The class of 2020: How to be a young creative in a post-pandemic world
Art directors Xavi Ocana and Catarina Barcala, recently graduated from a two-year program at Miami Ad School. They are ready to join the ‘real world’, but what ‘real world’ is left? As they take their first steps into the advertising industry, we asked them to share their tips (and fears) on how to start a creative career in this new era.
Graduation is a great achievement under any circumstances, even the bizarre ones we find ourselves in right now.
We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time, but it looks slightly different from anything anyone could have ever imagined.
However, as challenging and uncertain the times may be, they are our times and we need to make the most of them.
When you graduate you are expected to fully take charge of your life. It’s time for action. But who knows where to start when the world is turned upside down by a pandemic and protests?
Here are a few of our thoughts:
No, not like that. As meeting in-person and industry events may take a while to come back, it’s important to get your name out there. And when we say out there we mean online.
This is a great way to get fellow professionals (and maybe recruiters) to end up checking your portfolio.
With a little help from my (creative) friends
Necessity is the mother of invention (and solidarity).
We’ve witnessed how the creative community came together and professionals with years of experience launched new initiatives to help graduates like us. From the mentorship programs of The One Club of Creativity to platforms like Make Ads With Me, which helps young creatives find partners and the support they need to build the best portfolios they can; or kick-ass projects like My Link Is Your Link, that allow professional creatives to turn the views of their portfolios into visits to portfolios of creatives who are currently unemployed, by just copy and pasting a code into their website (in just one week the project donated more than 3,000 views).
Pharma, it’s a match
Of all the cuts made in advertising over the last months, there are some areas that have experienced significant growth: Health and Pharma.
Ask yourself how your creativity could change the way advertising is made.
We’ve noticed that a big part of job offers for creatives are for these sectors. Even though historically these sectors haven’t been the most appealing for creatives, the reality is that Health and Pharma have the biggest budgets now so it wouldn’t be shocking that they may produce some of the biggest campaigns of this new era.
Start researching. Ask yourself how your creativity could change the way advertising is made in these sectors.
It’s a challenge. Be open-minded.
Work from home (wherever home is)
The best thing about creativity is that it isn’t subject to aspects like place and time. You can create wherever, whenever, with whoever.
People are working from home. Offices are closed and in the US they aren’t expecting to be back open until September (or even next year!).
This means new opportunities: the city (and even the country) where you are based is no longer a crucial fact when job hunting. Teleworking opens the door to offers from all over the world.
Upgrade your student work: make it happen
One of the best pieces of advice we’ve received from people in the industry is: make it happen.
We’ve started to see how brands are realizing that, in today’s world, profit isn’t measured by the number of zeros in your bank account but by the positive impact you make in the world.
Don’t just have a cool idea and create a ‘fake’ case study. Take it to the next level: Print those posters, place them outdoors, take some pictures, add them to your portfolio; make ideas for your favorite brands, reach out to them, look for other young professionals to bring them to life.
When recruiters or creative directors are looking out for new creatives, those who have ‘real’ projects on their portfolios are the ones who stand out the most.
The future is good
Due to the pandemic, we’ve started to see how brands are (finally) realizing that, in today’s world, profit isn’t measured by the number of zeros in your bank account but by the positive impact you make in the world.
That’s the future of advertising.
There are awards happening all year round waiting for you to join.
So while you have the time, find what’s important for you, create projects you believe in, support non-profits with your creativity. Be the campaign you want to see in the world.
And the Cannes Lion goes to… you
While job offers are put on hold, awards keep going (even if just virtually).
There are awards happening all year round waiting for you to join. We’ve found platforms like Adspur very useful.
Adspur is like a database for advertising festivals with 850 different contests registered on their calendar. From well-known festivals that will give you international exposure to less known ones that may give you a cash prize instead; from the ones that will encourage you to solve a brief to the ones that will invite you to submit your best work.
In the end, being a young professional in a post pandemic world may not be that different to being a young professional in a non pandemic world. In both worlds, if you wanna make it there’s just one thing you need to do: don’t stand still - move.
Because if we’ve learned something in our short but intense experience is that your career starts long before you get hired. The question is: are you up to the challenge?