How to become an in-demand professional

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    • 2nd December 2019

    Leeds' dynamic agency landscape means there are plenty of opportunities for creative professionals. Whether you're interested in graphic design jobs or digital marketing jobs, Leeds is a great place to begin your job search.

    Of course, this also means that the Leeds job market is highly competitive. Today, candidates need to do everything they can to stand out as an in-demand professional. That’s why we’ve created this new guide to helping you realise your full potential.

    Thinking of changing your existing job? Check out our article on the 5 signs that it’s time to change jobs to help you make an informed decision.

    General tips for in-demand creative professionals

    For marketing professionals, it can be helpful to think of yourself as a brand. Part of this means identifying what your brand actually is, and the journey you will take it on.

    Consider your online presence

    Most of us have some kind of public online presence nowadays; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn will be the key platforms in this discussion. Take a look at your online presence and ask yourself two questions; what does it say, and what do you want it to say?

    Consider if your social media posts demonstrate an awareness or understanding of your sector. But don’t feel like you need to scrub away your personality altogether! Make sure you make space for your own interests alongside the shoptalk. If you’re uncomfortable mixing business with pleasure, consider making a second account for personal use.


    Building up a network of business contacts is always a solid strategy. Not only does it give you the heads up about new career opportunities, but it’s a great way for you to expand your skills and learn about industry developments first-hand.

    Have a great attitude

    Understanding the nuts and bolts of your job is only one part of being an in-demand professional. Another is having the right attitude to your work—rising to challenging situations and unforeseen consequences.

    Social media isn’t just a business tool; it can be a source of real inspiration as well.

    If you’re not sure how strong your attitude is, consider finding a professional guru to inspire you. Business leaders like Sir Alan Sugar and Richard Branson may be a good starting point, but you might also want to find someone with first-hand experience of your sector. It’s situations like these where your network comes in handy.

    Mind your manners

    It’s like we always say—manners are worth a lot, but cost nothing! Be generous with your “please”s and “thank you”s, and consider the tone of your communication, whether this is over email, on the phone or in person. It’s easy to come across as terse or rude without realising it.

    How to be an in-demand graphic design professional

    Graphic design jobs present their own unique challenges. Read our tips to help grow your brand as an in-demand graphic design professional.

    Think about how you present yourself online

    If you’re working in graphic design, it’s reasonable to assume that you don’t box up your creativity when you clock out. As such, your own creative interests are likely to bleed into your professional channels.

    This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course, but you may want to think carefully about what people can see when they look at your various channels. It’s likely that people who like your work will go looking for more of it.

    Establish an online portfolio

    Many graphic design professionals think of a portfolio as a physical document. This is certainly a valid option, but more and more professionals are turning to online portfolios as well. These allow for easy access to your work, and help make you a much more appealing employment prospect.

    Want some help in creating a great online portfolio? Check out our 10 steps towards a quality creative portfolio for more information.

    Consider a professional Instagram account

    person photographing colourful wall
    Instagram can be a great career tool if you use it properly.

    Instagram has been a rising star in the last few years, and its image-led format makes it a great choice for graphic design professionals. It offers ample opportunities for creativity, and lets you easily show off your work in the best light.

    Don’t worry about becoming the next major influencer; just think about how much of your work is Instagram-friendly. If this kind of work is a bit thin, check out websites like One Minute Briefs for inspiration. You should also look for work in an industry you’re interested in, where possible.

    For more details on making the leap to a creative career, take a look at our guide to getting into creative roles.

    Networking tips for graphic designers

    While networking is important in all creative roles, a lot of graphic designers may feel it’s not relevant to their work. Remember that networking events aren’t just for finding jobs; they’re for gaining greater insight into your industry. If you want to get more out of your networking events, try following our tips:

    Communication skills

    Ask other attendees how they pitch ideas, and have a go at pitching a few of your own. Always remember that networking events are the perfect place to flex your communication skills. You should also take the opportunity to find out what the industry is interested in, or worried about.

