How to… get into the creative industries

How to… get into the creative industries

We’re at it again with the wisdom, providing knowledge and wisdom graduates (or anybody, really) who wants to break into the creative industries.

Our tips aren’t a step-by-step guide on how to get the job of your dreams. We’re not sure there is one.

They’re more a list of things we like, that would impress us and make you stick in our memory. If you do that you’re most of the way there already.

If you find this helpful check our our other advice for advertising creatives, account handlers, developers, and designers, and spread the knowledge.


  • Smile! Nobody likes a misery.
  • Never lie on your CV, you’ll always be found out.
  • Include work in your portfolio that you’re really passionate about, even if it doesn’t directly relate to the position you’re applying for. I included some of my own photography in my book, and ended up talking about it extensively with my interviewers. It made them remember me.


  • Do what you love.


  • Have an enquiring mind. We want someone how asks: “Why did you do it that way?” and “Why didn’t you do it this way?” It demonstrates they are already doing the job.
  • Be adaptable. This industry is changing at a frantic pace, almost daily it seems sometimes. People who embrace change rather than resist it are worth their weight in gold. We test people by changing the circumstances of interview requirements to see how people deal with the unexpected. Most people adapt remarkably well, some people hate it. Perhaps it isn’t for them…
  • Rockstar developers, creatives and planners are all very well, but this is a team business. Evidence of mucking in and working as part of a team is critical in a world of creativity, tech and data.
  • People who have broad horizons and want a make a dent in the world, to be the absolute best they can be and are prepared to work obsessively to achieve it
  • Attention to detail. People who can walk to the talk.


  • Be enthusiastic, ask questions.

Everybody (but especially Sue):

  • Proofread your application letters and emails, particularly if you want to go into copywriting. It’s an important part of the job, and it would be awful if a stupid overlooked mistake made the difference if it came to a close call between candidates.

Claire K:

  • It’s good to show an interest in working across a range of different clients.
  • Work experience. I’m always impressed with related experience even as far back as school.
  • A genuinely good attitude and approach to work. I’m looking for old-school, traditional values! Work hard to get ahead.
  • Ask questions at the end of an interview. Even if you feel the interviewer has covered everything. Always ask: “If I was successful is there anything I can be doing to prepare in advance of my start date?”
  • Good shoes. Always wear your best shoes.
  • Don’t put your photo on your CV, its not big and its not clever and nobody is really that interested in what you look like.


  • Be smart (in mind and appearance), be punctual and be curious


  • Find out as much as you can about the person and the agency/company you’re going to see.


  • Don’t let your ego get in the way.
  • From my experience of meeting a lot of students who come in for placements, I’d say what really stands out is actually caring. It’s so simple.
  • Just show that you really care and really want to get into the industry. That you’re willing to work hard and go out of your way to get experience, feedback, whatever.
  • During this year’s summer school application, there was a student who found out about the opportunity and said ‘I’ll think about it’. That’s a wrong attitude to have if you want to get into the industry. Who would want to help you if you yourself aren’t even bothered?
  • LISTEN to your mentors. Listen to what they think about your work. Write it down if you’re afraid you’ll forget. And work on the feedback. You might end up meeting the same person again and you don’t want to show them what they didn’t like.
  • Make your CV or cover letter stand out. Don’t just email the template you found on the internet. This is the creative industry. Be creative. e.g. if you’re a copywriter, use it to show your writing skills.

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