How to get into creative roles

  • Drop files here or
      I have read and give consent for the use of my data in relation to recruitment services as set out within the privacy policy (
      Yes, I would like to be added to your database for information about this role, new opportunities and careers industry news (you can unsubscribe at any time).
    • 10th December 2018

    The creative industry is highly sought after - especially in Leeds, as the city is a hub not only for digital jobs but also for creative agencies.

    Creative Recruitment in Leeds is therefore a hot topic. As a graduate or a career changer getting your foot in the door of a creative role can be tough. While there are many exciting creative jobs in Leeds, there’s also fierce competition for these jobs.

    To help you fulfil your creative potential, here are some of our latest tips on how to get into creative roles for both graduates and career changers.

    1. Find your creative niche

    There are many creative roles in Leeds, so before you commit to your new career determine which role is right for you and why. Understanding the why is relevant later on in your application journey, as a clear answer to this question will be needed during interviews.

    Each creative role requires its own application approach, so be sure to do your homework before applying for roles. Our team at Gloss is always happy to help, so if in doubt give us a call on 0113 209 5705.

    coffee mug with word begin Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash
    Fuel for the leap

    Here are some of the most sought after creative roles in Leeds:

    • Graphic designer

    Graphic design jobs – sometimes referred to as artworker roles – are popular in Leeds, as the demand for stunning design is rising in creative agencies. Print marketing and packaging design remain relevant, but digital design skills are a must-have for candidates.

    Find out more about what a modern-day graphic designer does in our handy article here.

    • Digital marketer

    Although the lines between marketing and digital marketing are blurring, a good knowledge of SEO, PPC, social media and how to grow a brand online are essential for anyone looking to step onto the career ladder of digital marketing.

    Learn more about this role in our article what does a digital marketing manager do.

    • Social media marketer

    Social media marketing has become a career in its own right. Some digital marketing roles require social media marketing skills, but in general social media marketing is a career option that is only going from strength to strength. Leeds has seen a rise in social-media-only agencies, as the creativity and communication skills required for this role are highly sought after.

    See what other agency trends are happening in Leeds in our latest salary survey.

    • Web designer

    Although web designer jobs require a strong technical background there is plenty of creativity needed to be successful in this role. Websites must be functional, engaging and offer that aesthetic wow-factor in order to build a strong fan base within the brand’s target audience.

    Discover what this means in context to everyday tasks in our article what does a UX web designer do.

    • PR professional

    Building a brand’s reputation online requires strong digital PR skills. The world of PR is in the midst of a digital switch-up with research skills being just as important as building good relationships with journalists.

    Find out if modern-day PR is the creative role for you in our article what does a modern-day PR professional do.

     2. Acknowledge what YOU bring to the table

    Whether you’re at the beginning of your career or switching from a completely separate career, you have plenty of great skills to bring to the table. You just need to identify which of these skills are most relevant for the creative role you’re applying for.

    Think back on your academic projects and work projects to identify which core skills are transferable for creative roles.

    two men in a meeting Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
    Remember you’re awesome

    Here are some of the core skills that are relevant to emphasise when applying for creative jobs in Leeds:

    • Project management skills

    Time management is highly important for creative jobs and if you’ve got experience in not only successfully managing your own time but managing projects with several people, then all the better. Meeting deadlines on time, every time and keeping relevant team members up to date with project progress isn’t as widespread of a skill as many may think. It is an incredibly important skill though that should never be underestimated.

    • Communication skills

    Similar to project management skills, communication skills are very important for the various creative roles in Leeds. However these skills can be underestimated. If you can highlight your strong communication skills with key examples, you’re more likely to impress in an interview.

    For roles like PR professionals, social media marketer and digital marketer, communication is even more relevant and needs to be connected to how to develop messages for a brand’s audience. Never underestimate the value of communication.

    • Technical know-how

    Many people new to the creative industry forget the power of the technical skills behind the fully polished campaigns. Adobe Photoshop offers obvious benefits, but any video, audio, light and even sound know-how can help you to stand out from the candidate crowd.

    When discussing your transferable skills, be sure to have a relevant example or an easily adaptable example on hand. This allows you to highlight why your skills are the ones that will take the role you’ve applied for to the next level.

    3. Build your brand as a creative guru

    Portfolios remain a key application format for artworkers, digital design and graphic design jobs. For a graduate or career changer this can be a daunting prospect, as you may not have landed your first creative gig yet.

    However, you can still build your brand as a creative guru. In points three and four, we explore how you can effectively develop a top-notch creative brand for yourself.

