It’s naive to think that people will beat down your door with job offers as soon as you begin life as a creative professional. In a market saturated with so many photographers, graphic designers, illustrators, etc, you will likely have to make or find a job for yourself. Having a degree or a certificate does not guarantee you a job. Graduation or career changes mean people can suddenly find themselves in a tight financial situation without a plan. Trust me when I say that “Starving Artist” is not a romantic state to be in.
I mention this with a point; it’s never to early to start thinking about how you’re going to make money at what you want to do. Money isn’t everything, but it is important. Doing a little research now can help set up your decisions for the future.
1. What jobs are available?
So maybe you want to be a photographer; but what kind of work do you want to do? Fine art, commercial photography, and photojournalism are all very different worlds. Or, do you want to work in a gallery? Do you want to work for a not-for-profit teaching art to youth? A great way to figure out what’s actually out there is to start looking for a job. Sites like Akimbo or WorkInCulture are good places to start.
2. What do you need to achieve?
If you’re noticing a pattern in the jobs you’re interested in, take note of what the minimum requirements are to be hired. If the jobs you want require you to have three years of experience, a masters degree, or a drivers’ license, make time to get what you need to make yourself a viable candidate.
3. How much do you need?
Get an idea of how much things cost, and how much jobs pay. If owning a condo is your goal, you need a job that pays enough for you to buy that condo. While you’re looking at job postings, see what they pay and do the math. You may need to re-evaluate what you want or what you want to be doing.
4. Ask around.
This goes back to using your connections, but if you know someone in your desired position, ask if you can take them for a coffee and respectfully (key word) ask them your questions about the details around their job.
To get into your car and just start driving is a waste of gas. You want to use your time and energy wisely. This type of research it isn’t about writing a life plan, in stone, for the next 60 years. But, rather, having some idea of where you’d like to be headed so you can chart your course as best as possible.