How to Launch A Creative Career

Published on Nov 04, 2013
Photo by Kat SilversteinPhoto by Kat Silverstein

Marketing communications professor, Laurence Minsky, is an expert on the subject of marketing yourself as a creative professional, something every Columbia student should learn how to do. He offers solid advice based on his lengthy experience in the advertising field that is focused on how to start a career, build a portfolio and create a network of likeminded people to help propel you to the top of the competitive job heap. Minsky talks to us about his latest book, The Get a Job Workshop, which offers career tips to emerging creatives.

Your Portfolio is Your Career

“A quality portfolio will secure you an interview, keep you employed, get you promoted and be an overall helpful tool in your career,” Minsky advises. Conversely, if your portfolio is out of date or sub par, you probably won’t be going that far. So, how does one attain this great portfolio and how do you know if yours stacks up? The first step is talking to the pros at the Career Center to assess where you are and where you need to go. You should also talk with your teachers and faculty advisors to help you create a portfolio that will stand out. 

Get a Tough Skin

“Even the most successful people will experience rejection,” Minsky says. Plus, “Standards keep getting tougher.”  Live what you love and be prepared to work for it. Minsky himself has experienced a few rejections and countless revisions to his portfolio, but has kept trying harder and managed to do work for some major Fortune 500 companies including Coke, Frito-Lay, Sears, Tropicana, and many more. If you don’t want it badly enough, someone else who does will take your place. This means each rejection should make you want to try harder, so you beat out the competition.

Build a Network

“My best advice for students is to partner to create a portfolio.” This doesn’t mean your portfolio isn’t your work, but that you include collaborative work and creative pieces that vibes on the talent of others. He firmly agrees with the idea of forming a creative posse, or team. “Once you form it; expand on it,” Minsky says. Each individual alone should “think creatively, critically, innovate, research, inform, execute and be confident in their skills.” However, your career will hit a standstill if you don’t network. Finding those people who challenge you, support you and can help you find work will push you along smoothly in your career trajectory.

The Get a Job Workshop. Creative Careers; How to Find your Way to a Creative Career in Advertising, Branding, Collateral, Digital, Experimental and More

Minsky’s newest book is jam-packed full of insights, information and practical advice for creatives looking to start their career. If you want to go more in depth into what you need to jumpstart your job hunt, this guide will help you get in gear. It includes practical advice on internships, networking and examples of career do’s and don’ts. It’s never to late—or too early—to get started.