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Class of 2021, we know graduation is going to be a bit different this year! Starting out in the professional creative sphere can be daunting, especially at a time when the creative industries are going through such rapid changes.

However, our team at Cole AD have all been through it too! So we’ve pulled together a few key pieces of advice and tips for creative graduates that have helped us along the way, and hope it could help you too!

Don’t be a know it all

When you’re trying to make a good impression, it can be tempting to embellish your skills a little bit. There’s a pressure to make yourself stand out against your peers by demonstrating your knowledge and skill. But no-one expects you to be an expert when you’re first starting out!

Never take for granted the power of asking questions and remaining inquisitive. If you’ve reached the point where you think you know everything there is to know about your chosen career, you might as well just stop there!

Part of the fun of doing what you’re passionate about is learning something new about it, or challenging yourself to try something different. At Cole AD we encourage each other by sharing our unique knowledge and skills, so that we can all grow and learn. So ask your peers to collaborate on something new, pick up a skill from YouTube or Skillshare – the learning never stops! 

Fail, fail and fail again

It may not be what you want to hear, but the truth is you are going to fail. Failure is unavoidable. The only thing to do when faced with failure is to push through it. If you try to avoid, or dodge responsibility for a failure then you’ll miss the important lesson it could teach you. Failure means you tried something, and it’s a necessary evil of putting yourself out there!

We’ve all been in positions where we’ve reached out to someone we wanted to work for, and they’ve either turned us down or ignored us completely. It can sting at the time, but eventually you’ll be glad you did it no matter the outcome. The worst someone can say is no, so embrace an embarrassing slip up, or a rejection from the job you really wanted – the only way to go is forward! 

Know your value

In this current job market, just getting your foot in the door is a challenge. Many of us have undertaken unpaid internships, spent our free time learning new skills online or creating work for a portfolio that just gets put in the pile. The time and effort creatives put into their work isn’t always understood or appreciated. At Cole AD, we have previously committed to paying interns who have gone on to do incredible things at long-term positions in Scotland and overseas.

Creative industries are often looked at (unjustly!) as less vital to the economy. Creatives are now entering into a landscape where free work has become almost expected, and art is often described as ‘content’. That’s not to say everything you produce day to day should be treated as your magnum opus – but in this industry people are paying for your creative eye and an expert opinion. So having the courage of your conviction and the ability to stick to your guns is vital! Maybe your opinion won’t be the final decision, but simply having an opinion and a voice makes you incredibly valuable to clients looking for a true partnership.

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you all! Hopefully our tips for creative graduates can help you along the way. Keep an eye on our blog for more inspiration and suggestions from our creative team. Check out our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts to keep up to date with our work and be sure to explore our website to see more of our work in action.