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

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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!

28.4 How Do I Write A Successful Artist Statement? by Ilsa Melchiori

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A well-written artist statement (or personal statement) is an important tool for all Artists and Designs to have in their back pocket. Having this document ready to go whenever you need it (grant applications) will make your life a little bit easier.

No idea where to start? I suggest you ask yourself the following why, how, what questions:

Why: what sparked this work? Why did you make it? What is the idea behind it?

How: Include a description of your process, how do you work?

What: what is the physical outcome? Is it an oil painting, a video work, maybe a bronze sculpture or mixed media installation?

Your answers to these question should provide you with a base that you can start to flesh out. When doing you keep the following things in mind.

1. Keep it simple, stupid. Do not try to sound like "an artist" by over stuffing your statement with technical language and art wank. Write so that your art ignorant older relative can understand it (especially if your practice is more left of center).

2. Avoid using I and me constantly throughout the statement. Having every sentence start with "I…" is stunting to the reader and comes across as juvenile.

3. Don’t doubt yourself. If you don’t believe in what you are doing how can anyone else. Avoid saying "I want to…" or "I am trying to…", own what you have done, for example, "Throughout my work I have focused one…"

Image by Mike Petrucci via unsplash