A brief guide on looking for work...
without having worked

Damien Stuart Wood
Art Heroes Contributor + Self-Proclaimed
Wannabe Art Guy at the end of his rope
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Looking for work when you have zero paid industry experience to point to + say, "Hey, look what I can do!" is a special kind of sh!tty, to be sure.

Maybe you've done some training. Maybe you've made some cool things. But whether you're young and trying to break into your first career, or older and trying to pivot into a new one, it can be a challenge to find folks willing to take you especially seriously at the start.

If someone's got approval to hire, odds are they need someone yesterday if not a week ago, and it's the candidate who can be dropped into the gig with minimal babysitting who will be the most attractive to them.
how to pose a character in zbrush

That could be you, sure. But they don't know that, because they don't know you.

So, they want to see someone else has lined your pockets and didn't come to regret it.

They want to see a product you were paid to work on and went on to be paid for by an audience.

They want to be somewhat certain you're worth the paperwork and potential emotional damage.

So, here's what you do:

Apply to jobs anyway

If you don't have a job, applying to jobs is your job. You get up-- every damned day-- and you spend the next eight hours looking for work or doing things that will help you land work.

Scour industry job boards, company websites, LinkedIn, etc.

Apply to long-term gigs, short-term gigs, one-off gigs, etc.

You're going to get rejected a lot, and that's no fun, but you didn't choose art as your industry because you have a thin skin, right? You're throwing out lines in the hopes of happening upon and hooking the few folks who will take a chance on you despite that extra white space on your CV.

talk to people

Interact with professional folk as if you belong around said professional folk. If someone is doing the things you want to be doing, chat them up.

Email's good. Or LinkedIn, which these days is basically just Facebook For People With Jobs And People Who Would Appreciate A Job Were One Offered. There's nothing wrong with reaching out.

Be polite. Don't be pushy. Make it known you're looking to work. Tell them you dig their stuff, and see if they're maybe able to have a look at yours. Some might say no.

Some will say yes.

create new things often

If your portfolio has gone a month or more without any updates, it's gone too long. If this was going to be the collection of your work that landed you gainful employment, it probably would've by now.

Also consider whether you really want the same thing landing on the same person's desk every time they're hiring. It's not a great look.

So, use your free time and all that feedback you're getting from all those people you're chatting with to create new portfolio fodder. Cycle new projects into your portfolio on a regular basis, and when you get enough material, consider putting together multiple, more gig-specific portfolios.

keep an open mind

You might have to be the person who gets coffee for the people who make cool things before you can be one of the people who make cool things. That's fine. You'll have gotten yourself in the room, and that's not nothing.

That's a room full of those professional folk we talked about earlier, and these ones you get to interact with every day.

Do the job, and make sure they know who you are and what you ultimately want.

Nobody starts at the top. It's OK to-- and probably somewhat anticipated that you will-- acknowledge and act like you have some aspiration of getting there.

Be good,


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