Why are soft skills so important?

Sometimes I lament when I hear about graduates and the career trajectory they think they can launch themselves into immediately.

I am absolutely that person that says you should aim high, BUT aim realistically too, and to quote every grandmother on the planet—good things come to those who wait!

Sometimes, to get from A to B, you do need to go via C, D and E, all to get back to B.

And you know what, it’s okay. It doesn’t have to take an age either.

Often your first few jobs are not your dream role, but what they are in fact are building blocks to help you grow, mature and to make you a more rounded, creative individual.

Soft skills. Learning how to answer phones, work on finished art, be a PA or on reception in a progressive organisation. Doing office admin or working in recruitment, it all plays a part in who you become in your chosen field down the track.

Myself, after studying photography, I was an assistant and worked in TV and theatre. I traveled the world, I was a ‘door bitch’ in a night club in London, I worked for a poet making bookings at literary festivals in the UK, I taught photography, I worked in recruiting and I worked on new business in design studios.

All of this made me who I am today. Each job, no matter how quirky and not related to the creative world, gave me certain skills that have stood me in good stead throughout my career journey (which I might add is still a massive learning curve for me.)

‘Door bitching’ gave me a great insight in to human nature. New business calls enhanced my network and very quickly made me realise what it takes to get past a receptionist! Television and theatre made me understand procedures and being organized. Teaching made me a more understanding person and the network I created over all those years gave me the courage to start my own business.

Soft skills are essential in any creative role. Now more than ever we are working with smaller agencies and design studios where people need to multi-task and be able and happy to wear many hats.

I am constantly surprised when consulting with individuals on how many soft skills they do have, yet have neglected to mention them in a CV.

Please don’t forgot all of those lessons you have learnt and continue to learn along the way, and certainly don’t under estimate them.

10 Points How to Interview

I spend a lot of time with creatives on understanding how to best present themselves and their work in an interview.

I recently did a talk to a group of students and was asked to put forward 10 bullet points on how to go about the interview process.

I thought I would share them with you. They are in no specific order, but all equally important.

• Interview the interviewer (It’s important you understand the role and ask questions too).

• Be confident not cocky.

• Have a plan when you meet them on how you want to show your work.

• Gauge the meeting to see if they are chatty, quiet, formal, informal and follow accordingly.

• Never forget it’s an interview.

• Research the company first.

• Communication - BE YOU!

• Don’t bore them, find something in common with them while chatting eg: a project they’ve done, footy team, picture of a pet on their desk.

• Be relevant.

• Be individual.

What’s happening in the creative landscape — April 2017

In 2017, I’m working with so many different organisations on so many different levels, no longer is there just the traditional role of 9-5, 5 days a week. We are now also looking at contract roles, shared roles, roles where employees are able to work off-site and roles where the title is forever changing.

Traditionally, graphic designers were graphic designers, writers were writers and production managers were production managers, we loved to title and understood it’s meaning.

Today, more and more roles are being cross-pollinated, and we are now looking at production managers with finished art skills and graphic designers with traffic management skills. We are even now being asked to define the creative skill sets between digital and print.

We mustn’t be limited when we are looking for roles or where we are looking to set up business. There are positions in the CBD as well as enormous amounts of opportunities in the suburbs. Many companies now are taking their creative in-house and filling their teams with powerful, creative minds.

The advent of social media and the digital age is seeing roles changing almost before our eyes, which is both exciting and daunting for many. It’s important to surround yourself with people that have the knowledge and understanding of this new age to guide you appropriately.

I spend a lot of time surrounding myself with the right people. People I’ve known for many years and new people that come into my stratosphere. I learn something from each and every one of them, some things I want to hear and some things I want to stick my fingers in my ears and run away from.

The communication industry that we are in is a constant learning curve, what we do today will impact what we do tomorrow more so than it ever has before.

We need to be confident, well researched, well presented and challenged in the roles we are looking for and in the teams, we are pulling together within our businesses.