    Finding the right event

    There’s plenty of networking events in Leeds to enjoy. The Yorkshire Mafia runs many different events where you can mingle with fellow professionals, and brush up on (or expand) your skills. Even if a marketing event has a more general focus, there’s still the chance to connect with people who want to grow a brand. This is a great learning opportunity for all concerned.

    group of men using laptops
    Finding the right networking event makes a world of difference!

    If you’d prefer a marketing event with a graphic design focus, there are a few to choose from. D&AD Festival lets you immerse yourself in the world’s best craft, creativity and culture from around the world, while Design Manchester offers a wide range of workshops, talks and conferences. You can learn more about graphic design networking events in our article onmarketing agency event and networking highlights.

    We know it’s not easy to attend every single event, but you can use your social channels (especially LinkedIn) to discuss relevant trends and topics during any events you can’t go to. If you’d like to learn more about local networking events, you can look at one of our past networking event roundups for inspiration.

    How to be an in-demand digital marketing professional

    When it comes to today’s digital marketing jobs, the UK’s Digital Marketing Institute sums it up rather nicely:

    “Digital marketing encompasses more roles and skills than ever before, and it’s this flexible, versatile nature of the business that makes it so fascinating and exciting.”

    Although (or maybe because) it’s such a broad area, digital marketing is a highly exciting field. The industry focuses on creating digital experiences across a host of channels, including social media, organic & paid search and lead generation.

    Since we’re talking about such a broad industry, the in-demand professional is one with a clear, refined skillset. While many agencies are after a jack-of-all-trades candidate, the best strategy is to focus on building up 2–3 core skills instead.

    To help you stand out from the crowd, we’ve put together a list of tips for improving your talents.

    How to present yourself online

    Like graphic design professionals, it pays to define both your personal and professional channels. However, these are likely to overlap to a greater or lesser degree. Don’t forget about LinkedIn; this is your calling card, so consider what keywords would be most relevant in it. Your personal statement also allows you to inject some personality into things as well.

    man buttoning up business suit
    Although it’s a professional environment, LinkedIn still offers some space to convey your personality.

    LinkedIn’s groups offer marketers an easy way to keep their finger on the pulse of their industry. It’s a trove of first-hand discussions from various creative agencies, and it’s an opportunity you should definitely take! You can use our list of LinkedIn groups for Leeds marketing agencies to cut through the noise and find what you need.

    While LinkedIn is primarily a business environment, it’s still worth trying to convey some of your personality. You can do this by sharing interesting campaigns, updates, best practices or content from people you admire. But don’t feel the need to do this all the time; quality invariably beats quantity.

    Networking tips for digital marketing professionals

    While your job activities will mostly take place online, your skills can also benefit people offline. Make sure you discuss best marketing practices with like-minded digital professionals, but don’t forget to discuss what you do with peers and non-digital professionals as well. By understanding their needs (and frequently asked questions) you’ll be able to address these more effectively.

    Above all, remember that learning is always an ongoing process. Consider each networking opportunity a chance to both learn and connect with fellow professionals.

    Digital marketing networking events

    Since Leeds is known for its digital focus, there are a few annual events to check out. While you should try to attend in person, you can also track and share online updates. SearchLeeds bills itself as the north’s largest search marketing event, and it’s perfect for both SEO and web pros. It’s perfect for both learning opportunities and the chance to connect with a host of northern agencies.

    people sat outside while using computer
    While there are digital events across the UK, Leeds is an excellent place to start your search.

    Another great event is the Leeds Digital Festival, which is open to any agency or business. It brings together expertise from across the city, and covers areas like startups, social, VR and even music. If you’d like to learn more about the events out there, you can read our guide to 2019 marketing agency event and networking highlights.

    Working as an in-demand professional is an ongoing process, that demands regular engagement with other professionals. However, we know you have the raw talent to make it work, especially with the right recruiter by your side.

    Gloss is proud to support many different marketing and creative professionals in the Leeds area. We have the knowledge to help you gain the skills that agencies are looking for, as well as understand wider trends in the graphic design and digital industries. We’ll give you plenty of tips on optimising your CV, portfolio and interview approach, and keep your career ambitions at the forefront of the job hunt. Getting you the right job—rather than any job—is Gloss’ top priority.

    Send us your CV today by visiting the Gloss contact page. We look forward to hearing from you!