July 21, 2017, by Carla
Why the Creative Industries Love Arts and Humanities Grads
Natty Moore, BA (Hons) English and History (2016)
This time last year I was donning my cap and gown to become a graduate of English and history. I knew I wanted to work for a creative agency, but was unclear how to present my academic skills. Why would employers choose me over someone with an art and design background?
These anxieties were based on several misconceptions. Misconceptions about my skill set and how creative agencies operate. It was only after starting as a visualisation consultant for BrightCarbon that I realised I had the skills to make the transition. Arts and humanities graduates are actually perfect candidates for many positions within creative industries. Here’s why.
If you’re like me, you chose your degree because you have a genuine passion for the subject. Whether you obsess over medieval literature or fixate upon American history, you love your subject. Simply enjoying what you do was enough to get you through your first few years. But now you’re coming to the end of your degree, you’re wondering how to turn it into an exciting career. You are far from alone if you don’t know where to begin. Luckily it’s not all career doom and gloom…
It’s easier than you think to make the transition from arts grad to creative professional
Take what I do for example. As a visualiser, my job is to find the best way to communicate a message – perhaps for a sales pitch or training presentation – using visuals. Working for a presentation agency means I spend lots of time on PowerPoint, using images, icons and animations to tell the client’s story. Visualisation is about finding the most effective way to get a message across and engage your audience. It’s all about communication. Exactly why arts and humanities grads are perfectly qualified for this kind of work.
No matter what area you study, the chances are, one of your strongest skills is your ability to communicate. You’ve spent the last three years reading, researching and analysing topics. The results of which you’ve turned into persuasive essays and exam answers that simply and effectively communicate your message. You have perfected the skill of storytelling. This makes you an ideal candidate for lots of positions within the creative industries – be it messaging or content writing, for example.
You don’t need to be a design whizz to take your first steps
From the outside it might look like lots of creative agencies are staffed entirely by people with graphic design qualifications. They are not. Creating good content is as much about the message and story as it is about the look and feel. This is where your amazing communication skills come in. When devising a concept for a campaign or sales pitch, you are simply writing the story of the product or service being sold.
So, this is what you need to highlight when applying for positions with agencies that inspire you: your valuable communication skills. Emphasise the specific ways they will be useful to your prospective employer. If you don’t know which creative sector you would like to work in yet, marketing, advertising, and the digital industries are a good place to start your research. And remember, you already have the skills you need to climb the first rungs of the creative career ladder.
Three top tips for landing your first job in the creative industries
1. Get some work experience – I worked part-time for the charity, First Story, as a shadow writer, delivering creative-writing workshops in high schools. This experience showcased my interest in writing and how I developed strong inter-personal skills.
2. Spend time exploring the job market – Researching opportunities is key. I searched job boards using different combinations of key words, trawling through the multitude of results to find things that looked interesting. You could try ‘content writer’, ‘creative consultant’, ‘graduate advertising’ or ‘graduate marketing’.
3. Tailor your covering letter – Writing a strong covering letter helped me to stand out when I applied for BrightCarbon. I demonstrated writing and communication abilities by talking about my university studies and First Story placement. I also highlighted how I was a visual thinker by providing links to my online portfolio of illustrations.
Are you graduating with an arts or humanities degree this year? Need help exploring your options? Our offices are open all summer; book an appointment here.
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