedule, interests, responsibilities and preferences. Making friends or even engaging in some quasi-bartering relationship with them can make all the difference in the world."

4. Be open to untraditional job interviews

Tried and true methods for finding jobs are a great place to start, but career coach Amanda Abella told Forbes it's acceptable to think outside the box when trying to land a job.

"Times are always changing and while it's always good to follow the basic advice, we also have to get rolling with the times," Abella said. "For instance, group interviews are making a comeback, we've got Skype interviews now, or you may interview in front of a panel. All this stuff didn't happen as often before - so while the same basic stuff applies, we have to take into account all the new dynamics."

5. Tailor your portfolio specifically for desired position

When interviewing for a new position, it's important to tailor your portfolio specifically to the job duties and industry, if at all possible. If you're interviewing for a graphic design position, be sure the majority of your portfolio is your best work of design files. If you're applying for a copy writing position, include a collection of your best work of articles, ad copy, and a witty blog post.

Tailoring your portfolio can save time in the long-run and set expectations from the get-go.

Jobs searching is definitely not an easy task. Hopefully by keeping these tips in mind, your job search will go just a little smoother.


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