Join creative organisations to stay in tune with market trends
When you are studying I can’t stress enough the need to join and volunteer at various design organisations. You will benefit from working with likeminded people, and it will give you an understanding of the field that other graduates will lack come interview time.
Work at a charity
If you cannot land an internship- volunteer in a charity. This is how I got the ball rolling and it was a great opportunity to build a solid portfolio. My projects at Guide Dogs Australia allowed me to get in contact with some great supporting brands and influential personalities.
During my studies I worked with a friend at University to enter various graphic design competitions. Attempting to enter these competitions alone, whilst studying full time, working at a pub part time and interning is nearly impossible. But collaborating with a friend allows you to build your portfolio, show future employers that you are active in the industry- and shape your skill set.
I think it is so important to note that you must not consider your peers as competition- but as collaborators.
I also recommend interning, however, an internship is NOT getting coffee for an Art Director. I emailed every graphic design house in Sydney, with a portfolio of my work and cover letter, and finally someone picked me up. I wanted to work at an agency (as opposed to in house) at that point, as I thought I would be exposed to greater variety. In my internship I gained so much perspective on how the industry works; from aspects of client requests, to the divisional roles within the firm.
Building a creative presence
I think creating an online presence is imperative. It might seem obvious, but not enough juniors and grads are leveraging the online and maintaining a constant dialogue with people that show interest with their work. I am not just talking about Twitter or Facebook, young Aussies should be looking into establishing a bespoke blog, website, or investing in an online portfolio service.
Not only is AWARD school something I would recommend to increase skill and connections, but to challenge young graduates to consider new modes of thinking.
Need to know where to study to get into Creative Advertising?