I wrote this blog entry about nine months ago and never quite finished it or posted it. I don’t know why. I think I was scared that talking so publicly about career goals could see me shamed if I still didn’t make it. And you know what? Nine months on I am pretty much in the same position.. but NOT stressed about it. You might disagree, but I think it’s all about the timing. Some things happen quickly, others develop over time, and if I look back at the past nine months and think about what I have learnt, I realise that I am much more ready now than I was then.
Cast your minds back nine months ago.. it was summer, with lots of rain.. I had just come back from my travels… and this is where the journey begins…
(I hope you find some encouragement from it somewhere!)
“Since making the decision to bundle clothes into a backpack and travel various continents of the world, this blog has taken a back seat while my travel blog has blossomed. I am back, and ready to pick up where I left off.
Returning to the UK after being inspired by countries, by senses, by my surroundings, and most importantly by the people I met; I have gained a new motivation to go out and grab the job of my dreams. But how do I do it?
In the creative industry, making contacts with people, and networking with the people you have spoken to is of paramount importance. But while you gain advice from various people along the way and take it all on board, where do you go next?
I want to be an interior stylist, so I have interned for various companies, the most relevant being Homes & Antiques magazine, alongside their in-house stylist. I worked with an interior photographer, and have since sought him out for advice which he has been happy to share with me. I have emailed countless interior stylists and gained valuable information from them as well as a set designer. I have lost count of how many jobs I have applied for, and how many emails I have sent to new home developers and hotels, and here I am still without my dream job, and not feeling a single step closer to it.
I’m not stupid, I know the reason I am not getting interviews. I am doing everything right in the application process, but there is one missing link: I just don’t have the right experience.
Internships are hard to come by when there are hundreds of applicants and only a handful of opportunities – and I know that I have been extremely lucky to get the ones I have done so far. But I’m beginning to notice a pattern. Even internships have certain requirements, some of which I don’t obtain. It’s all a bit ‘catch 22’ – I need the experience to get the right job, but I need experience to get experience. Then some of the opportunities that don’t require you to have experience then have age limits; and tragically, I am deemed ‘too old’. It is becoming more difficult than ever before to break into the creative industry… what do I do next?
After a bit of internet research, it appears the same things come up again and again. Keep networking. Compile a portfolio. Get yourself noticed through blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, websites. Keep sketching, designing – doing whatever it is you are passionate about – and in some cases, enrolling on certain courses to boost your CV with skills is a great way to aid you in getting one step closer to THAT job.
Sadly, this isn’t new information to me. I knew this a year ago when I set out as a recent graduate in the search of the perfect career, and throughout that time I have done all but one of these. Perhaps it is time to enroll on some courses? Brush up on my photography skills.. get involved in something creative again? It’s worth thinking about for sure.
I know I am not the only person in this situation – it is an all too common occurrence for many people… and it’s tough! You are doing all the right things, and still not succeeding.
Media tells you what to do to get a job these days. But it doesn’t all add up in the real world. Internships alone are hard to come by when there are hundreds of applicants and only a handful of opportunities, so a permanent job is that much more difficult. What the magazines tell us IS true. But not for everyone. Things don’t always happen in the order they suggest. Getting yourself out there and known – on LinkedIn, your own website, blogs, all of that – is a great way to start. Then compiling a portfolio is an important next step. As is applying for internships, for work experience, offering your services for free. But I have done all that. And applied for jobs, with little or no response…”
We’re back at the current date, April, 2013.. It’s freezing cold. Something weird is happening with the British weather..
It is SO easy to be disheartened by all of this. The lack of response and feedback, the not knowing what more you can do or what step to take next. Trust me, I have been through ALL of those thoughts possible. You can start to doubt yourself, think you’re not good enough to do what you want to do, but if you have the determination, the ambition and the passion.. that will see you through. Just don’t give up.
I am saying this not as a success story – I am still on my journey – but as someone who has been through it all, thought about giving up and has seen that that is NOT the answer.
My advice to everyone in this situation is simple: persevere. It WILL happen. Just because you are waiting for THAT job, doesn’t mean you should miss out on other opportunities. When you need to have another job to get you by, don’t see that as a waste of time or something bridging the gap between now and the dream. Take from it everything you can and work hard. Use it as an opportunity to learn new skills, keep focused on something and as a way of adding creativity into everything you do. (I even managed to do that as an admin assistant in an office once.. creativity is everywhere..)
I have recently found myself saying ‘Oh I just work in a shop..’ when people ask me what I do at the moment. You are never ‘just’ anything. It may not be my ultimate career goal, but while I am patiently waiting for that to happen, I am working for a fantastic company that does loads of work for charity, I am surrounded by wonderful people, my hard work is being noticed and rewarded, I am getting to practise styling through merchandising and every day I am learning something new and developing existing skills. It is not a waste.
So if you are in the same position as me, keep dreaming, keep passionate and keep active in your search. It will pay off, and when you reap the rewards they will come thick and fast because you will be READY.
Don’t be disheartened, be encouraged by your hunger for the future. :)