If you arrived here you’re probably either hating the guts out of your current job or feeling like the world is an impossible, harsh place to be, where nothing good can come out of your multifaceted and special talents. You job hunt for anything that fits your industry and throw yourself out there into positions that you slowly start to loathe, either because they pay worse than you could’ve imagined or stifle your creative energy with unsolicited tasks and boring environments where you don’t see yourself growing.
And frankly, I get it. There’s so easy way to go about this. You’re at wits end and miserable and lost, feeling like there’s no place for you to bloom and that no one will probably pay you for who you really are.
The good news is, if you landed here, you are 10 minutes away from receiving your 100% free, comprehensive guide on landing the creative job you want and keeping it.
Jokes aside, the following steps are designed based on my personal experience (and the amassed experience of others who ended up living off what they love), and are – I’d dare say – crucial to breaking the dry spell and finally making some sense of your talent without feeling exploited or underpaid:
1. Think of what you’d love to do.
If you can’t wrap your head around what you love and you’re feeling too stuck in mambo jumbo thoughts that clutter your brain even more, it’s important to know you’re not going towards a dead end here. Not at all.
Start by setting aside one afternoon (or time frame of your preference) to collect data about yourself. Use paper and pen to start writing down your talents. It can be that you like to write, draw, paint and so many other artistic, creative activities. Maybe you’re good at connecting people, offering advice, organising events or helping others build their businesses. Be as objective as possible and don’t stress over past failures. The point in doing so is to go back in time as far as childhood or adolescence, when your talents were blooming. Once you have as many talents penned down as your mind is able to produce, start drawing associations. Notice how your creative writer skill could easily unfurl into several other types of writing (technical, copy, journalism, personal essay, slogans etc). Or see how your talent of offering people advice links to their businesses’ success.
Write down these associations and pen down a bullet list of things you’d like to do starting with “I’d love to….X”. Once this list is completed, read it out loud to yourself and see what emotional triggers you’re getting out from it. Does it feel fake? Does it feel empowering? Write down the emotions you’re feeling and the memories associated with them. Only too often our blockage stems from a deep well of bad experiences we’ve internalized, that, on the long run, could make us believe we’re entirely no good at anything, in spite of our achievements.
Once you’re done with this step, write down your achievements. They can be as personal as they get, like organising your best friend’s birthday party or making someone feel good about themselves. Your soft skills count easily as skills you’ll want to introduce to your new team or workplace.
However, if this initial step seems like a black hole and you can’t find any trace of talent in you, it’s time to look around for help, which takes us to step two.
2. Look out for a mentor, a coach or someone smart.
While getting a life coach will mean spending some bucks on the sessions, the money will pay off as you begin unraveling your potential. The strategy presented at (1) is one of the surefire ways to attend to your creative needs, emotionally and practically, thus your coach may want to begin with this. Their role is to ask you the right questions in order for you to find the answers that help you unlock yourself and proceed further. Your coach will have to know which talents and skills you posses but will also tackle around your fears and thinking patterns in an attempt to unblock what’s keeping you from moving further.
If you can’t afford a coach for a one time session or a couple of sessions, turn to an authority figure or try to find a mentor in the sector you’re trying to thrive. This could be a University professor you trust, a great editor, a business owner or a blogger. It could also be your priest, a family member or friend who has the expertise to counsel you or who knows you well enough to offer some advice.
If this doesn’t work out and you feel you have no one to talk to, allow me to break it to you that you have the very best resources online, for free.
Turn to platforms such as Quora for guidance from thousands of specialists in each domain, coming from all possible schools of life and thought, who will be eager to hear your worries and offer the best advice they can.
You can also ask anonymously if you feel unsafe, and request answers from the people you’d like to connect with. I can’t stress how much help you can get on places like this, regardless the problem you’re facing.
3. Design your approach strategy.
Once you’ve found out what you’re capable of, it’s time to start working on a strategy aimed to help you access the creative job you want. Get back to the old pen and paper and start channelling your muse. Use the old list of things you’d love to do and start again by putting aside some time and actively research, otherwise its not gonna fall from the sky.
Ask the right questions. To your mentor, your coach, or on the Internet.
Your job landing strategy should focus on at least five questions:
– What are my talents?
– How can I educate myself more / How can I harvest my talents?
– Where do I want to use my talents?
– What outlets do I need to create for my talents to shine on?
– When do I begin?
4. Start firing applications.
Read, educate yourself, find out what job you’d like to have. 50% of your mission is research, so don’t just throw yourself into other spiteful jobs because that means you’re just running in a circle and avoiding to take the leap that might launch your career in the industry you want to be.
Don’t fall into the trap of only bookmarking jobs in your proximity, or only companies that advertise openings.
More than half of the jobs out there for creators happen online nowadays, so if you’re not willing to relocate, you might as well become an editor or a producer from the comfort of your own home office or bed.
Build an online resume (today they are the best formula, plus they’re easy to create and super useful to navigate), and start crafting a couple open application letters to further use.
Start sending open applications with a link to your new super neat online CV.
Feel free to send as many as 100 (yes, 100) applications per week. The math is like this: half of them might not even open the email, while the other 20% will not write back, but you get yourself a niche of around 30% answers rate, with a probability of 10% to match with the right team and project, and there’s your new job lying at the bottom of the emails stash.
Be positively friendly and tell people how you can help them, instead of sporting a bored and blase attitude. People won’t care what they can offer you if you’re not eager to help, but they will be interested in someone who picks their brain and asks the right questions.
5. Negotiate your terms and fees.
The creative business is rough. Now that you’ve found at least 2 potential customers who want to hire you or contract you for your super duper creative skills, and before you jump through the roof of joy and binge eat ice cream and throw a decadent party with vodka and nectar, sit down and think how much time you’re willing to put into it and how much you want to be paid for it.
Always ask for a higher rate than you’re willing to work for. Your contractors will most likely want to negotiate thus this gives you space to juggle around your future income.
Ideally, you’ll want to get hired with a work contract that pays for your insurance, holidays and makes it easy to deduce your tax rate. While this unicorn has still been seen roaming out here, most creative businesses are looking to externalise and relocate their resources by contracting freelancers.
While this scenario might not entirely fit your ideals of having a monthly paycheck and having healthcare handled for, there are exquisite benefits to working remote or freelance, such as making your own work schedule, being able to externalise yourself parts of the work and, finally, the one we’ve all dreamt of, being perfectly able to travel while you’re working.
If your job offers look promising, don’t discard the freelancing option. If you haven’t dealt with this before, take some time to look into legislation in your country or look for a tax adviser in your area. Some NGOs and state programmes offer free of charge consultancy on starting a small company or freelancing. Plus, depending on how much you’re making you may be able to deduce huge parts of your costs, such as shared office space rent, travel, transport or internet, phone and electricity bills.
Don’t settle for just one client. The avenue of possibilities you can get while working on a one time project is vast, plus it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open and your resume updated. The search for your dream job never truly ends, and it could as well turn into an expansive self operated business in the future!
6. Sign the papers and get to work.
Now that you’ve landed your creative dream job, make sure all legal requirements are met. Set up a transparent communication system with your team or company, especially if you’re working remote, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or access to resources you need in order to better your work.
Finally, I can’t stress enough how important it is to look out for a job you BELIEVE in, because then you’ll find it in you to introduce yourself to it properly and easily deliver what you signed up for.