Productivity

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

26.3 How Do I Write A Winning Resume? by Ilsa Melchiori

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1. Keep it simple, stupid!In regards to the layout of your resume, it is best to keep in clean and simple. It's often tempting to create some avant-garde masterpiece because you think it will help you get noticed, however from my experience a well designed, well curated, simple layout stands out more, and speak volumes over an overly worked attempt to stand out.

2. Show yourself! Include a nice, friendly looking photo of yourself. This is something I've always done and I cannot tell you how many positive comments I've had in interviews about it. "You just looked so nice and smiley!", "You looked like someone I'd want to work with", etc. The trick here is getting the right photo! Keep it to a portrait style. Make sure you are smiling and look approachable. Pay attention to your outfit. Go for something nice, yet conservative. Don't include that photo of you in the lace bralette at a music festival, there a time and place. Pay attention to the background! Again maybe don't choose a photo from a boozy night out, just in case your friend is vomiting in the background and you didn't notice.

3. Tailor it to be relevant! Most people think they have to list their previous work experience in chronological order. I find, however, that it is best to tailor the order specifically for the job you are applying for. My tip, start with your current/last job, then list experience based on relevance. If you are applying for a job as a Designer it's better to first showcase your experience in relevant fields as opposed to your work as a waitress. On a similar note, it's also sometimes necessary to curate/edit your experience. You don't have to include every single thing you have done, just pick the things that are relevant.

4. Summerise! I like to start my resumes with a personal statement. This is a short paragraph summarising everything that is covered in my resume. This way someone can read this and then decide if they want to delve in further. This is where you need to really sell yourself!

5. Understand the importance of good references! I always say that you should have 3 references on your resume. This being said you want them to be great (real) references, so if you only feel you have 2, only put 2 down. The point of references are to make you look like the best you/ best potential employee. Also, make sure you actually list your references and their contact details on your resume. I know a lot of people who will instead write 'references available on request'. Personally, I think this looks poor, and as if you couldn't come up with any in time. Tip: When you leave a job, consider asking your boss if they will be a future employment reference for you, grab their mobile numbers (in case they leave the company in the future). Then, when you are applying for jobs make sure you flick them a text with a heads up/would they mind. You don't want them randomly getting a call out of the blue and not being prepared.

6. Keep it Concise! Try and keep it to 1-3 pages total. You are not writing a PHD thesis! I know this can be difficult, but it comes back to what I mentioned earlier about curating and keeping it simple.

7. Own it! Make sure you have your name and contact information clearly listed up top. I normally put my name as a page header in a large font size to ensure it stands out. ALWAYS include your address, phone number, email address and MAYBE your availability, Instagram, website, twitter etc if you think it's relevant (there's my favourite word again!)

8. Link! A sneaky way of including more content in your resume, without in fact cramming more onto the page, is to clearly link to your website, online portfolio, Instagram, blog, etc

9. SPELLCHECK! I have mild dyslexia, and as a result, I struggle a lot with spelling and grammar in my writing. I just can't see it when I make a mistake! However, nothing bothers me more than reading other people's writing and seeing heaps of mistakes *. Firstly, do a spellcheck! Secondly, download and use Grammarly, this is a fantastic free Chrome extension that is essentially spellcheck for grammar. Lastly, have someone else (or several people) read over it.

10. Have fun! At the end of it all, try to show a little bit of personality. All the points listed above are simply my tips and things that I've found to work over the years. But at the end of the day, people hire people, no one is perfect, and I'm not entirely sure there is such a thing as a 'perfect resume'.

Happy job hunting!

Image by Ilya Pavlov via unsplash 

*I'm sorry if that happens to you when reading posts on this blog, I try to triple check everything!