Design video games for your friends. Construct art installations around town. Show your handmade jewelry at a local studio. This is enough visibility for many artists, who are happy to compose pieces for free or depend on income from full-time jobs.
Of course, there are countless ways for independent artists to increase their earnings. They can capitalize on advertising and social media campaigns. Raise their prices. Or find ways to expand, sell or license their work to new customers and untapped markets.
There are also tons of opportunities for people to apply their artistic talents in business-minded fields. Every industry that develops new products (technology, fashion, toys, health care and others), engages audiences (publishing, media, marketing, advertising), or creates attractive spaces (architecture, landscaping, interior design, retail merchandising) has a need for original thinkers.
If you are interested in making a steady income and building a successful career with room for growth, employers have to recognize the benefits that you will bring to the company. Not just the financial value of your artwork. But also the numerous ways that you will contribute to a positive and productive workplace.
Serious job hunters should know what employers want and don’t want in a creative employee. Here’s a breakdown:
What employers want
When hiring managers seek out candidates for art-inspired roles, they look for people with a rare combination of attributes. They search for artistic sensibility. Imagination. Innovative ideas. Proven skills in illustration, graphic design, painting, basic construction or relevant software applications (depending on the industry). Be aware that creativity by itself is not usually enough to land a lucrative position.
Employers always keep an eye on the bottom line. This means that all candidates, especially creative types, need to demonstrate the capacity to make money, boost efficiency to cut costs for the company. Be sure to highlight this aspect of your experience in your personal marketing materials.
Here is some sample text for the first line of your resume or online profile: “Technically proficient web designer with 5 years of experience creating striking, user-friendly sites that drive traffic, generate leads and improve conversion rates for online retailers.”
What they don’t want
No employer wants to hire a distracted person who would rather be someplace else. And they aren’t interested in people who don’t work well in team-oriented environments.
I hate to say it, but many artists have a reputation for resisting structure and authority. Fortunately, if you are a dependable employee who thrives in collaborative settings, you can use this typecast to your advantage. In your marketing materials, emphasize that you are not just a talented artist, but also a hard-working and dedicated individual who doesn’t fit in with the stereotype.
Try something like this: “Accomplished interior designer with the capacity to use light, color and custom furnishings to create residential spaces that appeal to discerning clientele. Expertise coordinating with clients as well as architects, vendors and contractors to complete projects on budget and on time.”
Here’s another example: “Recent creative writing graduate with the ability to develop written content that captures attention, influences audiences and helps boost sales.” Here is one more statement that might make an employer feel good about hiring you: “Never missed a deadline in 10 years.” If it’s true, say so.
Eve Nicholas: Eve.GetaJob@gmail.com.