When we think of what it takes to be successful in a creative career, we usually think of the more common skills, such as an artistic, detailed eye. While you do need talent to succeed, the ability to successfully network can be what gives you a stronger edge in competitive industries.
What is networking?
Networking is all about making connections. It involves setting up social channels to connect with people in the same, or similar, industries. The purpose is to share information, widening your degree of knowledge to keep you, and your skills, at the forefront of your industry. Networking is a powerful tool used to help find jobs and companies to do future business with. It’s found in every type of field, from banking, to restaurants, to medicine, to music, art, and design. In short, it’s a personalized approach to marketing your work.
Why is networking important in creative careers?
A lot of creative industries focus on relationships. While these relationships can be built around sharing information, helpful tips, and techniques, networking plays an important role in building up your own portfolio and contacts. Many industries have a great deal of overlap, allowing networking to take place more easily, but it can sometimes be more difficult with creative jobs. Very often, it’s a case of not what you know but who you know, and it is networking that makes that happen.
By networking, you are making yourself more noticeable. It can draw attention to your work, opening the door for collaboration or new projects. Someone may not have immediate need of your skills, but if a good impression is made and contact is maintained, you may be the person they turn to when they need you and your work.
How can I network with other creative professionals?
Networking, especially for creative industries, has become much easier in recent years. Social media is a great platform to display your content or work, as well as find others with whom you have a similar experience. It opens you to new followers both within your industry and outside of it. It can also expand your horizons, helping to expose you to those outside of your geographic area. Instagram is a strong platform for showing off what you do. For example, if you’re an interior designer or event planner, you can share photos from past work to highlight some of your specialties and use relevant hashtags that make you easily searchable. It’s also a simple way to go about the process. One click to follow or like someone’s post can easily get the networking ball rolling.
Social media isn’t the only way to network, though. Specific networking events, such as lunches, conferences, and summits are the most traditional way to engage in networking. While they’ve usually been in-person events, more organizations are offering online and virtual events as well. You don’t have to limit yourself to your specific industry, either. Many businesses utilize creative industries. Some examples include graphic designers helping companies create websites and presentation materials like brochures and even business cards, interior designers creating innovative office spaces, and event planners organizing corporate events like conferences and holiday parties. So don’t be afraid to step out of your industry and comfort zone to connect with the right people to help you advance your career.
If you’re looking to just start your creative career, consider getting started by enrolling in a course with NYIAD You’ll improve your skills and take the first steps towards networking by making connections with course instructors, mentors, and your peers. Follow them on social media, share your work, and don’t be afraid to ask for helpful advice. The more noticeable you are, the more likely they are to remember you. This can lead to them recommending you to others for work and wanting to work with you, too.
Connect with your future with NYIAD
Start building your skills and your first connection by enrolling online with NYIAD today. Or call a Student Services Representative at 1-800-583-1736 to learn more about self-paced, online programs and affordable tuition.