From the day you graduate you have to have a plan for your career. Seems daunting if all you are looking for right now is a job. But if you don't have some kind of plan, it is easy to get off track.
We all know someone that may have graduated with a degree in a specific field, only to wind up doing something completely different. It is easy to be swept up in accepting the first job offer. But where will it lead?
If you are walking out the doors of a fine institution in a cap and gown expecting to be an art director, you will be very unpleasantly surprised. Regardless of how talented you are, you will have to pay your dues like everyone else. If you are in a current job and have aspirations to run the show or start your own firm, you need to have a strategy as well.
If your desire is to be a creative genius, accept that first job only if there is some creative aspect to it. Even if it is miserable, you need some experience. Stay about a year, then think about your next move. Take all the creative tasks you did on that job and put them on your resume to get the next job and the next one and the next one.
You have to be smart in picking positions. Ask yourself, is this opportunity a building block to where I want to go? Will there be recognizable company names on my resume? Am I showing continuing progress in my creative profession? Production role, assistant designer role, designer role, senior designer role -- they all build toward your end goal.
Lastly, don't hesitate to find a mentor and ask what steps they took to get where they are. You'll be surprised. Typically it involves a string of bad jobs and then the door opens and everything changes. Envision where you want to be and mark it with a flag. Then plan the road trip to get there.
This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.
©2010 Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, LLC.
Catherine Lang-Cline is co-founder and owner of Portfolio Creative, a workforce innovation firm that was named one of the 5,000 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. by Inc. magazine in 2010. Portfolio Creative helps companies streamline and innovate their creative work to save time, energy and money. www.portfolioiscreative.com.