by Pierre Drescher, co-founder of The Creative Loft
With the job market as competitive as it is, finding a place of employment within the creative industry is no longer as easy as getting good grades in school, completing one internship, and nailing your first interview.
Today, snagging a job is about one thing: knowing how to network. And for some, the idea of networking can be a scary thing. Approaching someone you barely know (or don’t know at all) about a job? That’s unnerving enough to make even the most confident go-getter slightly hesitant.
Fortunately, there exists a few simple ways to not only network with others in your field, but to make yourself stand out in a crowd of other job seekers, as well:
Use social media to your advantage.
Sites like LinkedIn may have been created for the sole purpose of networking, but sometimes using social media sites like Twitter to reach out to others in your field can be your best bet. People, especially those in the creative industry, tend to spend more time on sites like Twitter than LinkedIn, so you’re going to have more luck getting their attention by tweeting than posting to your LinkedIn profile.
If you’re looking for a job in the fashion industry, follow some of your favorite designers on Twitter and interact with them. Same goes for the magazine industry (follow your favorite editors) or the design industry (follow some inspiring creative directors). You may not always get a reply back, but they’ll at least see your name. And if you’re feeling extra bold? Tweet a piece of work that you’re particularly proud of to someone who’s work you admire.
Reach out to acquaintances in your field.
Chances are, between internships, freelance work, and school, you’re garnered quite a bit of acquaintances who would be more than happy to help you find work in your field. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them! As cliche as it sounds, the phrase “the worst they can do is say no,” rings incredibly true in this situation.
While you’re looking for a full-time job, try to do some freelance work. This will keep you in practice, it’ll look great on your resume, and you can add those that you work with to your list of connections.
Also, talk to those in your college alumni network, stating “Reaching out to those within your college alum network can help give you guidance and advice on how they got where they are – and how you can, too.”
Join groups for people in the creative industry.
One of the most important parts of tirelessly looking for a job is knowing that you’re not alone in this struggle. And even more important than knowing you’re not alone is finding groups to join of other creative, like-minded individuals who you can share advice with on what’s worked and not worked so far in your quest for employment.
Sites like Meetup are built specifically for this purpose, or you can ask those in your pre-existing network if they know of any creative groups.
Don’t be afraid to send cold emails.
Along the same lines of “the worst they can say is no,” sometimes networking involves some rather bold moves. If there’s someone in your field whom you admire, do a little digging to find their email address, and shoot them a quick message. Perhaps they’ve done some work recently that you love; tell them this. Or you can treat them like a mentor and ask them for advice on how to get where they are.
You may not hear back right away, or you may not hear back at all. But if you do, you can now add another person to your list of connections. Don’t be afraid to email them from time to time – always mentioning that first email you sent so they can properly remember you – asking for job leads or advice.
Networking doesn’t have to be a scary step to employment. When done correctly, it can become as second nature as calling up an old friend.
Pierre Drescher is an entrepreneurial minded professional with broad international experience and strong technical abilities. He is experienced in web development, SEO, product design, and project management. Drescher is co-founder of The Creative Loft, which he designed and launched as an online employment solution targeting niche creative industries.