Wednesday, May 9, 2012

So you're graduating from art school...part 2

The next thing I want to mention to all new graduates is about the idea of being a professional. A lot of you may be excited to finally graduate and now you can finally become a professional. But this isn't quite how it works. You don't become a profession by being promoted to it. It's not a badge you pin on when you take off your student badge. It's a mentality. If you want to be a professional then behave like one, and then, boom, you're a professional, that's really all there is to it. The biggest thing I think that can hold you back immediately after graduating is by referring to yourself as a recent graduate. I personally feel like it's a sign of ones uncertainty towards their abilities and/or maybe they feel like they haven't earned the right to call themselves that yet having just graduated. Regardless, By asserting your title as a professional in every facet of your web presence, you'll be treated like one because of it.

I'm not trying to say that it is a horrible mistake to let anyone know how recently you've graduated, but I feel like it's more important to let your potential clients know you have the professional mindset and are ready to be taken seriously. If you start working for a client and they're extremely happy with what you're giving them, they won't care if you tell them you're a recent graduate. Calling yourself a professional shows that you're confident with the idea of being able to take on a professional job. Even if you're terrified of ruining your chance with a job, you need to still act like you have the confidence. I still have my doubts all the time, but I think it's important to keep those feelings away from your promoting venues as much as possible. Art Directors are going to get nervous if they see you nervous, and they'll feel confident if they see you confident.

Lastly, show some excitement! In my experience, ADs get excited at the idea that you're excited to work on your project. Enthusiasm will make a job a lot easier and it will encourage the AD togive you more work in the future as well.

Next, I want to talk a little about when to accept work and when to decline work...

I remember when I graduated I was eager to take up any job that came my way. Every person that approached me asking for work made me feel like it was going to be my road to glory. But this isn't always the case, and it's important to keep an eye out for signs that a job that looks promising at first, could instead be promising a mess.

Recently Heather Hudson made a post on her blog related to this idea. She posted a photo of a flyer at an event that advertised the need for some book cover illustrations and she breaks down the flyer and unveils the warning signs of what a job with this person might have in store. Check out the post HERE. Her post gives some really great insight on how to dissect a job request so you can calculate the credibility of it. If you can work out a fair and worthwhile deal with someone then by all means take it. I personally have had some really successful and rewarding jobs come from unexpected places and with clients who had never commissioned artwork before. However, it's still important to know when you may be doing more harm than good by taking a job. Learn when to say yes and when to say no.

These are just a couple things I've had to face myself after graduating and I hope that what I've said can help ease the stress for anyone else who's about to face these problems as well. I'll have one more post to wrap things up on Friday. If you like what you've read so far, please come back then.

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