Prove your humanity

Most students are on the look-out for internship opportunities throughout their time at university (hint: if you aren’t, you should be). But for Creative Arts students, there’s an extra hurdle. No one finishes their degree and immediately applies for a job as the Director of the new Mad Max film. If you are applying for those jobs the year after graduating, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I don’t think you’ll have much luck. It’s harder for Creative Arts students to land a job after completing their studies, whether you are a Fashion, Photography, Media Studies or Fine Arts student, due to tough competition and the way the creative industry functions

There is no clear path for Creative Arts graduates and careers in this field often lead to self-employment, unless you have a strong network of connections at your fingertips. Everyone jokes about Arts students never finding a job, and for good reason. Graduates in this pool must engage in networking, mentoring, internships, and short-term contract work to build their industry profile, and there are scant opportunities advertised on Seek. 

The results are in

The Graduate Outcome Surveys Australia for 2020 indicated that due to the effects of COVID-19, “the full-time undergraduate employment rate fell from 72.2% to 68.7%” from 2019 to 2020 across all areas of study. And, of this decline, the Creative Arts had the lowest rate of full-time undergraduate employment, dropping from 52.9% in 2019 to 45.8% in 2020. Needless to say, the Creative Arts are one of the most difficult job industries to crack into as a graduate in Australia. 

So, is it all doom and gloom for the Creative Arts? Shall we take the 17% hike in the cost of these undergraduate degrees this year on the chin and study Engineering instead? Grok’s Maria Cristina de Vicente caught up with ArtBound Initiative, an agency that’s here to support students and recent graduates in the Creative Arts to find internships, access career coaching, and feel well-equipped to enter the workforce. If you’re anything like me and you just don’t have that mathematics-wired brain, this expert team can help you navigate professional internships in the Creative Arts and help you to establish a network within the industry. 

About ArtBound Initiative

ArtBound Initiative was founded by Laura Bennegadi and Nicole Cohen in 2016. Based in New York City, they have accumulated  vast entwork of connections with leading creative industries in Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, Berlin, and (of course) New York. Their aim is to connect students to creative internships around the world and to nurture creative professionals through industry-specific knowledge.

When asked about her recommendations to recent graduates, Laura Bennegadi––CEO and co-founder of ArtBound––shared some great insights for students to contemplate.

“Students should try to build a game plan for opportunities they are looking for and then identify how they plan to reach out to these employers. In this field of work, it’s not easy to get your foot in the door initially, so it’s easier to get a job through your social networking skills.”

Laura has a strong presence, she is confident and passionate about her role in facilitating students’ future career opportunities. She urges students to connect. Connect with others in your class, connect with professors and ask for advice. 

“Ask alumni about their networks, use friends and family and check if they know anybody in the industry, organise a casual meeting with people in the industry and apply for opportunities online. Just know that only applying online will only get you so far. 60% of companies only recruit through connections within the business, and this is what students should be focusing on.”

Build your personal brand

If students are anxious about how to build their confidence and create those crucial connections, Laura’s advice is to ask questions and be curious. 

“You don’t need to be professionally established to approach someone and ask, ‘How did you get there? What are your recommendations? What can I be working on?’”

She also emphasises the importance of digital platforms in elevating employability. In Laura’s opinion, it is crucial as a Creative Arts student to build your personal brand with tools such as Vimeo, ArtStation, Behance, and Dribble, depending on your area of study.

“Nicole and I launched the program together in the creative industries because these fields are very grey. There was a gap that we wanted to fill. We want to help students and recent graduates find internships and, if you get selected into our program, we do a lot of career coaching to refine your skills to ensure that we set you apart from the crowd.”

Recently expanding their network to Australia in Melbourne and Sydney, ArtBound has internships available for students who have studied in Arts, Design, Advertising, Fashion, Film, TV, Media, Architecture, Interior Design, Product Design, Communications, and Marketing. 

Adapt and upskill

Amongst the uncertainties that COVID-19 has created, Laura wants to ignite the conversation amongst students and recent graduates that help is there for those who seek it out. Professionals like herself and the team at ArtBound are providing their industry expertise and practical knowledge within the Creative Arts to share with students and create a cohort of job-ready professionals.

“Even if the future seems uncertain, keep applying yourself, keep connecting, and try to find support systems and programs like this one to help you. There is solidarity amongst us right now because we know you are up against a truly difficult job market and an unprecedented world crisis. Don’t forget that people are generous with their time and knowledge––we want to help and offer our support.”

ArtBound offers scholarships for their internship programs, which you can apply for at their website.