Job Advice to Young Creatives


I love artists. My parents owned an art gallery growing up in Brazil, my father is a plastic artist, and I have done a lot of graphic design in my past. My company is always looking for creatives in video, web, and print. I love meeting young talented people who bring fresh ideas and new sensitives to our portfolio. Good work from young creatives is like looking at the world through a fresh set of eyes. But often, managing creatives can be difficult and downright painful. I often get asked during the interview process at our company what I’m looking for in a creative hire. Here’s my wish list:

Speak up. Don’t be afraid to bring your perspective into a project. That’s what we want from you–your youth and everything that comes with it.

Be teachable. Your design video is not God-breathed and, believe it or not, it can be improved with input from your superiors and, shockingly, even your clients. Remember, you can learn from anyone.

Deliver the goods. Concepts, ideas, and visioning are great, but deliverables are what count at the end. If you can’t deliver the goods, than you won’t last long. In the real world, deadlines do matter.

Keep drama away. If you can do good creative work without drama, you’ll be ahead of a lot of your peers. The earlier you realize that every project is not about you and that your job is to please the client, you’ll go far. I will hire a low-maintenance, low-drama creative who’s good and wants to grow before I’ll hire the prima donna who thinks she’s already great.

Work hard. There’s no substitute for hard work. Be willing to put in the effort and hours that take to get the job done.

What other advice would you give young creatives?

  • Sally Epson

    I'm reading this to my kids. thanks.

  • Lewis Clayton

    Creatives are difficult enough to manage. Gen Y creatives are even more of a challenge.

  • Steve Cooper

    #1 But think first; #2, #3, #4 Oh yeah; #5 Work Smart, Not Hard – – – by the way, if I'm already past being young, how do I get back there to qualify?

  • I would add, learn how to sell. So many young designers don’t know this art.

    •  We all should learn how to sell. We are always selling ourselves, our designs, our skills.

  • That’s a great wish list!  I’d suggest that the video may be God-breathed but so is the feedback.  It’s also a hard lesson to learn that the most effective project and the one that pleases the client may not be one in the same. 

    •  That’s a tough lesson for all creatives. Please the client first and then if you please yourself, bonus!

  • Traci

    I suppose this applies to all job seekers, but;

    1. spell check and re-check your resume. again. and again.
    2. look yourself up on the internet and remove any “bad” things. party photos come to mind.
    3. people talk to each other even if they do not work together. don’t burn bridges because it may bite you in the tush some day.

  • Anita

    If only low-maintenance and low-drama came wrapped up in the same pkg as highly-creatives. #fewandfarbetween

  • I have a team of senior and junior analysts, all highly skilled and extremely unique. In some ways, they are creatives (though this term would scare the senior ones). We also partner with simulation and software engineers that are creatives. While I prefer leadership, I have to practice a lot of management to keep the big company bureaucracy away from them as much as possible so they can “create.” My advice to them is always to focus on your job in your unique skill area (art) and let me know to step in and handle the administrivia that is causing any roadblocks or speed bumps. This reduces the “drama” and keeps them producing the amazing results that they are constantly recognized for.

    For creatives looking for a new opportunity, I would advice them (just as I advice my analysts when they move on) to look for an environment where they can thrive and exercise their “art”. A micromanager or a pushover boss is the wrong type of boss for a creative, and can result in either a stifled worker or a prima donna, when they assume they know more about management than their ineffective manager.

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  • Harvey

    Explore, examine, experience.  Go to the museum, listen to music, travel, talk to people, try different foods.  All these lend themselves to a wellspring of creativity.  For example, I tried shark at a local restaurant.  I don’t like shark, but it did give me a thrill knowing that “man bites shark.”  A visit overseas allows one to experience art, architecture and fashion in ways that are entirely different than in the US.

  • Great tips here, just because one desires to be creative does not mean they should stray from the traditional qualities of a hard worker.

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