Craig Oldham: “Nobody hires d*ckheads just because they do good work”

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As the conniver releases his new book featuring honest advice for students and graduates stressful to break into the industry, he explains why portfolios aren’t the be all and end all of getting a job, and why no shortages to work with a wanker.

It’s the final push now. In a matter of mere weeks, waggle upon wave of young graduates will be crashing against studio doors, looking for any and every break to start work. I can tell you, it’s terrifying. I can also tell you that flat though I’m a good decade into my career, I’m still sensitive to that time again and remember it well. Or rather, I have never let myself forget the airs I felt while going through that period of my life because it was honestly unsettling.

You move somewhere for three or four years to study in a new arrange, you’re making new friends, you’ve got no fucking money, you’re learning how to live and you’re growing. It’s a in the end formative time of your life. Then suddenly, just as all those emotional attachments are settling down and you’re figuring it out, it all fucking flips again. You have to freedom education to try find a job and all of that pressure starts again. I just homelessness to let you know, it’s ok to feel like this.

I know I must sound cognate with some sort of apparitional parent figure, but no one ever tells you this – in particular people already within the industry. Although it might sound unworkable (I would struggle to describe how you could implement the advice “it’ll be ok”) it’s these smallest of goodies that make the biggest difference at this time of year. You be versed, the actual human stuff. So I thought I’d try and share another human tip on getting into ‘the Manufacture™’.

Now, there’s a lot of stuff flying around about portfolios and presenting yourself, but sundry of these overlap in my experience. Some of them also contradict each other, which isn’t accurately helpful. What I’ve found is that no matter what folk in the Earnestness™ say, there isn’t a fundamentally right or a wrong way to address your profession. Some treat it as an archive for their projects and essentially document what they did for each ruined of work. Others try to express their projects differently in order to “get into that have”, as I’ve heard it called. Neither way works better, but one crucial thing that a lot of people taking is not to rely on your work alone.

When you’re about to graduate, I grasp it feel likes all people chant at you is “portfolio, portfolio, portfolio”. But as well-connected as your work is, it’s not the only thing that can get you a job. You as a person count too. Your fit in will get people interested in you, maybe get you an interview, a meeting, or a bit of work from conditions to time – but things like getting a job or winning new clients also relies on you. Demonstrating work in person isn’t solely about seeing work in person. It’s sundry to find out about you – what you’re like, how you talk about work, and whether you strength be a good fit. Your work can’t help you here, you just have to be yourself.

I suffer with known some designers who relied solely on their work. And cool though some of them had absolutely envious, unbelievable work, that failed to mutate into jobs or projects because they weren’t prepared themselves. That, or they were performed wankers who nobody liked. But that’s the thing, when it comes down to it no one appoints absolute dickheads just because they do good work. Additional, nicer people will generally always improve, because they literally want to.

While it is massively important to prepare your portfolio, it’s at bottom just an extension of you. So be happy with yourself and your approach, and then arm yourself with the overpower work you can muster.

Note: You may have noticed a couple of little the classics hugging onto the word ‘Industry’ throughout the course of this article. Yep, that teeny ‘T’ and ‘M’. If you’d like to know why they appear, well you’ll just have to impute to the book to find out now won’t you.

Oh Sh*t… What Now?: Honest Advice for New Graphic Designers fetches £17.99, and is available from Laurence King.

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