23.6 How Do I Make Myself More Employable After University by Ilsa Melchiori


More specifically, how do you make yourself more employable after completing a design course? This is hard, there are hundreds of students graduating every year from design courses in Victoria alone. Once you graduate you are all competing for the same limited number of job openings and freelance gigs.

Here are a few things you can start doing before you graduate,  that may help you stand out from the masses further down the track.

1.  Be software savvy. Being skilled in design software’s and other computer software’s will only aid your career post university. Having these skills not only makes your life simpler as a freelancer but makes you more desirable to a company as well. So no matter which employment pathway you choose, being well versed in a range of software’s will set you up well. Below are some of the key programs you should start learning.

Photoshop Illustrator Indesign AutoCAD Google Sketch Up Revit ArchiCAD #3D Max Microsoft Office MYOB

2.  Start a list. This should include contact people, services, facilities etc. Start this while you are at art school, connect with the people and companies on this list, explore, develop and refine it. This way when you leave university it won't be such a sudden shock that all your people and services are suddenly just… gone.

3.  Learn. I know that seems stupid, “I’m at university, of course, I’m learning’, but I mean self-directed learning. Push yourself past just what you ‘have to do’ for class and dive in. At this stage in your life, you have the time and recourses to do so. Once you leave university and enter the ‘real world’ you might not have this same sense of time, however, it is very important for a creative mind and your creative drive to allow time in your schedule to continue to learn and play and take chances and to not worry about the right answer.

4.  Master a ‘dated’ or 'dead' skill. By this I mean a non-computer based/ non-cutting edge skill, ie hand drawing, model making, wood carving, book-making. For some reason, people seem less interested in learning and mastering these types of skills these days, however, there is a very real place for them in the current market. Often companies will outsource for people with these types of specialty skills.

The creative world is a highly competitive one. Work hard, be nice (I cannot stress this enough), and good luck!

26.2 What Do You Actually Do? Q&A with Jess Lafrankie by Ilsa Melchiori


Ever wonder about the lives of self-employed creatives? How do actually make money? What does their work day look like? This new Q&A series will start asking creatives just that, what do you actually do?

First up we have Melbourne photographer Jess Lafrankie. To check out more of her stunning images head to her website:

Describe what you do in 5 words or less.

J: Fashion and commercial photographer

Now expand…

J: I’m a freelance photographer based in Melbourne who shoots for fashion brands. My style produces crisp, clean and colourful images that maintain a feminine aura.

What has your career journey been like?

J: I discovered photography when I was 15 and was put in the wrong class in high school. I started shooting paid work when I was 16 and from there relocated from a beach town to pursue this kind of career further. It’s been my sole focus ever since.

Best part of your job?

J: Having the chance to enjoy what I’m doing every day. I wake up excited to get to work and my favourite day of the week is Monday.

Worst/hardest part of your job?

J: Never clocking off. I didn’t realise I hadn’t taken a day off in 5 years and it started to affect my health. Putting my health above my career has been a struggle.

What does your typical work day look like?

J: As a photographer I don’t have a typical work day, which is probably the best part of all. I’ll either be shooting all day or in my office retouching and planning. Before this starts to become too much like a routine I’m generally on a plane for a work holiday.

What are you favourite apps to use for work?

J: Wunderlist - I’ve got my shooting gear list stored in here so I can literally just tick what I’ll need and what I have saves me heaps of time.

Ubereats -  I’m not even kidding. Having the piece of mind that if I’m exhausted from shooting or I’m too busy with deadlines I can just order some food is a life saver.

What is it like working for yourself?

J: It’s the best kind of job in the world. It’s important that you can self manage, self motivate and be proactive.

What is your current work playlist?

J: I’ve made a playlist on Spotify with all the songs that have the word WORK in the title or are about working. I’ll play this if I need a boost. I’ll play Ben Howard for good retouching vibes though.

Best career advice/tips you could give someone?

J: Read Timothy Ferris’s books.

Can you tell us about your next project?

J: It’s inspired by paintings. It’s going to be epic, my favourite to date.

What's your next step/move? Any future dreams/goals?

J: Become even more portable with my work life and get back to Europe!