Tracey talks with Anna!
At Beyond The Book we aim to support the industry as much as we can and help it to thrive. One of the ways we do that is to use our knowledge of careers in the creative industry, to support Juniors who are looking to start their career.
Tracey Parker, our Senior Creative Consultant here at Beyond The Book, takes her experience to Walsall College and Leamington College once a year, to talk to the undergraduate students and offer valuable insight and advice. She was invited by David Bamber, a previous Creative candidate who has become a lecturer. I asked Tracey a few questions, to bring to life the sessions and see what’s next on the agenda to support Juniors entering the industry.
Q: Tracey, broadly, what was the purpose of the sessions?
A: Each was an interactive session intended to provide Graphic Design and Photography students with some insight into the creative industry, including advice & tips on CV/portfolio, applying for jobs, LinkedIn best practice, and suggested access to groups & events.
Q: That’s great. Firstly, I wanted to say on behalf of BTB, undergraduates and college leaders, thank you so much for giving up your time for the good of all! I know first-hand how passionate you are about Juniors entering the industry. Where does that passion come from?
A: It’s all about sharing what I know. I have lots of experience working first-hand in creative and marketing agencies and alongside Creatives & Designers of all levels and disciplines. And, furthermore, my experience has developed significantly since joining BTB in 2015. As a recruiter, our scope spans the entire creative industry, therefore the knowledge I can share with students is invaluable. It’s a joy to help aspiring Graphic Designers on the way to their first job and watch their passion go to the next level.
Q: What do you think the challenges are for Juniors broadly, and in the current market?
A: It’s always been a challenge to stand out in a candidate heavy marketplace, and students find it hard to know what is expected of them, and what strategies they can utilise to identify their best fit in the industry... and stand out.
Also, the industry has not always provided a good amount of entry-level jobs across the creative & design disciplines - Art Direction, Graphic Design, UX, Motion Graphics, 3D - and, therefore, it can be a tough market to break into.
The pandemic has created some concerns around the onboarding of Juniors remotely, but we are all hoping for a steep rise in recruitment activity and believe that these issues will be short-lived.
Q: How did the chance to talk at the colleges come about, and why did they believe your support would be valuable?
A: David Bamber is a great friend and advocate of Beyond The Book and he thought of us when planning the idea of a workshop to engage his students. I jumped at the chance! I had been wanting an opportunity to help students for ages, particularly as I was now spending time with Graduates who were coming to BTB and looking for their first role.
Q: What format did the sessions take, and what was the take up?
A: To engage the students, it was important to take an informal approach. I presented a few slides, with the floor always open for questions along the way. In 2019 and 2020 we ran the workshops in a physical space at the colleges and with the pandemic, the last session in 2021 was virtual.
I also encourage the students to connect with me and Beyond The Book on LinkedIn and to get in touch with us for further help with their CVs/portfolios, as well as making sure to register for new roles upon graduation. We would absolutely love to help Juniors through their entire career.
Q: Were there common questions/themes the students wanted advice about?
A: The main focus for all of them was guidance on what to put on their CV and how to present their work. Outside of that, we talked through where to find live opportunities, and how to best apply for roles, as well as what they could do proactively to approach prospective employers.
I also made sure to give them an overview of the structure of the industry, the various roles within it and how they can identify where they might fit.
Q: For any students that were not able to attend, will you be doing any more, or do you plan on helping students in the future in other ways? Can they access any content from you?
A: We would love to do more, so if any colleges or universities out there want my help, I’d love to chat about that. We are also adding more and more advice & insight pieces to our website, so any student should have a look there on an ongoing basis.
One of the other things we are planning to do is a regular webinar, run in much the same way as my sessions at the colleges. We will be publishing dates and details in the near future, and I would encourage as many students as possible to attend and spread the word. I know they would get a lot of value from it... and of course, it’s free!
Thanks, Tracey. Great stuff!