The Value of Work Experience
Fresh out of university with an advertising degree, I thought I could sneeze and someone would hire me. It quickly became apparent that I had a long way to go.
I started asking if I could come in and get some work experience instead of a paying job, the conversations changed. People were more welcoming and willing to give me a chance, they just weren’t ready to employ me.
Agencies wouldn’t employ me because they didn’t know me; They had no idea what my work ethic was like, how quickly I could turn around a brief, how original my concepts were. By visiting agencies and getting to know and learn from a whole host of creative wizards, I stopped being a risky choice and started being a safe bet – employers would know what they were getting if they hired me.
In total, I worked in five different creative agencies and had positive conversations with a further three. After working hard and putting in the effort, one of those agencies got in touch to see if I’d be interested in applying for a job.
My first full-time graphic design job had nothing to do with my degree or any of my education; it was because the employer knew who I was and what I could do.
My second full-time graphic design job came three years after completing my work experience with them. I’d worked with them, made an impression and as a result, they hired me.
All of my paid work came out of my experiences. Work experience helps in a variety of ways:
• Skill development.
• Meeting new people.
• Getting a feel for work environments.
• A stronger idea of what you want to do with your life.
• Getting your name out there.
• Working for free demonstrates dedication to your craft.
• Live briefs that will boost your portfolio.
• Filling the CV.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to get onto the career ladder without experience – that’s excellent – for the rest of us, don’t be afraid to work for free. The benefits alone make it worth putting in the hours.
PS. We’d be happy to look at your CV and portfolio.