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So You're About To Graduate Art School? - Progressing Your Creative Career



SO YOU'RE ABOUT TO GRADUATE ART SCHOOL?

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Since you are here we can both safely assume you are a soon to be or a recently graduated art student, correct? Well, I think a congratulation is in order, well done! Despite what people may think, graduating art school is no easy task, but just as important as handing in your final folio is, the 6 months after you do this could make or break your creative career.

From one art school graduate to another here is my list of 5 essential tasks you must complete after graduating art school for a successful creative career.

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1. Website

I feel like this goes without saying but to be a successful creative you need to have an online presence. You need somewhere online where you can be discovered by potential clients and employees. If you are unfamiliar with HTML5 and JavaScript, Wordpress and Squarespace are great 3rd party hosting sites that supply you with a number of tools and templates to help you build your site. They can also help you in the process of purchasing your website URL. This can also be done through sites like godaddy.com but it is easier and cheaper to do it through Wordpress and Squarespace. Once you have your website up and running you can create a page that hosts your online portfolio and when you are applying for creative jobs you can easily customize your content to match the specifications in their job posting and then just email them a link..

2. Social Media  

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The employers for nearly every single creative job I have applied for have asked for links to my social media accounts. It is essential that you not only have a dot-com presence but also a social media presence. Ask yourself…

- Do you have a Facebook page for your work?

- Do you have an Instagram page for your work?

- Do you have a Twitter page for your work?

- Do you have a YouTube channel?

More importantly, do you understand how each of these platforms works and do you know how you can effectively use each platform to display and build a following for your work? If you are unfamiliar with how these platforms work you can take free online courses from the Twitter Flight School and the YouTube Creator Academy; these courses will help give you a solid understanding of each platform and how you can best use each one. Alternatively, you can spend time on each platform and look at trends and techniques other creatives are using

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3. Momentum

Now, this is where a lot of people fall off the wagon! You come from an environment where, every semester, for every subject you are given a brief for work you need to complete to pass the unit. But when you leave art school it all becomes self-motivated learning/creating. You will now be responsible for creating your own briefs, setting your own deadlines and completing your own work. You seriously need to start working on a new project the day after your last exam, keep a notebook of ideas or create a file on your phone of every single thought you have, whether that be taking photos of your neighbor, drawing a dog, or writing a western film. It doesn’t matter as long as you keep your creative juices flowing and the momentum you have built up over your time creating in school. This will ensure you don’t fall out of sync with your creativity. Your social media channels can be a great place to display your projects and get feedback from your friends, family, and other creatives.

4. Networking

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Professional and creative networking is an essential skill creatives should have, from listening to conversations at the bar to engaging with your uncle about his friend who runs a dressmaking business. People are always on the lookout for someone to help them build their business, shoot their music video or take their headshot. Be aware of the conversations going on around you and don’t be afraid to say, "hey I can do that, check out my website, here’s my number."

5. Self Belief  

You’re not going to find your dream job overnight and you may find yourself down on the floor, but as long as you maintain a strong sense of self-belief and continue pushing forward your creative aspirations will come true..