"I'm young, I've got all the time in the world to make up my mind what I want to do!"
When you're young this is exactly what you think, and probably what's being said to you by your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
With all due respect, these people most likely aren't currently trying to forge a career for themselves in today's market. Yet you take their advice, you try your hand at this, your hand at that, next thing you know you're 27 years old, you've had four jobs already, you've developed plenty of work ethic (well, one would hope so) but you specialise in nothing in particular. You're a jack of all trades, across three different industries and genres of design. You're not on a junior salary anymore and you're living the high life.
All of a sudden, it dawns on you that you feel really passionate about working in (for example) a design studio. You're excited because when you first left uni you worked in a design studio for six months, so now you start applying for roles in design studios.
Now think about the owner of the design studio and how they might feel when they review your CV. They can see in recent times you've worked in high volume retail design within advertising, prior to that an in-house role and when you first left uni (now many years ago), a design studio. The next CV they review is someone who has the same years of experience as you, however, they started in a small design studio and have since worked at two others. Which person is going to be resonating with the owner of the design studio the most?
Now, of course, this isn't always the case, but for the sake of the point I'm trying to make, let's accept that this does happen – and often. Wouldn't you have wished that you'd chosen a different path had you known?
Are you in a position to be able to drop your salary back to junior wages in order to be given the opportunity? You just might be, however will the business owner trust that you will truly be happy for the next 12 months back on that salary level? Or will they consider accepting a drop in salary is easier said than done, and suspect you may take a more well-paid role, leaving them in the lurch? Do you think the business owner might decide to reduce the risk by hiring the person with more experience from his sector, and the person whose salary expectations are going to be met? Unfortunately for you, the answer is quite often yes, they will.
Plenty of people are really good networkers and are given opportunities to change their career paths all the time. I'm one of those people and I'm truly grateful that I was given that opportunity. However, if you are more heavily reliant on recruitment agencies or applying directly for roles, and you're wondering why you're being rejected again and again – this just might be the reason.
As is common knowledge, recruitment companies make their money by placing candidates in jobs at the request of their clients. When a company decides to use a recruiter to source talent, they can be quite rigid in their requirements due to the fact that “if we're paying for it, we expect the ideal person!”. It's therefore very difficult for a recruiter to justify putting someone forward who really wants to work in a design studio when there are other people who have lived and breathed it for their entire career.
So what do you do when you really have no idea what type of designer you'd like to be? The answer is actually much easier than you think. Speak to as many people as you can who work within advertising agencies, corporate and government in-house roles, design studios and digital agencies. If you don't know anyone, call up their HR departments and ask them for their advice. You'll be surprised at how many people, no matter what level they are within a business, are more than happy to impart some words of wisdom to someone just starting out in their career. Once you've collected all the information about the type of work which is produced within these different industry sectors and you look at your own style of work the decision will become clearer – I promise.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Director - Creative Recruiters
m: +61 413 453 563
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