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9 things that every art graduate should know

By Paul Hatton

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Date Added: 10th October 2017

Landing a creative job is not always that simple. Here we explore some tips that may help keep you on track once you have graduated...

© Unsplash.com Matthieu Comoy


Once you graduate from university it can be difficult to find employment especially if you have graduated from an arts based degree. If you study something like Computer Science then your employment route into something like programming is fairly straightforward. It's rarely that simple for many art forms though. There are jobs out there for sure but it can take a bit of work to figure out what you want to do and then find someone who will employ you into that role. We're going to look at 9 tips that might help you after graduating.

Set yourself apart

I doubt recent graduates need convincing of this. The job market, especially in England, is not in the best shape. Often when economies are struggling it is the arts based jobs that are the first to go. That being said though, it is creative entrepreneurs that are able to solve problems and help businesses evolve and adapt during difficult market conditions. So even though a job isn't guaranteed finding ways to set yourself apart is absolutely key.

Getting rejected for jobs can be really difficult to take. Don't get disheartened. You're not alone in the struggle
© Unsplash.com Svetlana Pochatun

Networking is vital

I'm sure it goes without saying but the more people you know within the creative industries the more likely you are to get employed. Therefore, do plenty of networking! Meet other artists and their bosses. Don't be ashamed or shy about this. It is absolutely essential to getting your face out there.

Getting out there and meeting people will increase your chances of getting employed
© Unsplash.com rawpixel.com


What do employers like more than a real hard working employee? Someone who will work really hard for them without being paid. Find opportunities to give up your time for those companies that you want to work for. This is an incredible way to show your commitment to a company and this will often lead to employment, especially if you can prove that you're an invaluable asset.

Give up your talents for free to try and break into a company
© Unsplash.com rawpixel.com

Don't stop doing what you love

When you graduate the tempting thing can be to just find any job at any company that will take you. This is not necessarily a bad thing because we all need to pay the bills. If we do get pigeon-holed into a job that we would prefer not to be doing then please don't stop doing what you love! Find other ways of creating in your spare time. Network with other creatives and be creative. If you want to get your ideal job then you're going to need to keep those skills razor sharp and prove that you're growing in them.

Find time to do what you love
© Unsplash.com Kristian Gonzalez

Create an online brand

To supplement all your face to face networking you should be working hard at creating an online brand for yourself. Having a website and online portfolios that show off your best work as well as what you're able to do. This will not only enable people to see what you're capable of but it might also open up to some freelance opportunities. Please only put up your best work though! There are far too many portfolios with great work mixed in with sub-standard work. Don't do it!

Use social media

Connected to creating an online brand is using that brand across your chosen social media platforms. Instagram is a brilliant visual platform where you can show off your work using images and videos. Creating engaging and unique content will help you grow your audience.

Make the most of the benefits of social media
© Unsplash.com Saulo Mohana

You might need to relocate

If you live in a place where there are hardly any arts based jobs then maybe it's time to think about relocating. Moving to any of the major cities or centres of creativity will definitely increase your chances of getting employed. Obviously there will be fierce competition in these places so make sure you use this challenge to create work that gets noticed when you get it in front of an employer.

Moving might help increase your employment prospects
© Unsplash.com Alicia Steels

Keep improving

Don't ever stop trying to be a better artist. No matter how experienced or talented you are. Take time to get other people's feedback. They are unlikely to give it unless you ask them for it specifically and make sure they know they can be honest. This will help you grow as an artist and will take your art to a greater depth as it incorporates the thoughts and feelings of other people.

Keep finding ways to get better at what you do
© Unsplash.com Allef Vinicius

Be diligent

And finally please be diligent. Some people will get that ideal job placed in their lap but for the other 99.9% of us it's going to just take some hard work. It's going to take applying for jobs, some knock backs and even questioning whether this is what you should be doing. Don't be afraid of hard work. It's a brilliant characteristic of any creative and employers love it.

Don't be afraid of some hard work
© Unsplash.com Eddy Klaus

Set yourself apart

You will have learned this all the way through university. Teachers will have encouraged you to be unique and set yourself apart with the work you create. Sometimes this is easier said than done! But it is important that we don't just imitate other people. Sure you can learn from them and be inspired but don't give into the temptation of copying them. You have unique creative talents so use them!

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