If you are due to graduate with an Arts degree this year, the chances are you are passionate about your subject and want to find a way to make a career out of it. However, for Arts graduates, finding the perfect job is not as straightforward as with some other subjects. It can be overwhelming to consider all the career paths associated with arts degrees. Unless you have a very specific idea about the route you want to take, it can be difficult to see how your skill set transfers into the real world. If you don’t quite know how to begin making your dream career take shape, read on. There are a few things you can do to make your job search a little easier.

I completed the Art and Design Foundation course at Manchester Met before going on to study for an English and History BA. Moving from a creative arts course to an academic degree was an unconventional transition that left me wondering where my interests and core skills lay. Arts students naturally have varied interests. If you studied Graphic Design, that doesn’t mean you aren’t also a keen creative writer or budding art historian. Whilst you might not see yourself in a specific job role, you know that you want to exercise all your talents. After graduating I became a full-time job hunter, and through trial and error came to understand the kind of work that interested me and how to sell myself to prospective employers. There are three key things I thought about that helped me hone in on my skill set and find the kind of career that suited my interests.

Define your skill set

Okay, it might sound obvious (and a little stressful) but this is important. Knowing your key skills will give you a strong idea of where your biggest interests lie. I soon realised that one of my main skills was communication. As a Literature student, I had spent three years writing persuasive essays that communicated my ideas. And as an art student, I enjoyed telling stories through illustrations. Realising this made my job search a lot easier. I knew what I was good at and what interested me, so started to look at things like content writing. I now work as a visualisation consultant for a niche presentation agency, BrightCarbon where I help to communicate clients’ messages using visuals. I was only able to achieve this by defining my skills and interests.

Apply your skills to your job search

So you know that your greatest skills are X,Y and Z. Now you need to articulate why these skills make you right for a particular job. My perspective employer, BrightCarbon, wanted to know whether I was a visual thinker, and if I could communicate a message using images and icons. So instead of telling them why I wanted to work for them, I showed how my skills matched the things they were looking for. When submitting any job application, it is important to show how you tick all the boxes. The best way to do this is to give examples. Don’t just say ‘I’m a strong communicator’, add details that explain why. Think about how you have demonstrated this through your experience in education or work history. Prove that you have the knowledge they are looking for.

Find a job that’s right for you

As I’ve said, not everybody knows what they want to do after graduating. I knew I wanted to do something creative that allowed me to use my writing skills, but I also enjoyed using visuals. This was a vague and broad starting point, and I used the job hunting process to filter out what wasn’t right for me. By narrowing down your top 2-3 skills and thinking about how they relate to your interests, you will start to dismiss jobs that won’t satisfy you, and come one step closer to finding something that aligns more closely with the kind of creative that you are.

by Natty Moore

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Natty is a graduate from Manchester Met with an Art and Design Foundation degree. She has a BA in English and History and is currently a Communication Consultant at BrightCarbon.

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