Creative Industry Advice #1 - How to get that Interview

This is my first post in a 3 part series of advice when it comes to applying for jobs in the creative industries. The advice your parents and tutors give you is great (they've been through it themselves), but the advice was always different when it came to hearing it from other young people, going through exactly the same experiences as myself.

Everyone approches applying for jobs differently, but I thought i'd share with you my advice and tips to firstly, gaining that interview, with more posts about the actual interview to come. I would have loved to see what kind of techniques other girls used in applying for jobs/internships, their cover letters etc - so here I am sharing mine! I was a bit apprehensive about posting advice, after all I've just got a job myself freelancing as fashion assistant for Selfridges and, so if my advise helps just one of you lovely readers get they're dream job - then my mission is complete (trust me - I know first hand how hard/disheartening it can be!).

When I started applying for internships and interviews, I was applying for at least 10 a day – if I could find 10 a day! Eventually I discovered that I was getting replies from employers if I applied these techniques to my applications. So here they are:

1.     Check EVERYDAY as often as you can 

       This is a big commitment, and you may not have the freedom to check every hour, but do so as often as you can. I got up first thing in the morning to see any new job posts, and checked in my lunch hour and when I got home.

Tip: I found that if a job was more than a day old I wasn’t likely to get a reply. This is because of the sheer volume of applications an employer gets. One photographer that interviewed me said he’d got 200 in the first day! This is why it’s so important to keep checking and try to apply as soon as possible, to improve the chances of your CV being seen. If it is older than a day old? Apply anyway. Contradiction? I know, but you might as well improve your chances.

2.     Be keen, but not annoying  

       There is a fine line between being keen for a placement, and being annoying. Give a potential employer an email and attach your work. Do not write in your e-mail ‘if you’re interested e-mail me back and I will send over my work’. No employer has time to e-mail you back, so make sure that you attach a reasonable sized file of your work, along with a cover letter the first time you email them.
A couple of days to a week later just send a follow up e-mail to ask if they got your CV. If you can, give them a call and arrange a date and time you can discuss your work (you can also do this is your follow up e-mail).

Tip: If you can, hand deliver your CV and cover letter with examples of your work to the company HQ. If you can, make a copy for each person in the team you want to work for. This will get them discussing your work around the office. They will also see that there are no stamps on the letter. No stamps = Hand Delivered. Hand Delivered = More Effort Made. You get where I'm going...

3.     In your Cover Letter

-    State exactly why you're perfect for the job, with the skills/experience you have to back this up.
-    Keep it short and sweet – try not to ramble on. Try not to write more than 100 words.
-    Leave all of your contact details
-    Get someone else to read your Cover letter, check for spelling and to make sure you sound sincere.
-    Yes it's a lot of effort but write a cover letter for each employer - don't send out the same one for every company, they will know.
-    Don't repeat what's in your CV, no employer wants to waste time reading the same paragraphs/information.

4.     Your CV

The creative industries are well, all about being creative. So don't stop when it comes to your CV. Don't just type out a word document. The amount of CVs that are just a word document... It's crazy. Make it attractive, use colour! Let's just say my CV isn't in the standard format and I didn't use word - but I don't want to give away all of my secrets now do I!

I had an interview with Mr Terry Mansfield (Former CEO of Hearst Corporations, they own ELLE Magazine etc) and he said the most important thing is to stand out. He gave myself and Nia (the lovely human I worked on duende magazine with) some advice that said 'if you are good at sewing, sew your CV onto a t-shirt. If you are good at graphics create your CV into a poster' - Basically show off your skills and be innovative! Even if the person you're sending it too doesn't agree with a CV being anything but 'paper based with no colour', I can guarantee it'll get them talking about you, and more likely to get that email/phone call for an interview!

5.     Don’t be afraid to ask 

When I first started looking for jobs, and when I came across people with contacts to the industry I was always scared to ask to pass on my details, incase I came across as ‘annoying’. This is just silly. You’re making a career for yourself, the worst thing the contact can do is say no, so you might as well give it a try! You’ll find that if you show you’re passionate about the potential job, the contact will be more than willing to pass on your details.     

Do you have any techniques/advice you think would help out your fellow creatives? Any tricks that will get you that interview? I hope you found this post helpful, keep checking back for my next blog post on how to ace that interview!

Holly x
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