Job Market for Creative Professionals

Job Market for Creative Professionals

Job Market for Creative Professionals

Donna Farrugia, executive director of The Creative Group, shares important tips how to get hired.

The Creativity Post: How many “creative professionals” remain unemployed? What is the general trend?

Donna Farrugia: First-quarter 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the unemployment rate for many creative positions is below the national average of 8.2 percent. These include: advertising and promotions managers, editors, market research analysts and marketing specialists, public relations specialists, marketing and sales managers, web developers, designers, and writers and authors. And, according to the most recent The Creative Group Hiring Index, the employment outlook for creative professionals is expected to remain strong throughout the second quarter of 2012. We see continued demand for creative professionals with extensive digital skills, which suggests that finding candidates with this skill set remains a challenge. In fact, about four in 10 (41 percent) executives surveyed for our Hiring Index said it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals today.

The Creativity Post: Why should creative professionals be concerned about the appearance of their resume?

Donna Farrugia: When evaluating candidates for design and marketing positions, employers want to get a sense of not only someone’s skills but also his or her attention to detail and level of creativity. The resume often is the first document a hiring manager sees, so it’s important it makes a strong first impression. 

A resume remains a key job-search tool, and creative professionals should spend as much time developing it as their portfolio. That said, while a resume must look nice, it also must be easy to read, so professionals should avoid including too many design elements.

The Creativity Post: How can one improve his or her resume?

Donna Farrugia: Following are some tips for building an impactful resume:

  • Keep it simple – Refrain from using complicated language, graphics, and distracting fonts and colors that can make the resume difficult to read. Use bulleted statements as appropriate.

  • Emphasize results – Quantify past accomplishments and make sure these details are front and center; this allows employers to clearly recognize how you can impact the company’s bottom line.

  • Use the right terms –Since many resumes are first scanned by computer programs, help your resume rise to the top by incorporating key words from the job ad (as long as the terms accurately describe your skills and experience).

  • Take it for a test run – Ask a friend or family member to review your resume and summarize its key points for you. Make sure the most valuable information is being conveyed to readers. Also enlist the help of someone to proofread and check for typos.

The Creativity Post: Do you have any tips on how to shine during the interview? What are the most common mistakes?

Donna Farrugia: Nearly one-third (32 percent) of executives polled by The Creative Group’s parent company, Robert Half, said job candidates make more mistakes during the job interview than any other part of the job-hunting process. Common mistakes include:

  • Not knowing enough about the employer or position

  • Having a bad attitude or appearing arrogant

  • Not providing enough detail or specific examples to questions

  • Asking about compensation prematurely

  • Lacking confidence

  • Running late

  • Not asking questions

Preparation is key when it comes to impressing hiring managers. Here are some tips:

Do your research – Applicants who uncover beyond-the-basics knowledge of the job and company are better able to communicate specific ways they can contribute to the organization’s success. Start by visiting the firm’s website and social media pages, search online for news articles, and ask people in your network if they have any insight about the company.

Have a good story to tell – Be prepared to provide memorable anecdotes about how you have helped solve business problems. Describe the challenge, talk about your actions and outline the final results.

Come with interesting questions – This isn’t the time to ask about salary or vacation. Instead, ask the hiring manager to describe an aspect of the job that might surprise you or what the team’s process is for collaborating on projects. Doing so reinforces your interest in the position and company while providing you with useful information that can help you determine if the job is a good fit.

Be aware of body language – Subtle cues, such as eye contact, facial expressions and posture, will affect how hiring managers perceive you. While practicing a mock interview, ask a friend for feedback on any distracting habits.

Be yourself – An employer wants to get to know a real person – one he or she would be happy to see every morning at the office. Avoid rehearsed responses and interact in a way that’s honest and genuine.

The Creativity Post: What are the most desirable sectors for creative professionals these days?

Donna Farrugia: Research from our 2012 Salary Guide revealed a handful of industries or areas expected to see continued demand for creative professionals. These include, in no particular order, healthcare, mobile, gaming, education, technology, financial services and manufacturing. We also are seeing a lot of hiring action among agencies.


Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group and manages operations for the firm's locations in major markets throughout the United States and Canada. Ms. Farrugia has more than 25 years of marketing, business development and management experience. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, with a minor emphasis in systems analysis, operations research, accounting and psychology.


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