Working in the creative industry is interesting for many reasons, not least because people come from all sorts of backgrounds. Certainly, the strength of Smarts Communicate is its people and we are made up of former journalists, youth workers, filmmakers, designers, artists, teachers, lawyers…and even the occasional PR lifer…
Three of our team who all started with us over the past few years share their advice to those starting out.
Peter Purcell (Communications Manager)
“Have an opinion”
For someone starting in this industry, or any industry like it, my advice is simple, have an opinion.
Falling into a routine of working between clients and senior colleagues can be dangerous. You can start to float by, nodding your head, agreeing and making changes other people want. You won’t even realise it’s happening; it feels part of the job.
The best thing you can do to improve, to develop, is build your own opinion.
Build it on research, thought and experience.
Having an opinion means you have taken time to review work, it means you have given time to develop ideas of your own, time away from the influence of others.
You will soon realise you have a distinctive voice and in this field that can only be a good thing.
Of course, your opinion won’t always influence decisions. Nor will it always be the right opinion, but that’s not the point. The process it takes to formulate an opinion is the important bit.
Adonia Wasson (Senior Communications Consultant)
“Learn from those around you”
My advice would be, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
When starting in a new job, and especially your first job in the industry, one of the biggest learning resources you will have to draw upon will be the people around you – don’t be afraid to make the most of that.
If you’re keen to learn how to do something new, ask if there are ways you can get more experience.
If you feel like you don’t fully understand something, ask for more information.
If you see a project you find interesting, ask if there’s anything you can do to help (you may find they’d be keen to have another person on board!).
If you have a problem, ask for some guidance.
But, importantly, make sure you balance this with initiative and independence.
Make sure you’re clear about what you need to know, wait for the right moment to ask your question, listen to the responses you get, learn from them and have the confidence to turn this into action – this is how you’ll grow.
If you do this enough, soon you’ll be the person who’s able to answer the questions.
Tara Jamison (Creative)
For anyone starting out in this industry it can be incredibly daunting – new faces, new ways of working, new clients etc.
The best advice I can give is to always be honest. Don’t pretend you know something to try to impress – you will end up down a rabbit hole of confusion.
If you think a project is going wrong, be honest – don’t nod along pretending it is the best project ever when to you it isn’t. You will end up hating the project and yourself for not telling the truth. However, be prepared to compromise, you might not get your way but you will be respected and gain credibility from your peers for giving your honest opinion.
Always tell someone when you are struggling with something, your co-workers are there to support and help you as one big team. You will be amazed at what you can learn from them and vice versa.
Remember, mistakes will happen. It is how you deal with them that matters. Be honest with yourself about where you could have improved or done something differently. As you grow in this industry you will learn from those mistakes and go on to create something wonderful!
Also, remember Google is your best friend. If you don’t have the knowledge, be honest and research it. You might even find a solution to another problem along the way too!
Honestly, honesty is the best policy for a happy life in this industry. It will lead to amazing projects and a feeling of self-belief that you never thought you had.