I read somewhere recently, that 7/10 children entering secondary school in 2018 will end up in jobs that don’t exist today. That stopped me in my tracks. Surely jobs don’t just appear at such speed?
Then I started to think. In a few seconds I was able to think of several jobs that didn’t exist five years ago. Community Manager. Content Manager. Big Data Analyst. User Experience Engineer. All these jobs were born from a rapid rate of growth within the digital industry, and the diversity of skills required to be successful in these roles. When these roles were conceived, nobody had any idea how to best prepare for them; it was all brand new.
However, over the years we’ve observed, mentored and waved goodbye to large numbers of young people who are interested in the world of digital. I regularly take part in events at schools, colleges and local universities, where I am able to share my passion and encourage students to start thinking early when it comes to career development. At Createful love inspiring people to become involved in the amazing digital industry, and we’ve rounded up our top eight tips for young people trying to get into digital. As the industry continues to evolve, hopefully these tips will be of use to those jobs that are yet to exist!
1. Discover your passion
You can’t learn passion – but you can cultivate it. Whether it’s building websites, writing regular blog articles or doodling in a notepad, find the thing that excites you and pour your energy into it.
2. Do stuff in your own time
You may not have a huge portfolio of commercial work you’ve created, but you can show off work you’ve created on your own. For certain roles, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t worked on a ‘live’ project, but it’s much better to show something over nothing. Try analysing new advertising campaigns, websites, or apps – redesign them or detail how you’d approach them differently. If design isn’t your thing, tell me how you’d improve it through code, or how you’d plan out the project.
3. Make your CV stand out
Research has indicated that it takes just six seconds for an employer to make a decision from looking at a CV. With this in mind you have to work hard to make yours last longer on someone’s desk. If you’re going to post it or hand deliver it, make sure it’s printed on good quality paper, covers no more than two sides of A4 and includes a short covering letter. If all else fails, learn from the dude who disguised himself as a doughnut delivery man to get past reception, and pasted his CV inside a box of doughnuts – genius!
4. Mix it up
“I’m a hard-working, enthusiastic individual, who works well in a team and thrives under pressure” – sound familiar? I’ve got pretty good at filtering through these carbon-copy CVs and finding the real individuals, the genuinely stand-out people who are worth following up on. Frequently, I’ll turn it straight over and read the very last paragraph, because this is the interesting part. This is where everyone writes about their hobbies and interests, but this is one of the best bits! This is where I discover about the kind of person you are, not just the things you’ve done. If we’re going to be working in the same room every day, I want to know about your love for photography, your collection of porcelain frogs or your YouTube channel where you review Japanese confectionary. You could do a lot worse than tell me about your passions right at the start of your CV.
5. Cultivate your own digital presence
Chances are you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. Make sure the content you’re creating or sharing is the kind of content you’d want a potential employer to see. If you’ve shown an interest in us as an agency, don’t think I won’t come looking for you online to see what image you’re projecting.
6. Do your research
If you’re successful in securing an interview, look the company up on every social media channel you can find. Being in the know about their latest news or projects will not only prepare you for any questions they might have about those areas, but will also give you a conversation starter, as you’ll inevitably be asked if you have any questions for them at the end of the interview.
7. Find a common connection
Similarly, do your research on the people within the company. Do you share common interests, hobbies, or went to the same school? Mentioning details like these show the company that you care enough about the job to know about the company and its people.
8. Practice makes perfect
Before the interview, ask a friend to test you with some example questions. Practicing your responses will allow you to see where your knowledge or confidence is lacking, so you can improve until you have the perfect answer prepared to impress in the interview room.
A career in digital doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be a Photoshop genius or that you can code in your sleep. Successful teams are made up of all sorts of disciplines, and people come from different backgrounds with complimentary skill sets – that’s what makes the digital industry so varied and exciting.
Do you have tips you’d like to share? Join the conversation on Twitter.