Navigating your way through a creative career is no easy task. We have one simple piece of advice. Be bold, but humble.
1. Be bold
Believe in yourself.
Confidence as a creative is challenging and we all face doubt as to whether we can be creative today or even tomorrow. Your beliefs about your capabilities affect your future performance, your creativity, and your life. Allbert Bandura, an expert on motivation, suggests that you can strengthen your self-efficacy (your belief in your ability to succeed) though a series of steps:
Confidence as a creative is challenging and we all face doubt as to whether we can be creative today or even tomorrow. Your beliefs about your capabilities affect your future performance, your creativity, and your life. Albert Bandura, an expert on motivation, suggests that you can strengthen your self-efficacy (your belief in your ability to succeed) though a series of steps:
Practice to gain mastery experience: Each accomplishment will point you toward greater success. The creative industries are all about "doing" - and so the more you do, the better you'll become.
Work with creative peers and experts: Observing others doing what you want to do will help you be better.
Get feedback from pros: Constructive criticism and encouragement goes a long way to changing your belief system. Mentors are all around you. Seek them out.
Minimize stress: Remember to give yourself a break because we're all learning here.
Promote your strengths.
This year, make the commitment to show what you're capable of doing. You can promote yourself without being a jerk. Here's a few ways to start:
Update your resume and your LinkedIn profile. Research current industry appropriate terminology to add relevance.
Refine your portfolio and present your work to the world. Roll out some pieces and edit out what no longer works.
When you meet someone new, use that connection as an opportunity to talk about your creativity and your goals. Develop an elevator speech as an icebreaker.
Have a thick skin.
The creative industry is tough and you will hear the word “no” a lot, from clients and other creatives.
See every "no" as an opportunity to make your work better or to take a new perspective.
Remember: The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews. - William Faulkner
2. Be humble
Shine light on your teammates and appreciate other talent.
One of the best ways to get ahead is to recognize the talent around you. In this industry we usually work as a team. Your teammates will remember when you recognize their good work and it will circle back to you. When I was visiting the ad agency RPA with my class, we met with Amy Moorman, the Director of Creative Services. She told the group, “This is a small world. Make friends.” It is an important thing to keep in mind.
Let your work speak for itself.
I've noticed over the years that the most creative students rarely brag about their talents or their work. They just perform.
Your work will do much of the heavy lifting in an interview and in your job. Ask yourself: Do I want to be perceived as a talker or a doer?
Remember that everyone starts at the bottom.
As you continue to rise in your career, always remember where you came from. Creative people start out insecure and uncertain and a bit of that stays with us always. Perhaps that is why so many creative people are always willing to give a hand up.
When you get to the top, and you will, help someone who is just starting out.
Gina Greco is the Director at Portfolio Studio, the hub where ambitious students work with industry professionals for training and portfolio building in copywriting, graphic and web design, art direction and digital strategy.
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