The Quest for the First Job
When you’re a fresh graduate just entering the workforce, acquiring that first job can be daunting, and often appears insurmountable. Most places want you to have experience before you even start, hence the bottleneck most entry-level artists face when trying to break into the industry. On the one hand, you could’ve been a diligent student with a note-worthy internship, good timing, and a couple of good leads; on the other, you could’ve been like me – a student with every good intention to set herself up on the best path to getting a job, but with the wrong connections, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. So how do you overcome those odds?
I went to the Savannah College of Art and Design to prepare for a career in animation, and graduated in 2012 when the job market was at its worst. At SCAD, they do a very good job of conditioning their students to hit up the “big-studio” scene in LA, which is great, but it just wasn’t my desired career path. I knew early on that I wanted to stay closer to my roots and head back to the midwest to work in a smaller shop. Coupled with the fact that nearly all of my connections left for LA upon graduation, Savannah has no industry to speak of, so there was no “getting my foot in the door” during college without traveling.
It seemed as though I was starting from scratch. Despite my education and demo reel, I had to spread my name on a massive level to even get noticed because I had no “in” anywhere. The summer after my graduation consisted of a disciplined 4-6 hour session applying to at least ten companies each day of the week. This went on for four months, and in that time period I received a lot of “No”, “No thank you, here is why…” and no responses what-so-ever. Consistent rejection can be very discouraging for some, but I was determined to get that “Yes” no matter what. On month four, I had sent over 84 applications and finally received three “Yes. Come in for an interview,” responses, and the rest is history.
It took patience, diligence, and adaptability on my part to break into the industry. The moral of the story is, when the going gets tough, don’t run for the hills. Dig in, listen to what you are being told (by the many wonderful creative professionals out there that have been doing this a lot longer than you have,) and don’t give up, because somebody, somewhere, will say, “Yes!”
Hopefully your first job hunt went a little more smoothly than mine. What was your experience like?
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