Getting Your Creative Dream Job

Thoughts from a manager who hires creatives. Six tips that will make you creatively irresistible to any employer.

Managing a corporate creative team - I receive a lot of applications and resumes for video editors, designers, animators, etc. People trying to fulfill their dream of getting a full time job doing something that they love.

The problem is, they put words on a page and expect that it is enough to sell the sizzle. I would encourage anyone in the position of applying — do something unorthodox. If you’re creative, creatively blow the hiring managers mind. Think outside the box.

Here are a few tips that I would recommend for those trying to get a job in the creative field.

1. Show your work, don’t just talk about it.

Send a demo reel, a portfolio, or the link to a website. Use your work as a gateway drug, so they will want to dive into the details of your experience. The workplace is a busier place than ever before, so you need to show them work that will grab their attention and make them want to see more. With tools like YouTube, Behance, and WordPress - it is easier then ever to share your ideas and work.

2. Talk about your accomplishments.

Now that your work is drawing them to look at your resume, you need to talk about your accomplishments in a way that will really demonstrate your value. Here is a great article the New York Times wrote about crafting your resume to get a job at Google (or anywhere really). The excerpt will tell you exactly how to write your resume:

“The key,” he said, “is to frame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.’ Most people would write a resume like this: ‘Wrote editorials for The New York Times.’ Better would be to say: ‘Had 50 op-eds published compared to average of 6 by most op-ed [writers] as a result of providing deep insight into the following area for three years.’ Most people don’t put the right content on their resumes.”

3. Get your foot in the door.

Before you apply, find the person that is in charge of hiring for the position that you want and schedule an informational interview. LinkedIn has made it so easy to find and communicate with people. The goal is to get your foot in the door. This step is critical for a few reasons. First, it gets you insight on whether or not you really want to work for this company, because they aren’t trying to sell you on the job they need filled. Second, if this interview goes well, you will already have a leg up on other people that are applying because you have talked with this individual, and they know you. Be sure to send a email after the meeting thanking them for their time.

4. Don’t make this awkward.

Now that you have your work and resume prepared. And you have had the informational interview and sent a thank you email. Now let’s move on to the interview. Be sure to make your interview a conversation and have fun with it. Whether it’s by phone or in person remember they are probably just as nervous as you are, be authentic and don’t try to be someone your not.

5. Ask more questions than they ask you.

During the interview process, come prepared with questions to ask the interviewer, my personal goal is to have more questions for them than they have for me. Try to imagine this as your first date, you would want to find out as much as possible about that other person before you moved into a committed relationship and let’s face it, you are going to be spending more time at this place than you will with your significant other, 40 hours per week is a lot! Here is an awesome article from Forbes on suggested questions. As a side note, I would recommend not asking about compensation early in the interview process, that will come — but most people jump the gun on this question, and it comes off as “I’m just here for the paycheck”. To recap: research and come prepared to ask specific questions and take notes to reference for future interviews, if you are able to do this well it will mark you as different in this age where we can’t focus on one thing for more than two minutes. Also, be sure to capture all your action items, so you can follow up quickly and demonstrate that this job is important to you.

6. Sell the future.

They will probably ask you in the form of “why do you want this job?”, but even if they don’t, be sure to tell them why this job lines up with your vision for your future specifically. They want to connect with you. Remember — this is your first/second date. They want to know that you are in it for the long haul. If you are applying for a job just for the paycheck, I would encourage you not to apply at all — what’s the point? You should do what you are passionate about — don’t settle. Do what you love and figure out how to make money around it. If you don’t know where to start, these books were really helpful for me: *Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk & *Quitter by Jon Acuff.

Bonus Tip

If you have a blog on your site be sure to have it up to date, not just one post that says “We Launched!” from three years ago. If you can’t keep it up to date, just remove it.

My hope is that these simple tips will help you to land your dream job. I know it’s a daunting task to get out there and apply — but when you get it and work doesn’t feel like work, all that hard work will be worth it. I know you can go out there and kill it!

I’d love to hear from you. Please tweet me (@trevorrday) with other tips you have to land the dream job.

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*The books above are affiliate links.

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