How to Start a Career in the Creative Industry

Want to make a career out of the stuff you make? The creative industries describe business and organization that focus on creativity: music, design, art, publishing, literature, architecture, film, visual arts, fashion, and drama, to name a few.

Within those industries are needs for high-level design, marketing, and advertising professionals.

Why are creative careers so important? They’re creating jobs in the digital sector and the economy at large. “Creatives,” as employees in the creative industry are called, are in high demand.

What’s great about the creative industry? It’s constantly changing, and you get to work with people who are just as passionate as you are.

Let’s take a closer look at how to start your career in the creative industry—and Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) where creatives succeed.

1. Get exposure and make your art

How? Network, network, network, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. The more contacts you have in the field you want, the more likely it is that you’ll find work.

Make a few phone calls to companies that interest you, and see what they offer.  Not quite there? Check out their websites, and prepare a few pitches for projects that you’re interested in doing.

If that’s getting you nowhere, find someplace you might want to work and volunteer, apprentice, or intern. Cast your net wide, make the connections, get out there, and do it.

Lorenzo Longo, a designer in Milan since 2006 and graduate of IED, tells about his first experience working for Pirelli tires. He said, “In that occasion Pirelli choose me to be part of their engineers’ team and I developed the design of new tire patterns for them. I worked for Pirelli tires for about one year, in the same period I opened my studio.”

De-Signum, the studio he opened, is a multitasking design enterprise that works across architecture, interior design, and product design.

2. Work hard

This shouldn’t come as a shock: you have to work hard. Positions in the creative industry are competitive, especially if you’re just out of school. The key? Experience and attitude. Get as much experience as you can, and as many key connections as you can while you’re in school. It will pay off.

Longo says, “Creativity is an attitude, it’s very difficult to learn to be creative if you are not curious and interested in everything that surrounds you. You should be as a “parfumeur,” you should learn how to develop your own smell, develop your own spirit of observation, work hard, not be boring, learn how funny it is to be working in team, have patience.”

3. Follow your passion

Do what you love. Don’t worry about what other people think. As long as you care about what you do, respect others, and work hard to make a positive impact, you can make it in the creative industry.

Anna Rogg, coordinator of the Career Services Offices at IED Italy and responsible for the official IED Alumni platform says, “My advice, for young creatives, is to try to share ideas with colleagues, your boss without being jealous, never criticize other people, but try to find always positive sides. Always attending specific courses during weekends, evenings… be up-to-date!”

4. Get the right master’s degree: IED

Ready to launch your career in the creative industry? Already have your bachelor’s degree?

Get the right master’s degree at IED in Italy. With specialized and technical training, real projects with partner companies, and a wide alumni network, IED offers students masters courses in contemporary art, design, fashion, and communication.

Long says he’s still in touch with IED. He says, “It still happens that IED calls me for special projects. I worked for the Campari Group about a year ago.”

Rogg echoes the sentiment. She says, “We help students for twelve months after their graduation. This year we are going to launch our first IED Alumni platform with special deals, partnerships and job postings dedicated to our IED Community. Last year, IED Milan found internships for 92 percent of our former students who recently graduated.”

If you’re looking for a step up in that creative field that you’ve dreamed about forever, now’s your chance. Check out IED and give your creative career the boost it deserves.

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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