Building a creative career as a student seems very daunting. You are still in the process of learning the technical aspects of your degree, whether you are an artist, designer or performer. You might not feel confident yet, but you know that once you leave school, you’ll need to think like an entrepreneur.
- Start working on your personal narrative as a creative. Who are you? What do you create? What is special, different and unique about your work? When people ask what you are studying, or what you plan to do after graduation, what do you say? These are simple questions that feel complex, but as you start to flesh out who you are as a creative, you will be in a position to stand out from the crowd.
- Build a web presence. Yes, you can build a website and social media profiles while you are still a student. Use these tools to get the word out about your work, projects you are doing, work you are making and how people can contact you.
- Look into opportunities for students or recent graduates. For example, Call for Entry, a website that hosts a database of opportunities for artists, often features calls for artists who are getting their degrees or are recent graduates. Seek out this and other resources for opportunities while you are a student.
- Be proactive. If your college or university does not offer students the opportunity to exhibit or display work, start one. You could host an art fair, open studio tour, online exhibition or find a space in town to curate and display your work. Join together with your fellow students to make it fun and break up the workload.
- Build your portfolio. To get some projects in your portfolio, offer your design services to friends and family who are in need of a great designer! You can also offer your services to a non-profit that you want to support.
- Look into scholarships, sponsorships and paid internships. Many companies and organizations want to support students. If there is a company you dream of working for, look into their internship programs. Residency programs, where you are given time and space to make art, also often offer a student scholarships.
- Network, network, network. Who do you want to know (or need to know) in your industry and how can you get an introduction? Find out and reach out. Don’t be shy!
These are just a few suggestions, but should give you a start. Being proactive and creating opportunities for yourself now will position you to begin your creative career with the advantage of experience and what we at artboss like to call “resume builders.” You may be a student, but you can start thinking like a creative entrepreneur now.