“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit. – Aristotle
If you’ve just completed or are nearing completion of art college, you’re most likely well aware of the competition in the arts jobs market you’ll undoubtedly be facing. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can vastly increase your chances of securing a job right out of the gate. Creativity is the hallmark of any artist, so use it to your advantage. Optimising your portfolio, taking advantage of real-world networking opportunities, and utilising the Internet will set you apart from the crowd and maximise your employment probability.
Any artist’s portfolio is a continually changing representation of their achievements. If you look back at your work from even a couple of years ago, you’ll no doubt see how you’ve grown and expanded your skills as an artist. When you submit your portfolio to any employer, it should accomplish the following:
- Demonstrate your individuality as an artist to show you’re not like every other artist applying
- Showcase only the best of your work
- Display any special abilities or unique pieces
Skim through your portfolio and ask yourself if it meets these points. Don’t be afraid to take out pieces which you’re unsure of or aren’t indicative of your most exemplary work – it would be better to have a smaller portfolio than one that is brimming with mediocre or ho-hum examples.
Take Advantage of Local Networking Opportunities
Most areas have a number of outlets for artists to display their work, meet peers and employers, and generally involve themselves in the community. Seek out these opportunities and make your voice heard whenever possible, even if it’s something as simple as asking a local restaurant if they would care to display your work. Networking really allows you to get creative with how you can spread word of your art. For example, you might contact local performers such as bands or drama groups and offer to design or contribute to their flyers or promotional material for free in exchange for credit. This also conveniently doubles as material for your portfolio.
Develop a Strong Presence on the Internet
It’s little wonder that so many artists have taken to the web in order to receive more recognition and, in many cases, get hired. Convert your portfolio to digital format if it hasn’t been already, and create your own website to conveniently showcase your work to potential employers. Furthermore, don’t discount the many social networking sites at your disposal. Aside from the most common ones, seek out online communities specifically tailored for artists. Be active with your followers and engage them frequently – if you’re looking for work, don’t be afraid to say so. Word of mouth can travel a long way, especially on the Internet.
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Good luck in your search.