    Instagram pic of street art Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash
    Show your style

    Your social media brand

    A portfolio is a way to show your experience, but more importantly it shows employers your overall design style. As a graduate or career changer, you can still show your design skills and overall creativity by using social media. Building a creative background via social media isn’t just important for graphic designers, but for social media marketers and digital marketers too.

    Depending on the creative role you’ve selected, you can streamline your efforts to a single channel. PR professionals for example need to be well versed with Twitter, while Instagram offers graphic designers a visual playground to optimise their skills in.

    Remember that you can always keep your personal social media separate from your professional one too. It’s often a good idea not to mix business with personal messages. However, do be aware that your personal accounts are still visible to potential employers even if you’ve only provided your business handles for review.

    Meet the online challenges

    To help you build your creative brand, make the most out of the creative challenges that are open to everyone.

    One Minute Briefs, for example, is a regular online design challenge that’s open to freelancers and agency designers alike. Entrants test their design skills against the one minute brief and it’s also helpful to see what styles are currently already out there. It’s a very supportive design challenge, and it helps you to build your creative confidence.

    You can also challenge yourself on creative platforms like Bored Panda, where fellow design enthusiasts can upvote your projects. You can set your own projects here, but it’s good to think about what’s trending and what will help you show your overall creativity in the best possible light.

    Ready to take on a professional brief? The D&AD Young Blood Award sets you up against a professional design brief. It’s a great chance to test your skills against others who are equally at the start of their creative careers.

    4. Don’t underestimate volunteering

    When building your own creative brand, never underestimate the opportunity you have in the volunteering sector. More and more local charities are looking for some support with their localised social media branding or with designs for specific events, especially during the festive period.

    Talk to your local charities and find out what design support you could offer them.

    Man with baseball cap Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash
    Volunteering helps you and others

    As previously mentioned, the city of Leeds has a soft spot for design, which means there is a big art sector too. Spend some time looking for art-sector-specific volunteer opportunities to use for your portfolio.

    For example, there’s Ink Well Arts, which is a mental health charity that champions teaching creative skills to help nurture good mental health in the community; and there’s Arts and Minds Network, which has the annual Love Arts Festival where every design medium is welcome – so long as the creativity helps to raise awareness of the importance of mental well-being.

    Also, never underestimate the opportunity in gaining some work experience within one of the many creative agencies across Leeds. You can often get your foot in the door of an agency through work placements or volunteering. It alternatively gives you key insight into what working in a creative agency is going to be like. We highly recommend this for graduates, as it provides important insight into the creative industry.

    View our video that discusses showing creativity as a graduate or career changer here to gain more information on how to best showcase your creativity.

    5. Find your groove in Leeds

    Leeds is a strong marketing agency hub of the North. While there are many creative roles in-house, the majority of creative roles lie agency-side.

    Aerial view of Leeds Photo by Benjamin Elliott on Unsplash
    Creative Leeds

    For our agency clients a positive fit between candidate and agency is vital, which is also what candidates are after.

    (Win-win really.)

    At Gloss we pay particular attention to which candidates have the best potential to match the skills needed in a role and to culturally fit within an agency.

    There’s a lot of creative change happening in Leeds at the moment.

    Channel 4’s arrival is predicted to bring more creative projects to the region, and the creative agencies of Leeds will be eager to meet the challenge set by Channel 4.

    In the meantime, many agencies are either expanding from being a specialist agency like a digital-marketing-only one to now include full marketing services, or to becoming a single-area specialist. Our latest salary survey identified a growing trend in social-media-marketing-only agencies in Leeds.

    Leeds also has several specialist recruiters. Gloss is a creative recruitment agency in the heart of Leeds, and as such our team fully understands the career interests of our candidates and the role requirements of our clients. With our finger on the creative pulse, we’re here to help you and our recruitment clients find the perfect match.

    If you want to get into creative roles, we have several useful articles to help you get all set for the interview and beyond. Have a look at our article on how to create a top-notch creative portfolio and our article on interview tips for graphic design jobs.

    We also offer advice on finding digital marketing jobs in Leeds, and we have a selection of handy Linkedin groups for creative professionals to join. These groups are especially useful for people looking to get into creative roles.

    If you’re ready to start applying for creative roles in Leeds, browse our latest jobs here or send us your CV to kick-start your creative career.

    And if you’re an agency or a brand looking for creative recruitment in Leeds, call our team on 0113 209 5705 today.