Thursday, February 19, 2009

10 Biggest Pitfalls Creatives Face When Interviewing for Their First Job...and How to Resolve Them

By Alyssa Choiniere

So, you landed the interview for the perfect job. Congratulations! What's next? Polish up your resume and your new shoes, read over this list, and you're off to take over the creative world.
  1. Pitfall: I've never held a creative job.

    Resolution: Focus on the assets you do have, not your prior employment. If you won an award, made a CD, toured with your band, won a contest, or anything identifying your merit as an artist, you will gain notoriety with your employers.

  1. Pitfall: I don't know how to dress professionally.

    Resolution: You can look dapper without burying your personality in pocket squares. Pick up a suit, but add some details that showcase your creativity, like a funky tie, a quirky necklace, or an eye-catching color. Go for the “polished but precocious” look if you feel like a mannequin wearing a suit.

  1. Pitfall: I don't know how to play a professional role.

    Resolution: Be impressive in the interview, but be yourself, too. Focus on articulating your ideas honestly, and being respectful, but don't be afraid to let your true creative nature shine through.

  1. Pitfall: I'm worried they might think I'm too eccentric.

    Resolution: There's nothing wrong with adding a little flavor to the workplace. And creatives are allowed to be a little odd sometimes. Look at Quentin Tarantino, and Tom Cruise! They made it far, even from left field.

  1. Pitfall: How can I prove myself at the interview?

    Resolution: Focus on the positives. If you were just fired from McDonald's, don't worry about it. What did you do in your time out of employment? Create a new clothing line? Dabble with impressionism? Place the focal point of the interviewer on the aspects of the job that relate directly to the position.

  1. Pitfall: I don't have any professional work experience.

    Resolution: Don't be discouraged by a blank “employment” section on your resume. Find things to fill the other sections, such as volunteer work, awards, achievements, education, extracurriculars, etc.

  1. Pitfall: My prior experience has been unpaid.

    Resolution: Good! A perfect filler for your volunteer section. This is not negative. It shows that you are passionate about your work, and that you value your abilities and are now moving up in the world.

  1. Pitfall: I'm just really nervous.

    Resolution: First times are often nerve wracking. But, just believe in your own success, and fake some confidence, if you have to. They will know you are worth their time if you show them, by displaying some charisma and sincerity.

  1. Pitfall: I don't know how to answer all those questions.

    Resolution: The classic and most daunting interview question: “Tell me a little bit about yourself,” is really not a trick question. This is your platform, they gave you the stage. Say every single good thing you can possibly think of for yourself, and back it up with fact. Make a list before the interview.

  1. Pitfall: I don't have a degree.

    Resolution: So, in the four years that they spent in school, you were out expressing your creativity, right? You have a head start. If they are willing to interview you without a degree, then it should not be a concern.