Both my advertising classes and internship have taught me a lot about the business.  But the truth is, you have to do more than just the basics.  As many people in college soon come to realize for a fact, it’s hard to get a job at a place you really want to work at. Hard, but not necessarily impossible.  Many people will doubt their talents, creativity, or ambition many times when their majors are such competitive ones.  Majoring in something that in tangled in creativity is also very challenging. You may feel stumped at times, not having any “good ideas”, or maybe you feel as if you’re just not good enough. Many people I know (including myself) have felt this way. But it’s natural to feel this way if you are a competitive creative. However, what you do with the situation can make all the difference.

From what I’ve gathered from other people’s advice and from my own experience, here are some recommendations for art direction students:

  • Get as much interning as you can- it’s better to work at a reputable place, but find an agency that works for you, even if it’s not an ad agency.
  • Make an effort to know more than the creative side of the business- read up on technology, advertising/business, and even pop culture.
  • Feed your creative side also- there are plenty of sites for “inspirations”, or you can find different portfolio sites to roam around on. Different people feed on different types of inspiration, whether it be nature, reading, or (sometimes, in my case) baking and crafts.
  • Work on your creative side-  there are also plenty of sites and videos on the web that will teach you different techniques on Adobe Creative Suites (or other programs).  There are also many different competitions on and offline, for ads, videos, or anything you can get your hands on that is creative. Always good to get extra practice in if you have time.
  • Build a nice concise online portfolio- make sure it shows who you are and what you’re about (in a very interesting way, of course), but also make sure to get some critiques from professionals about it.
  • Networking- I didn’t understand how important networking was to my career until later in my college life. Sometimes, knowing the right people can push the dominoes into the right direction. Networking with people is an opportunity for them to know you. Think of yourself as a brand. The more people hear about you, the more reputation you’re building.

I’m sure there’s more things to put on to the list, but it seems like a good starting point for me.  Of course, life can be hectic and you may not be able to put in as much effort as you’d like to.  The important thing is to find what works best for you while figuring out what your passion is, no matter how long it takes.