Friday 13 September 2013

Student of the week - Lucy Dillamore, Illustration Student

In the creative industry it is well known it can be difficult to get your foot in the door. The fact much of the work you do will be freelance shows an importance regarding networking that is not always present in other job markets. Here one student explains how she is gaining a vast wealth of experience before she graduates to help her once that time comes, and with illustrating books and websites alike, she is gaining some great links along the way... 

‘My name is Lucy Dillamore and I’m a Ba(Hons) Illustration student about to start my third year at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA). Ultimately I’d love to graduate and go into freelance illustration and further education, ideally taking an MA in Illustration.
Realistically, this is hard to achieve. Over the summer I’ve been taking on as many extra projects outside of uni as possible in order to build up my portfolio and develop my practice in preparation for final year.
I’ve been working on a number of small commissions with the aim to push myself out of my comfort zones and trying working methods that I’m not used to. For example, something that I really needed to work on was digital illustration. Through getting in touch with an old friend and small business owner I created some imagery for a local pet shop’s website. This allowed me to get comfortable with computer software that I wouldn’t usually use and even learn the basics of html which I’m sure will be useful in the future, as well as adding this to my portfolio.
With all of the commissions I’ve done I’ve developed a working practice for myself and learnt more about pricing work, time scales and gained confidence in myself as an illustrator. When graduating next year I won’t be completely new to the whole process of self promotion and free lancing and will have a variety of examples in my portfolio to show future clients.
Through constant internet searching and many emails being sent out to various people and companies over the summer, I’ve sought out commissions, contributed to projects raising money for charity and gained a small internship with a collective in London which I discovered through twitter.
I would say the internship was the most useful experience for me, not just because I saw first-hand what life as part of an illustration collective was like, or that I’ll have a ‘purely Illustration – based’ internship to talk about in my cv, but mainly for the people I met, contacts I made and the advice I gained from it.
I met fellow student interns all in various years of study and from across the country as well as members of the collective who had had a variety of experiences in the past to share. With the interns we discussed problems we’ve all faced in our degrees, how we found out about the work experience and how we go across finding out about internships and gaining commissions which, as many agreed was as simple as searching through sites such as twitter and Instagram and following as many design orientated as possible to spot opportunities! The main advice and something else we agreed on was simply persistence in seeking work experience and opportunities: I had been searching for internships since October and was successful at last in July!
The contacts I’ve made from this, interns and members of the collective included will be a reliable source of advice for me and will provide news of other internships in the future.’

Here we can see the importance of getting yourself out there, sending speculative emails is good, but the more you send showing a genuine interest, the more connections you make and the less speculative those later emails become. Although you might not feel this post applies to you this idea really is applicable in any field. Do try and contact people and you will be surprised how far you get. Also do not fall at the first hurdle thinking 'oh they didn't reply so I'm giving up'.. Someone will reply so persevere and you will get there. 

if you would like to look at some more of Lucy's work please see the following links: 

Monday 9 September 2013

"When I interview you I want it to be like Blind Date"

In my time I have had many CVs sent to me, but it was not until I started receiving applications for a student-led consultancy scheme that I started to see something completely new to me.. Photos.

So, why would you put your photo on a CV?

In many countries a photograph attached to or built in to your CV is a customary feature.

For some jobs your employer may need to know what you look like, i.e. model, sales person, working at Hollister, and this practice may again be the custom, (though this isn't something I have come across before), but should you be putting a photo on your CV or not?

Unless you know you are going into an industry where looks are the be all and end all, I would recommend strongly avoiding this. Employers should not be looking to employ you based on your looks but your ability, and even at a basic level this is just a waste of perfectly good paper you could be writing more info about how great you are on.

I asked some employers what they thought and this is what they had to say:

"When I interview you I want it to be like Blind Date. You should get invited to interview because I like what I've read about you, and it isn't a thing we see a lot on CVs and so I would question why that person has included a photo. Really I just want to ask you questions and I will pick you based on a scoring system based on those responses". - Public Sector employer


"I would take that photo off and throw it in the bin. That just has employment tribunal written all over it. Imagine if I employed a really good looking person, that's not a reason for someone to get a job and if anyone found out that was the reason why I could be in serious trouble. For employers it opens up all kinds of doors into discrimination. AVOID" - Private Sector employer

This may be something you've never even thought about, I know I certainly never had. But it raises an important point, you need to research firstly and most importantly, the country your CV is going to. Present to an employer what they expect and avoid having your hard efforts overlooked or thrown in the bin. Secondly, research
your sector, it may be normal for you to attach a photo, or it may be normal for you to attach an example of your work. Speak to people and seek advice, remember every CV you send out should be different, tailored to that employer, that extra five minutes could really get you places.