I came across a job ad for a digital artist to make print ready logos and advertisements in Photoshop and Illustrator. I was thinking about applying but I’m not entirely sure of myself. I have never had a job in the industry nor have I done any freelance work or even have a degree. What I do have though is 6 years of self teaching, a strong creative ability, and I’m taking digital illustration classes in college. Do I even stand a chance? What can I do to help myself get a job in the industry?
Worst that can happen is that they turn you down.
There are loads of application that gets turned down, don’t let it get to you.
Apply, apply, apply! Worst case, they never call you and you’re out the 30 minutes you spend applying. Best case? They offer you the job. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain by applying. The BIGGEST mistake artists make is NOT applying for gigs. I started out working at a studio almost immediately out of college because I applied myself and applied for a lot of jobs. 7 years later and now I’m fully self-employed as a freelance artist with a nearly 50% close rate on jobs that I apply for because I know what I’m good at and how to apply for jobs doing it. It took a while, but if I hadn’t applied for hundreds of jobs that I got turned down for, I wouldn’t have learned how to get the jobs I’m qualified for.
To better your chances:
Do you have a website or portfolio?
Domain names are cheap and Wordpress is easy. Get your work online in one place. Set up a Deviantart account and get your works online. If you do animation, cut a demo reel showcasing your skills (you can do this for stills as well but it’s not as effective).
Have you done any work (unpaid) for ‘clients’?
This could be anything from a poster for your friends band to a web-comic you did in your Highschool multimedia class. Anything that had a deadline could be considered ‘work for hire’ whether it put money in your bank account or not. Those projects should be on your portfolio site and resume.
Do you have a resume?
If not, create one. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should show potential employers where you got your skills and who you’ve done work for in the past. One page maximum and don’t pad it. It’s better to have only half a page of stuff actually related to the job your applying for than to be a full page with “I worked at Pizza Hut from April 2014 - June 2014” just to fill up space.
It’s better to be a C grade artist with a boat-load of confidence than an A grade artist who doesn’t believe in himself. Therefore, obviously, an A grade artist with confidence and drive will soar. Most of the jobs I get, I’ve never done anything like it before. But, I know I CAN do it. My application emails typically look something like this:
My name is David Radford. I saw your [post/listing/etc] on [name of site] looking for an [animator/modeler/etc]. I have over 10 years of experience in rigging and animation for film, TV, cartoons and video games and I believe I would be a good fit for this project. [optional, don’t lie] I really like [something about the gig] and I definitely want to be a part of this.
My portfolio can be found on my website at www.DMRadford.com/reel
I’ve also attached my resume for your consideration. Thank you for your time and I look forward to discussing this project with you further.
Obviously this gets tweaked per project, but the idea is to be short and to the point while showing confidence and, if possible, personal interest/motivation.
Last but by far least: Look for freelance and apply for it! Find forums revolving around your particular skill set and check their jobs board often! Apply for jobs immediately, don’t wait till you get home unless you absolutely have to. The longer you wait, the lower your chances they’ll even read your application.
Hope that all helps and good luck!
Thank you David for your advise. Your post makes me feel more confident and gives me a clearer understanding of what I need to do to better my chances.
Regarding education: Just remember that even though a degree is not required for this field, a professional is responsible for their own training and development. If you see a course that you feel is going to help you improve then go for it, and don’t worry too much about the piece of paper at the end.
Follow Mr Radford’s advice and go for it! Best of luck!
If your portfolio is good enough, you stand a chance. The resume helps but the main thing is whether you can provide quality work in the correct formats, on the right schedule. If you think you can, show them what you’ve got.
If you have no existing work, or no similar work to show, then your chances are slim regardless of your resume, experience or education.
Nothing of this matters.
Only thing that matters is your portfolio. Have one? If not, start working on it.