16 Jul 5 HONEST STUDY TIPS FOR CREATIVE INDUSTRIES
If you’re studying to be a surgeon or punch numbers for a living, it’s pretty black + white. Get a degree and get a job. But when it comes to creative industries, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s worth studying, through which organisations, for how long and if in fact, it’s actually necessary for the line of work you’re pursuing?
This creates a vulnerability (that some institutions take advantage of) and a misconception about where to draw the line when it comes to ditching the books for a life on the job. With so many study options and the added challenges that come with pursuing competitive industries, how do we define ‘ready?’ And if that’s left to us with all our complicated insecurities, fear of failure and doctorate in procrastination, will we ever make that call and trust in our ability to GET HIRED?!
A few tips from yours truly (who took the long route).
1. JOB ADVERTS
Start looking at job advertisements in your chosen field (like NOW). Are they asking for qualifications or experience? Big difference. Don’t need a qualification? Get work experience. If a job comes up and you’re the real McCoy, you’ll be signing the dotted line and upgrading from home brand to MAGGI in no time. If you’re worried you’ll be ‘taken advantage of,’ just remember that right now, you’re of no use to anyone. Get out of your own way and make that round of coffees for the brainstorm meeting you’re not invited to. Chances are, they’re testing your ability to go with the flow and bring an ego-free energy to their team. And if you’re still brewing jitter juice after 6 months, you’re probably not worth hiring (sorry).
2. STUDYING? DO YOUR RESEARCH
If you do decide to study but don’t require a university degree, do your research and make sure ‘current’ industry professionals are behind it. There’s nothing worse than a bitter X employee who made their debut as an extra on Home & Away in 1984. Unlike Home & Away, these industries are moving fast, so it’s important that you’re learning from people who represent the industry as it is now. It’s also about being in the right place at the right time when they realise that indeed, you are the real McCoy. Don’t underestimate the VALUE of some of the smaller players or training that may not be ‘accredited.’ It’s where I got my first big break. When you do find a reputable course, ask other graduates how they found the content and whether it helped them in their pursuit of paid work. Check out the testimonials and get a feel for where they sit in the market.
3. UNLESS YOU’RE 99, DON’T STUDY ONLINE!
Unless you’re super ancient, have 7 kids to raise, live on a deserted island or you’ve got a MASTERS in discipline, please don’t kid yourself and enrol in an online course that gives you 17 years to complete. Get dressed, pack your lunch and get amongst it. Networking starts from the day you step foot in a class full of like-minded creatives. Communication is KEY and you’ll be exposed to lecturers with access to events, resources and opportunities that you will not benefit from propped up in bed on your laptop or hashtagging study selfies from an urban cafe #sohecticrightnow
4. GET A MENTOR
The biggest challenge when you’re pursuing industries that generally hire based on talent (not qualification) is having absolutely no idea whether you’re ready to go gangbusters and market yourself senseless or go back to your day job. Sending a demo or portfolio out prematurely is a sure fire way to end your career before it even begins. How to find one? You’ll meet plenty of inspiring professionals along the way who offer their advice free of charge. Go with someone you trust and who knows what standard your field requires otherwise you’ll spend your life studying or making coffee rounds. Which leads me to #5.
5. DON’T BECOME A SERIAL STUDIER!
Seriously, it’s a real thing. The benefit of having a mentor is, they’ll help you make that all-important call when it’s time to move forward. Don’t sign up for anything based on fear of failure or you’ll not only waste oodles of precious time, you’ll never outgrow your own ability. Be honest about where you’re at and the reasons behind the choices you make. It’s the key to your own inner sanctum (which you need to succeed). Remember, you’ll fail so many times it’s not funny. In fact the more driven and determined you are, the more you’ll find yourself on a raft in a category 5 hurricane with no sail. The sooner you start that journey the sooner you’ll find land and turn PRO.
Hope this helps,